Insights from Imaginable by Jane McGonigal
I recently read a book which made me start seeing things a little differently (Imaginable by Jane McGonigal).
The author is the Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research group in Palo Alto, California. The book is mind-blowing, albeit a difficult read it will open your mind to unimaginable futures. There is a lot I want to talk about this book, but let me stick to the topic at hand.
One of the key focus areas in the book is the author providing a few scenarios simulating our probable future 10 years from now. And these are backed by ongoing research in the relevant fields. The author asks us to immerse ourselves and imagine living in this future for 10 days.
Future Simulation – The Ten Year Winter
In this simulation, the situation is that with breakthroughs in geoengineering technology, scientists have suggested blocking the sun’s rays and cooling the planet. A proposed 10 year timeline with no sun rays reaching the planet. This would give enough time to prevent the global warming catastrophe by creating a global wintering effect instead.
This 10 year period could then give the world enough time to go completely renewable and stop its dependence on fossil fuels and also reduce other major sources of greenhouse gases. By the time the sun is restored, the earth will be in a better position to handle the situation.
This is a possible future scenario suggested by the author. It’s not some fanciful made-up story. Geoengineering is fast becoming a serious scientific discipline. There is research going on about solar radiation management (SRM), in which sulphate particles are injected into the atmosphere to cause a kind of “sun dimming.” Since 2018, half a million dollars’ worth of SRM research has been happening across many countries.
Can you imagine such a future with little to no sun? Imagine the constant rain, the flooding, the crop failures. Imagine the depressed atmosphere with no cheery sunshine.. an entire generation of kids robbed of the joy of seeing different seasons come about.. Unimaginable, right? Or is it?
10 years ago, The COVID-19 pandemic was unimaginable to us. And yet the same author had set up a future simulation of a respiratory virus-related pandemic back in 2008. It was unimaginable then, but we are living through it now.
How far-fetched is a situation like the “Ten Year Winter”? It is high time we started looking at how to circumvent global warming and take actionable measures to reduce carbon emissions. It’s not just the government’s or the industry’s responsibility. It is also a responsibility each of us as individuals should shoulder.
We are fast moving towards an unimaginable world that is slowly becoming imaginable and soon may become realistic too.
(This was a post I had made on LinkedIn last year… I thought to add it here as well… so in essence it is kind of copy paste of my old work. But what is old anyway 😉 )