Can We Be Happy in a Post-Apocalyptic World?

earth-lightning-1215844-m Scientists predict that in the years to come both temperatures and sea levels could rise, diminishing valuable resources and leaving civilization in a place of discomfort, both physically and economically. But, despite these distresses, could we actually be happy? Authors Gioietta Kuo and Lane Jennings think so and discuss this possibility in their article, “Achieving Happiness in a Sustainable World” from World Future Review.

The abstract:

Modern science offers grounds for optimism concerning human comfort and well-being in the decades ahead. Yet, forces in nature and society still threaten to create conditions of worldwide physical and economic hardshipwfr unparalleled in recorded history. If, without despairing, we accept as a working hypothesis the likelihood that resource depletion and climate change will make deep and lasting changes in Earth’s geography and traditional social order, we can still find ways to keep alive the never-fully-realized aspirations that make life worth living. Drawing examples from human history and proposing novel attitudes and values, the authors argue that human beings can indeed survive and even manage to achieve lasting happiness in a future world of greatly diminished prospects and far fewer material comforts.
Read “Achieving Happiness in a Sustainable World” from World Future Review for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest from World Future Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Why We Should Be Optimistic About the Future

It’s true that our natural environment is in peril and our planet is running out of resources. But however bleak things may seem, an article by Gioietta Kuo of the American Center for International Policy Studies and Lane Jennings of the World Future Society asserts that we all have reason to be positive about the future. The authors wrote in their article, “Achieving Happiness in a Sustainable World,” in the World Future Review June 2013 issue:

WFR_72ppiRGB_150pixWModern science offers grounds for optimism concerning human comfort and well-being in the decades ahead. Yet, forces in nature and society still threaten to create conditions of worldwide physical and economic hardship unparalleled in recorded history. If, without despairing, we accept as a working hypothesis the likelihood that resource depletion and climate change will make deep and lasting changes in Earth’s geography and traditional social order, we can still find ways to keep alive the never-fully-realized aspirations that make life worth living. Drawing examples from human history and proposing novel attitudes and values, the authors argue that human beings can indeed survive and even manage to achieve lasting happiness in a future world of greatly diminished prospects and far fewer material comforts.

Continue reading the article online in World Future Review, and see the current issue of WFR here.

Obama Vows to Act on Climate Change

As reported in The New York Times, President Barack Obama devoted special attention to climate-change goals in his second Inaugural Address on Monday. From nytimes.com:

After coming to office four years ago on a pledge to heal the planet and turn back the rise of the seas, he is proceeding cautiously this time, Democrats said, intent on making sure his approach is vetted politically, economically and technologically so as not to risk missing what many environmental advocates say could be the last best chance for years to address the problem.

The centerpiece will be action by the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down further on emissions from coal-burning power plants under regulations still being drafted — and likely to draw legal challenges.

pullquoteToday, we examine relevant research in “The Messy Politics of ‘Clean Coal’: The Shaping of a Contested Term in Appalachia’s Energy Debate,” published by Jenrose Fitzgerald of the University of Kentucky in the Organization & Environment December 2012 issue:

home_coverClean coal is a widely used and highly contested term in debates over energy policy and climate change in the United States. While the discourse of “clean coal” originated in industry and government circles, it has been debated, shaped, and contested by a wide range of players, including environmental and social justice groups. In this article, I examine how different local, regional, and national environmental and social justice groups participate in debating and defining these technologies and their implications for the energy future of the region.

Read more at oae.sagepub.com, and click here to sign up for e-alerts from the journal.

Also, don’t miss our guest contribution from expert Andrew Hoffman on the ‘how’ in the climate-change debate.