The Future We Choose | Christiana Figueres

Summary of: The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis
By: Christiana Figueres


In ‘The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis,’ authors Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac invite readers to envision two contrasting scenarios for the year 2050. The first, an unlivable and bleak world due to an ongoing climate crisis, is counterbalanced by a vision of a sustainable, thriving future in harmony with nature. This summary explores the consequences of inaction and identifies the transformative steps that can lead to a more positive outcome. Delving into topics like stubborn optimism, regenerative lifestyles, sensible use of technology, and non-violent political protest, the summary provides a roadmap to embracing a sustainable future.

Our Grim Future

Imagine a future where checking the air quality report and wearing a face mask every day is normal. That future is 2050, and if we don’t act now, it will be our reality. The melting of Arctic ice and rising sea levels will devastate coastal cities, and heatwaves will turn lush areas into deserts. Millions will die or be displaced due to extreme weather events, and surviving cities will be unbearably hot. We must act now to avoid a future too grim to imagine.

Creating a Sustainable Future

In the year 2050, people wake up to a world that has undergone major changes, resulting in a healthier and sustainable environment. Forest covers are at 50 percent while electric railways have replaced airplanes, and neighborhoods now focus on local communities. To achieve this, carbon emissions have been cut by half every decade, leading to net-zero emissions by 2050. Driving high-polluting internal combustion engines and using fossil fuels have become obsolete. Furthermore, renewable energy has taken over, and new technologies have become vital to the development of developing countries. As a result, people now live healthier lifestyles, with heart attacks and strokes on the decline. However, creating this sustainable future requires significant changes in mindset and approach towards sustainability.

Embracing Optimism for a Sustainable Future

In the face of the climate crisis, it’s crucial to believe that we can make a difference. We can train ourselves to adopt an optimistic outlook and build better thought patterns. Looking at successful green initiatives can help us stay motivated. Despite the small impact of individual actions, each reduction counts toward the larger goal. Even if we’ve fallen into pessimistic thinking, we can consciously choose to approach challenges with hope and determination. This attitude of “stubborn optimism” can create a path toward a better future, as we can see from the example of Christiana Figueres, who spearheaded the Paris Agreement after choosing to embrace positivity.

The Power of an Abundance Mindset

Embracing the idea of abundance and collaboration is key to solving the scarcity mindset society has been conditioned to adopt. Instead of perceiving everything as a zero-sum game, we must focus on the potential for win-win situations. The authors highlight the example of Tucson and how overreacting to perceived scarcity can make a situation worse. While some parts of the world face real scarcity, adopting an abundance mindset and collaborating will lead to better outcomes for everyone.

Embracing a Regenerative Mindset

Humans have always had an instinct to constantly take from the environment, but we’re at a point where this is no longer sustainable. We need to embrace a regenerative way of life to replenish what we use. This starts with focusing on replenishing and nourishing ourselves, possibly through meditation, and then turning our attention towards nature. Regenerative policies, such as rewilding forests and oceans, can make a big difference to our environment. Earth’s survival is directly tied to our lives, and we need to stop taking it for granted.

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