Brenda Cooper

New Research Series: Backing into Eden

waterfallThe childhood mythos that I grew up describes a humanity driven from a great garden by the weight of our sins.  As an adult, I have come to believe the opposite:  our sins are driving us to become gardeners.  While I far prefer to imagine a world where humans are simply a harmonious part of a beautiful and mysterious ecosystem, we have left that future far behind.  The pressures of population, energy, politics, and progress have pushed us to a point in history where we must take responsibility and become active guardians of the place we call home.  Whether we were born in a garden or not, we must now learn how to manage the critical resources of our world, or perish.

There is no acceptable path to the future that includes going backwards.  Humanity as a whole is not going to stop innovating, growing, interacting, and consuming.  Any successful path forward must allow human prosperity to increase.

In this series of writings, I intend to explore what this means.  Not all of it will sound, seem, or even be pleasant.  Nor will every step be painful.

We are going to have to make some hard choices about species, about geo-engineering, about food and water and other fundamentals.  We must make these choices with an eye on a future most of us will not live in, but which we can design to be rich, productive, and perhaps more important, possible.

This journey is sparked by the need to prepare for a talk I’ll be giving at the World Futurist Society meeting in Chicago in July of 2013, but it is work I started years ago, and work I expect to continue for years.  I am a futurist and a writer and a technology professional.  I work for the government, and believe there is a vital role the role for the government in this journey.  There are also critical roles for individuals, corporations, NGO’s, foundations, and other organizations.  We’re all in this together.

Comments, discussion, and dissent are all welcome.  Purely political rhetoric is not.  It’s important to reach beyond the simplistic slogans of the green or liberal parties and of the conservative and libertarian wings of the world.  We do need to forge a future that includes the fondest dreams of all of these groups – clean air and skies, growing economies, hope, entrepreneurship, and public discourse.

I often hear from people who seem to have lost all hope, and perhaps all faith in humanity.  I have not.  Join me on this journey…

I intend to post at least once every two weeks.  I’ll share my reading and draft essays.  By mid-spring, I’ll have all of this happening on a separate website (backingintoeden.com).  In the meantime, it will be here.  I think this will be an interesting bit of work, so if anyone wants to see this mirrored elsewhere, send me an email and we can talk about it.

In  the meantime, let me know what you think of the idea!