my dystopian future

I’ve always thought a dystopian future was most likely, but in my most optimistic moments, and I did have a few of those, here’s what I thought the future of America might be like, best-case scenario:

I thought we’d get a handle on the pollution thing. I honestly don’t know how “reduce, reuse, recycle” is optional, or that anyone believes dumping garbage into anything but a carefully controlled disposal system is anything but A Very Bad Idea. How is there any question we should keep the thin, narrow layer of habitable ground we live on clean? I really thought we’d not only stop polluting and dispose of our garbage properly, I also thought we’d have cleaned up all the messes we made.

I thought we’d have stopped burning fossil fuels by now. When I was much younger, I figured we would eventually get all our power from nuclear reactors. It was a common belief then. I still think going nuclear would be preferable to burning fossil fuels, but now I think the better power source is the sun, which dumps so much power on our planet that you can feel it, even though it’s ninety-three million miles away. With our current technology, we can meet all our needs using only a fraction of the energy the sun dumps on us every day, yet we continue to burn fossil fuels because, I guess, it’s easier, or at least we think it is.

I really, really thought we’d all use mass transit a lot more than we do. By “mass transit,” I mean a transportation system like buses or trains (or any combination thereof) that everybody uses most of the time. I was pretty sure that by the time I was this old I wouldn’t have to walk more than fifteen or twenty minutes to get almost anywhere in the United States. It honestly didn’t seem impossible way back when, but I obviously underestimated by a long shot how much Americans love their cars, and now virtually all of the roads in every city in the country are laid out for cars, not walking. I’ve been in a lot of cities where it’s not quite impossible to walk from a hotel to a store or a restaurant, but they’re almost there. The fact that Americans are virtually forced to drive everywhere is so disappointing.

I haven’t said “I thought we’d treat each other like equals” because I have been so monumentally naive as to think we were almost there years and years ago. I have only recently come to realize how far we have to go to reach the point where we treat each other like equals that I’m not confident at all we ever will.

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