Brenda Cooper

An ordinary futurist reads her Seattle Times

I often get asked what makes me a futurist.  Fair question, since I don’t have the formal training many futurists have.  Mostly I read, and then I think.  I talk to other people.  I am not an expert in any one field (except maybe writing science fiction) but being a generalist has it’s uses.  Anyway, today’s paper had some great futurist fodder.  Here goes:

The best – the must read – is a transcript of Paul Hawken’s commencement address from May of last year to the University of Portland.  It’s moving, brilliant, and meaningful.  I think I will cut it out so I can read it again in the future.  Yes, I read a physical paper.   A small quote, just to get you hungry to go read the whole thing:  “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future my answer is always the same:  If you look at the science of what is happening with the earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data.  But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”

Yesterday I talked about what we could be doing.  One was work on education, where I cited the abysmal literacy statistics for women in Afghanistan, and talked about water.  In the times today, two articles address these same issues.  On the front page there is “Building a Future for Girls Amid War,” by Hal Bernton.  A small quote from that article is “‘If we send our children to these schools, then the Taliban, they will come to our homes at night and kill us,’  said a Pashtun elder in an Arghandab village, where a large modern school built with Japanese aid now stands empty.” In the NW Arts & Life section, there is a review of the book “Water:  The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, by Steven Soloman and reviewed by Alan Moores. Notable short quote?  “One in five people worldwide lack access to at least one gallon of safe water to drink per day.”

And then there is the pleasure of the Sunday funnies.  Here is  a great futurist strip from Sally Forth.  Note it’s the January 3rd entry if you go look for this at a later date.