Our older daughter gave me this book a couple years ago for Christmas and I finally read it now. It seemed appropriate given how much is happening to suggest lately that the world is headed to a bad place. This book is a definite antidote to the ongoing barrage of negative news we have been getting, and I really appreciated it right now.
I learned a lot in this book and found it fascinating. I am giving it five stars, even though I was not pleased at all with the two sections in this book that I know most about: GMO’s and education. Maybe the fact of their glib, insufficient answers on those two issues should have put me off the rest of it, but I learned so much in other areas, where they knew more than I did. Also it is possible that I am judging a 2011 discussion from the frame of 2016 information. So on balance I forgave them for glossing over too much in trying to paint a picture across many issues and disciplines.
The part I enjoyed most was the discussion on energy. I learned about making fuel from synthetic algae, which if current technology was implemented, we would only need 17% of barren land in Nevada to grow enough power to run all the cars in America (250 million automobiles). I learned of the readiness for solar to scale exponentially. “There is more energy in sunlight that strikes the Earth’s surface in an hour than all the fossil energy consumed in one year.” I learned about 4th generation nuclear power, which is so far beyond the nuclear plants of Three Mile Island that serious environmentalists like Bill McKibben back it; we may be seeing one as soon as 2020. But I was also heartened to hear about progress toward safe, accessible, affordable drinking water for everyone.
Whether it is a revolutionary new toilet design, or an analysis of the dematerialization of wealth, the trend toward the techno-philanthropist, the DIY movement, or the vast potential of the “bottom billion,” this book is encouraging and eye-opening. Such an immense range of possibilities are quietly happening, but not much discussed. Published in 2012, the book isn’t even currently cutting edge, although they update the material on their website. However, it is still relevant, and still sounded like the future to me. I also like that they quote the Christian Science Monitor quite a lot!
“Abundance is both a plan and a perspective. This second bit is key. One of the most important points made throughout this book is that our perspective shapes our reality. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
Here is a vision of the future where everyone can win. You might be as glad as I was to read about that right now. Let’s actively be part of the solution, instead of descanting about our possible demise.