As the Covid apocalypse continues apocalypting, and global recessions begin to recess, our attention turns to how the world will rebuild itself. Huffpost be huffing about how there’s no going back to the way we were, while sell-out politicians and massive corporations will ensure that’s exactly what happens thank you very much. Greenpeace has been busy asking people what kind of a future they want, keen on the reboot potential of a #GreenRecovery in our post-pandemic wasteland. They want us to think about what transport could look like, how healthcare and energy and infrastructure could be. And they want us to write about it in foulmouthed blogs and on inappropriate social media accounts that could get us fired if someone blows our poorly-maintained anonymity. Okay then.
Transport is one of the biggies. People seem quite taken with quieter roads and emptier skies, seeing the kind of massive reduction in petrol use and carbon emissions we’ve been banging on about needing for years. And while in The Before Time people claimed they couldn’t possibly give up their cars or use them less often, when they felt a personal threat to themselves they were suddenly able to scuttle away indoors and let buffalo take over the motorways. We need to join the dots for people between climate breakdown, mass extinction and personal inconvenience because it turns out we’re all horribly selfish dicks. When the planet gets hot enough to set the world’s supply of bog roll on fire maybe they’ll start talking this shit seriously.
But I digress. I want a future without petrol and diesel vehicles murdering us. I want sustainably powered, renationalised public transport that goes to more places more frequently and more reliably, and with toilets that don’t smell of ten thousand people’s piss. I want robot taxis taking us from door to door but not overthrowing humanity. I want people knocking about in big massive hamster balls watching tourists get eaten by dinosaurs. And I want something done about planes. I don’t want global travel to stop. I don’t want the world to shrink, and have us go back to thinking courting someone from the next parish is a long-distance relationship. I want electro-planes that can fly me to Tibet. And maybe teleporters. Definitely hoverboards. And while we’re thinking big, at least three new cycle paths. And I want all of this without seeing Elon Musk’s stupid, red-pilled, loud-mouth face, or Richard Branson hoovering up any of our bailout money.
Healthcare’s easier to solve. I want the Tories to continue chronically underfunding the NHS, and America to continue pretending a basic right to life is actually a sinister commie plot, and pharmaceutical companies to continue gouging people for their survival, and all of us to continue watching helplessly as people suffer and die needlessly, while countering all of the above by taking to my doorstep every Thursday night and banging a fucking saucepan.
Energy’s easy too. We already know the problem: fossil fuels are pumping out enough greenhouse gases to kill us all. And we already have the solution: wind, solar and hydro power have already been invented. All we lack is the will: because we’re idiots. The future I want is the only future we have, because exterminating the species doesn’t really count as a future. I want our sustainable powers to combine and power the planet with wind, water and, to a lesser extent, heart.
Housing and infrastructure should big-up one of my big obsessions: biophilic design. Biophilia reckons humans have an in-built need to be around nature and living things, and biophilic design attends to this by slapping grass on the outside of buildings, and trees and plants on the inside. Instead of concrete monoliths and fake plastic trees, we could bring nature indoors and take work outdoors and restore our connection to the natural world we still actually live in. We should rewild and reforest bits of our towns and cities and public spaces. And we should get composting toilets. Or maybe regular flush toilets but with sensors and catapults so when someone flings a cotton bud or tampon applicator down them they get a day-old turd thrown back up in their face.
Finally, the next steps for agriculture are as obvious as they are unpopular: We need to go vegan, or get as close to it as we can manage. All but the most denying of deniers accept the meat and dairy industries are disproportionately polluting and need to be replaced with plant-based mush manufacturers who’ll use less farmland and less water to feed our people. Get that done, we’ll reduce emissions and increase our chances of surviving the post-pandemic climate apocalypse.
And with my vision complete – in both tone and wording that will delight the folks at Greenpeace HQ – I’m off to Twitter to spam the tits off minor celebrities with #GreenRecovery and #WhatNext tweets because I don’t have any friends to tag. My actual future: Dying alone!
Photo credit: The Zero