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The future of energy (and why the world needs to quit the fossil fuel habit NOW)

The World Health Organization recently joined more than 1,000 health professionals around the world urgently calling for a treaty to halt what it calls our “addiction” to fossil fuels. 

“The modern addiction to fossil fuels is not just an act of environmental vandalism,” saud WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “From a health perspective, it is an act of self-sabotage.”

The current crisis has left none of us unscathed. From eye-watering energy bills to soaring petrol prices; fuel shortages to blackouts — the ripple effects are being felt globally. And they’re going to be with us for some time yet.

The UN’s call is comparable to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), signed in 2003 and ratified in 2005, which has become one of the most widely embraced treaties in UN history, promoting higher tobacco taxes to cut consumption.

And since the agonizing choice between whether to heat your home or feed your family is very real for many people, this call for change is more urgent than ever.

But as we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, what are the alternatives? What will our energy supplies of the future look like? How will we get around? And what will we use to fuel our houses and buildings? While we’re starting to see viable options – a whole hospital in Wales is now able to get all its energy from solar panels – there is still a long way to go. 

It’s simply a case of supply and demand. If people keep buying petrol, petrol companies will keep providing it. If companies keep allowing their employees to travel for business, airlines will lay on more flights. If we all keep doing things the same way, we’ll never reduce our carbon the way we need to. 

My daughter asked me some years ago: “Mama, why don’t we have a car?” She’d heard me talking to my husband about it and he was adamant we didn’t need one. We live in the city suburbs, near a train station and a tube station, and our children can walk or bike to school. At the time, the kids were quite small and I thought a car would be useful. However, after much discussion (for my husband, it came down to a cost factor), we decided against it. At the time, I was so annoyed with him. I really wanted a car! But now I’m grateful he stood his ground, because not having a car is helping our environment.

So now, when my daughter asks that question: “Why don’t we have a car?” I can answer her: “Because we don’t really need one, and it’s our way of helping to look after the planet.”

I know this isn’t possible for everyone. And some fundamental government and infrastructure changes need to take place before we are all able to travel more sustainably. But we need to find a way to stop using fossil fuels. 

I’ve managed to rewire my own neural pathways in the last few months and it has had profound effects – giving me intuitive insights about the future of our planet. I believe we can all tap into the deeper knowledge that is inside us – our inner genius – to change the way we work. But we need to take a step back and slow down.

So close your eyes, take a deep breath, and visualize the future of our buildings and the way we travel. What does it look like? How are we sustainable? How does it compare to what we are doing now? Got it? Keep that in mind. I’d like to share my own letter from the future. It’s my vision for the future of energy supply.

Dear wonderful people of 2022, 

In that year, the travel restrictions that had been put in place for the COVID 19 pandemic were lifted in many countries. We all started traveling like mad. Airports were busy. Roads were busy. People were busy. Business travelers were saying: “It’s better to meet in person. We need to get the team together. We need to catch up.” Holidays were booked up on low-cost flights and airports couldn’t cope with the demand. 

Back in 2022, we tried to go back to “normal”. Energy prices continued to rise but nobody wanted to stop using fossil fuels. Then in the summer that year temperatures soared. We didn’t understand what was happening until a huge climatic disaster hit, followed by another one. Extreme heat saw many people flee their countries. A toxic dust caused by pollution resulted in  even more deaths. Our environment was fighting back, governments were in a mess, and it was time to take radical, international action. Every single man, woman and child’s focus was to save the Earth. 

Here in the future we use solar panels and wind turbines to create energy, and have found innovative and more affordable ways to extract the Earth’s heat. Geothermal energy is collected from tectonic seams in the seas, and we use geothermal pumps to heat and cool our homes, buildings and offices. We have become known as the greatest discoverers and innovators of our time. We’ve discovered parts of the sea where we can extract large amounts of energy, and cracked open massive stores of geothermal heat – all funded by a collaboration between wealthy businesses and government investment. We’ve managed to stop using fossil fuels completely thanks to renewable energy sources. The majority of business travel is banned and companies are heavily fined if they are not able to prove it was done sustainably. 

Dear People of 2022, there is hope for a bright future. But we have to adjust. Please stop driving everywhere. Please think about every single trip you take. Businesses, please cancel business trips unless they’re absolutely necessary. Keep energy use to a minimum. Governments, come together now to work collectively for a sustainable future. 

With love from your future world and its wonderful human beings.

I’d like to invite you to tap into your own inner genius. It is obvious that the past has not given us what we need. It is obvious we need to change. And for that, we need the deeper knowledge we all have. We NEED to tap into our letters from the future – the future or work, of the planet, the future of collaboration, of energy supply. We can then download this information and use it to create our new world.


5 reasons quitting the fossil fuel habit would be good news

1. Less driving and fewer flights will result in lower emissions and less smog – which means clearer skies ahead for all of us.

2. Turning your lights off and saving energy will not just result in lower bills – it will help reduce light pollution, which has been proven to have a detrimental effect on both wildlife and human health. We’ll get more sleep, have fewer headaches, and be less stressed.

3. When you reduce the use of fossil fuels, it lowers air pollution, which is a cause of asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer. That means a global commitment to cutting back could save around 7 million lives every year worldwide.

4. The same toxic gasses that cause health problems in humans are also absorbed into the water, killing off fish and other aquatic life. And without a healthy ocean, humans cannot thrive. Saving sealife will save ourselves.

5. A healthier population means fewer missed work days, fewer trips to the doctor, and a more robust economy. Spending less on healthcare will free up government budgets for potential investment in energy alternatives.

ABOUT: Cara de Lange is a specialist in the science of burnout. A visionary author, wellbeing consultant and futurist, she founded Softer Success® to provide evidence-backed burnout solutions for businesses. Working with the world's top universities, researchers and psychologists, she created the ground-breaking, anonymous wellbeing assessment 'A Walk Through the Forest', which can diagnose the risk of workplace burnout and toxicity in 90 seconds.

Contact Cara

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