The other posts in this series can be found here. The first one with an explanation of what this is about is here.
Timothy McGee, Los Angeles, California, USA
For me, the holidays are a swirl of activity and celebration. However, there is a certain moment just after the party has ended when the pine needles are thick on the floor, and the remains of a good meal are scattered about that I get a chance to reflect. This year I was prompted by TreeHugger to consider the past and the future. The question many people started to ask in 2006 was "how can I change the world?" I think the question of 2007 will be "how am I already changing the world?" One of the most important changes taking place is that people are beginning to recognize that they already change the world. Every action we take has an impact. For most of living memory, we have struggled to control even just a little part of the ecosystem; today we cannot help but influence the entire global climate. For the first time in human history what happens in China matters to people living in New Zealand, and we have the ability to see it.
In the great sweep of human history, technology and society have jumped at critical evolutionary moments. We are at a time when thinking about how we impact our local and global environments converges on all aspects of our civilization. The systems we have devised to support our modern society unfortunately rely on politically and environmentally unstable resources. Cutting back on modern technology and being more efficient is not the answer. Instead, we need a radical departure in how our systems are designed so that they provide an enriching and sustaining development far into the future. Changing these systems will provide enormous wealth and security to those who adopt them. In 2007 we will see more people begin to recognize the critical importance of how we do everyday things.
Looking about, I find myself wondering where these pine needles will go, how can they create a better tomorrow, what about next year? Once we see that we are stewards of our own world, our actions have meaning and our future is in our own hands.