Future Thinking at the Boston Book Festival

Last weekend, my friend and I attended the Boston Book Festival. One of my favorite presentations was called “The Environment: Thinking into the Future.” Authors Bina Venkataraman and Tatiana Schlossberg spoke about the reasons behind the stagnancy of climate change solutions.

An interesting idea they brought up was that fear is not a powerful motivator for change. “Doomsday predictions,” as they called them, not only steer people away from the problem at hand, but cause them to focus more on the present. This near-sightedness will ultimately hinder the progress of a solution to climate change.

As Bina continued to speak, a question rose to the forefront of my mind. I raised my hand to ask what she thought the best motivator for people would be. Bina’s answer was simple but powerful. People are motivated to act when they see themselves as ancestors to their future generations.

She further explores this idea of linking the present to the future in her book, which I’ve requested from my public library. If you want some more information now, watch Bina’s April 2019 Ted Talk The Power to Think Ahead in a Reckless Age, where she shares specific tools that help activate our innate foresight.