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AIBU - to be worried about the future for my grand children

(119 Posts)
WishIwasyounger Sat 15-Feb-20 20:10:48

I seem to very wobbly these days about the future, what with the climate change emergency threatening our very existence, the growth of populist right wing governments, the increasing poverty gap, and the spreading of international killer dieseases such as the Coronavirus (why isn't it spelt as two words Corona Virus).
My grand children are growing up in a much worse gobal environment than I did. Please re-assure me that they'll be ok.

NotSpaghetti Mon 17-Feb-20 11:17:17

M0nica, I usually find myself agreeing with you on most subjects, at least broadly, if not in the details but I've read the responses on this thread very differently.
I don't read the responses quite as split in two camps as you have done. I do, however, feel that many on here are portraying those of us who are impatient with governments and "want something major done" as luddites (in the ordinary meaning of the word).

I want solutions. I want more properly funded research which is then translated into action. I am not a scientist or engineer but like you have family members involved in research who are. We need to make companies build the "best for the future" products, buildings, transportation systems and so on that we can. They will (on the whole) not do it without compulsion. I don't think we should be dragging out feet on this. Yes, I am yes, very impatient. But lots of technology which is useful already exists - only last week I was reading about storing energy by a crane/block gravity system (similar to the Victorian/Babylonian pumping ideas) which is easy to implement for example.
So I would ask, why are we not putting solar panels on every new building? Because there is no legislation for it. We should just get on and legislate because it can't be done through individual choice.

I think it is our frustration that you are really seeing, not our belief in inevitable Armageddon.

WishIwasyounger Mon 17-Feb-20 11:51:19

What a lovely group of people you all are. Thanks so much for all your encouraging words. I'll try to remember that there is room for optimism, but its sometimes difficult to believe that governments around the world will take the various threats seriously enough to agree joint action.
Action is needed, not praying. Sorry to all you faith people, but as an atheist I think praying wont get us anywhere.

Tillybelle - I would like to comfort you in that I believe our GC will find ways to cope. I have a lot of faith in them. Try not to become distressed. Lots of love, Elle ?
Thank you so much Tilly for these lovely words. I'll try and hold on to them.xx

M0nica Mon 17-Feb-20 12:03:14

I do not know anyone who doesn't want that. The groups divide between the positive thinkers who think this is happening and join in and those who seem convinced that nobody is doing anything and we are all going to hell in a hand basket.

But we do also need not to be overconfident. Journalists are always keen to report experiements and schemes that look good as the answer to our problems and one of the things you soon learn with scientists and engineers in the family that thinks are not all they seem to be. Many schemes that work small scale do not scale up.

We often get reports and demands for tidal power, as distinct from tidal barrages and very effective ones have been developed, but they all fail, not because the systems do not work but because sea water is highly corrosive and nobody has found away of dealing with the speed metals and other materials corrode and stop working and need to be replaced.

It is the same with electric cars. DD recently discovered that the emissions that arise from manufacturing an electric car battery are equivalent to driving a petrol fuelled car 100,000 miles. They do not last as long as manufacturers say (does anything?). Their manfacture requires the use of rare and poisonous metals and recycling them at the end of their life is problematic.

It is the same with solar energy. Not every new building is orientated in the right direction for solar panels to be effective. Unless every building and every new property was made to run roughly E/W and think what that would do to urban planning. There are things that could be done with immediate effect.

Every house put up for sale should include a survey, not just of energy efficiency but a recommended plan of works to maximise the energy efficiency of the property that the next owner would have to implement within 5 years. Since this would happen on every sale, these systems could be updated in new and better insulation methods became available.

I think these will happen but it needs positive informed pressure, not prophets of doom making unrealistic demands and incapable of putting forward any realistic plans for how those demands can be met.

soldiersailor Mon 17-Feb-20 12:27:52

I have no worries about climate change and my grandsons' future. Some years ago I discovered 'Not A Lot Of People Know That', a site which deals in rational argument reinforced by facts. More recently I found Tony Heller on Youtube. Both make strong cases to counter the doom-like views of the media and organisations that have a vested interest in keeping people very frightened. Bad news sells, after all.

I particularly liked the open letter to Greta Thunberg in the 11th Feb issue of NALOPKT, from a Chicago University professor of philosophy, which I strongly recommend.

Two other items to reassure you, at least about sea levels:
1. That nice Mr Obama has very recently bought a mansion on the coast. It's only three feet above sea level.
2. The Maldives have only 40 years left before they disappear beneath the waves (announced in 1988).

I just wish I had 40 years left to say 'I told you!' as I raise my G&T on a Maldives beach. I don't doubt that others will be able in my place.

dotters Mon 17-Feb-20 12:38:32

Please can anyone advise me on how I change my user name as this one lets people know who I am.

SueDonim Mon 17-Feb-20 12:45:55

I agree that governments should be doing more and it is up to the populations of each country to put pressure onto their govts to make those changes. Britain is doing more than other countries - America is just appalling in its environmental standards, for instance. More can always be done, though eg I’m currently in need of a new boiler. I’m certainly looking at what replacements are available now in terms of the environment.

When you read things like this, though, you do wonder why you bother.

NotSpaghetti Mon 17-Feb-20 13:55:10

You are certainly right about the house survey M0nica for improvement works. I know it's been suggested before but no-one has taken it up as far as I can see.

Nottingham is at least working it's way through existing stocks of council/housing association properties, retrofitting eco-measures. It seems to be quite forward thinking as a council and has implemented lots of initiatives that started out as unpopular but that have proved their worth. The last time I looked at the data (maybe 6 months ago) it was the only UK city without air that is dangerously polluted. This was because of its introduction of a parking levy on business and simultaneous introduction of trams.

I take your point about solar panels M0nica but I was talking about new-build where there should really be so many more choices as to how to plan the work. Until there is legislation I do not envisage the environment to be high on the list of priorities.

My local council has even been allowing thousands of new homes on what was a massive watermeadow! I caught up with their head of planning department at a meeting elsewhere and it's basically because they are over a barrel with the local plan - needing to build 3000+ more homes, builders not prepared to put in the money to make good the brownfield sites and the council not having the money to invest in this cleanup themselves.

Still. It was lovely to see a positive development in Norwich where their new council development won the Stirling prize!

Not all bad news. Small victories!

Yehbutnobut Mon 17-Feb-20 16:30:57

The Future We Choose

The worst case scenario

Hawera1 Tue 18-Feb-20 08:50:42

We all worry about the future. I often say that my grandparents would hate the way society is now. I'm sure they.all worried too. At the end of the day we must just live everyday like its our last. If it's affecting your life you.need to get some counselling or are you depressed. Don't be afraid to look for some help. If you think.about it we have threats to.our lives from viruses, threat of nuclear weapons and now global warming. I'm sure our parents had similar worries but they may.not have voiced them.

Hawera1 Tue 18-Feb-20 08:53:32

One positive thought is the younger population are right into.protecting.the planet.and politicians are beginning to take it seriously. They will still.have a life but it will.Be different to.ours

M0nica Tue 18-Feb-20 16:59:26

The results of a survey reported in the i today say that it is people over 50 who doing the most to protect the world from pollution and climate change.

Younger people may talk the talk, but we are the ones walking the walk. We are more likely to recycle, avoid single use plastics, donate unwanted good to charity shops and generally consciously lead more energy conscious lives than younger people.

HettyMaud Sun 23-Feb-20 16:14:41

Hetty58 -spot on again.

starbird Mon 24-Feb-20 13:47:27

We had the mini ice age and a lot of people died. It changed society in so far as there were fewer people left to act as serfs. Now it is going the other way. There may be suffering and deaths on a massive scale, but there already is (eg if you live in Syria) and always has been. The difference is that it won’t just be the poor in distant lands that suffer, it will us and our families and friends. It will eventually change society for the better. A pity that this is what it takes.

M0nica Mon 24-Feb-20 16:52:23

Sorry Starbird I am confused. The mini-Ice Age ran from approximately 1300 - 1850. The main event that reduced the population was the Black Death (1347-51), right at the start of the mini-ice age. On the cusp of the Medieval Warm period and the start of the Ice Age when temperatures were not that low. The Bl;ack Death was universal in its effects and killed both rich and poor.

While it certainly increased the price and demand for labour in the short term. In the long term, land owners, adapting to economic conditions and began to clear thir lands of villages and inhabitants and move over to sheep farming. There was a high demand on the continent for British wool because of its quality.

I really do not understand the point you are making. If the Corona virus sweeps through as a pandemic, it will not ask to see our tax forms before striking a cross section of society. But I am not aware that any pandemic does that, whether the Black Death, Spanish flu or Asian flu and as for your statement that ^ It will eventually change society for the better.^ I can see no justification for that statement whatsoever.

starbird Mon 24-Feb-20 22:15:57

Monica I get upset about populations like the Rohinga, the Syrians, the Palestinians, the non Hindus in India and others. Governments look on and either don’t want to or are impotent to do anything. Even if the UN calls for action, it is vetoed.
If it is going to take a major, or several catastrophes affecting people who have so far escaped hardship, to care about the plight of others, and do something about it, and realise that this is one planet that belongs to all of us, and what happens in one place affects all of us whichever little piece of land we are born on, so that we cannot be truly happy and prosperous if it hurts others, then so be it.

I worry about the future of my children and grandchildren, I hope they never wish that they had not been born at this time in history and be left with so many wrongs to put right, on top of the usual threats of pandemics and natural disasters - but that is the story of this planet. It does not always move forward smoothly but sometimes passes through disasters, either natural or man made - some species die out and others survive, lear and adapt. The survival of the fittest. The best I can hope for future generations is that they will be decent human beings who will try to live in harmony with nature and with others and leave this world a little better than they found it. Then, however short or long their life, it will have been worthwhile.
For those who believe in a God, then of course in comparison with eternity, what happens on earth doesn't really matter - it is how you react to it that counts.

M0nica Tue 25-Feb-20 15:44:22

I think human kind is as it is, but gradually getting better. I spent Saturday at the National Mining Museum at Wakefield. When it opened, parents took their child down the pit when they were 5, tied them to a bench and left them there. Their job was to sit in darkness 14 hours a day opening a small door when their mother crawled out pulling a huge wooden box of coal weighing nearly half a ton, not on rails, not even on skids, just a huge wooden box which she was hitched to, like a horse. Beyond the door was their father lying flat hewing the coal. He dug 2 tons a day, which filled 6-8 boxes.Life expectancy was about 40 yearsand 40% of the children died before they were 15

Things have steadily improved since then and will continue to do so. On average life now is a lot better for most people in the world than it was when we were born.

But I doubt any catastrophe is going to change things. It didn't in the past, why should it now?

There is something very religious in the way you see this heaven ahead for humankind.

starbird Wed 26-Feb-20 22:13:34

I don’t see a heaven ahead for humankind, only an improvement in some areas forced on us by our interdependence. Several hundred years ago we could have lived happily without relying on what other countries produce and send us and vice versa, but now we are all tied in with each other - just take economics, how the EU cannot afford to let one country fail as it will bring down the rest like a pack of cards. A threat from outside usually unites a family or tribe. I think that is what we need for this broken world. Perhaps visitors from outer space!

M0nica Wed 26-Feb-20 22:36:20

But think how poor and poverty stricken we were several hundred years ago, low life expectancy, high child mortality. As for importing in prehistoric times we were trading stone axes from the lake District all over Europe. There has never been a time when people wer not trading with each other. The garnets for the magnificent Anglo-saxon brooches and other jewellry came from India.

There can be no one in the world who has not, in one way and another, benefitted from the many technological, agricultural developments that have happened since, that mean that child mortality has fallen from 40% to around 2% and possibly less. Life expectancy has doubled and we are fitter, healthier thanks to all the developments of agriculture and trade.

We never know what lies ahead, who could have foreseen the coronavirus? But with a few bumps and bruises, falling backs and sudden surges forward, life will, on average continue to improve for our children and our chldren's children.