Over the holidays, I read Worldchanging, a book about the “big picture” technological, environmental, social, economic, and political trends of the next 20 years.
Much of it is not pretty. Diminishing resources. Climate change. Endemic diseases. Lack of basic infrastructure such as water and housing. (Apparently 3 billion people will be living in slums/shantytowns/favelas — talk about a housing crisis!)
Yet the book left me surprisingly more optimistic. Beneath the headlines, many people are making positive changes. A Kenyan engineer invented a refrigerator using only clay pots. An Indian entrepreneur is teaching illiterate rural women how to farm sustainably and install solar panels. Rural women are renting cellphones to farmers so they can get better prices for their prices.
Isn’t it amazing? Just a little nudge here and there, and enterprising people with the right economic incentives are making the world better.
Now, what can we do?