Book Review: 2040 [Hoping for a Better Future]

in ecotrain •  3 months ago  (edited)

We need idealism. In a world where we're bombarded with climate docos, social media and news narratives that project a future that is horrific, we need positive news to counter the feelings of eco-grief and anxiety about what the planet might look like in twenty years time and positive action as a result of hope. This is the premise of Damon Gameu's book '2040', based on the documentary film of the same name. Basing his dreaming on fact and evidence based research, he aims to tell a 'new story' - one about solutions.


The book is beautifully put together - a gorgeous 'coffee table' style book complete with a pull out poster which colourfully outlines a number of positive actions that anyone can do to save the future - eat less meat, choose a 100 percent renewable energy company, educate girls, reduce your air travel and so on. Whilst this poster might be gimmicky, the 'handbook' goes into far more detail about what these might look like, should they be adopted.

For example, the section on alternative transport acknowledges the failings of technology yet offers far more than merely the driverless or electric car suggestions. Disruption to existing modes of transport which only make our planet more sick take the form of rideshare (through existing companies like UBER), electric vehicles (a face palm to Australia who gives a luxury car tax to imports whilst Europe embraces them at a far more reasonable price), driverless vehicles in cities as an on demand transport which is cheaper as it doesn't need to pay a driver, and the added benefit of freeing up space for parks and housing in an incresingly overpopulated world. Sounds utopian, right? However, Gameu does acknowledge all the moving parts, such as the concern over loss of jobs - and counters them with research, which shows that most people would be happy with a career change if they were offered it. Personally, I've never understood the 'loss of jobs' debate - surely a new industry simply allows for more jobs to replace the ones it takes away? Isn't that something that education, training and government incentives can deal with? If we had the same attitude when the telephone or the daily newspaper became replaced and bettered by the internet, would we be where we are today?

At the end of each chapter or section there are suggestions for things that people can actively do to make small differences. One of my favourites was to be a true materialist in that we should value our things, rather than dispose of them. He suggests that it 'won't be too long before it's seen as embarrassing to be caught holidng a take-away coffee cup or plastic bottle of water' - such changing of the way we think about what we consume can make a massive difference. The thought that it could be socially unacceptable to damage the environment in which we live is a beautiful dream - but one this book gives me hope for.

'The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it' - Robert Swan


The only thing I thought was odd about the book was the recipe book at the end. Perhaps it's just part of the glossy marketablity of it - but, as I browsed further, I liked this book even more. Without being overly preachy or didactic, the recipe section offered small suggestions that can make big differences, such as using the whole plant, utilisting leftovers, using water efficient sources of protein (that's lentils), using environmentally sound sweeteners (sugar is the most environmentally destructive) and ethical shopping. Morrocan roasted cauliflower with apricots and zucchini couscous? Eggplant and fig chutney? There's some interesting enough recipes here to inspire conscious cooks!

The book is also full of inspiring quotes, photographs and illustrations. Hope oozes from every page. This would be an amazing Christmas gift to young people in particular who may be feeling anxious, depressed and sick about their futures ruined by a generation of people with little foresight yet all the money and power to do something to change it. Sure, it is easy to be cynical about such glossy, clearly 'sellable' material (Christmas is coming, after all), Gameu did - and does - make me full of renewed hope for a better future, and full of admiration for the people that are already putting funding, research and energy into doing something to solve the problems we have, instead of moaning about the prospect of the world being 'doomed'.

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Envisioning a better, different future is really at the heart of eco-village and eco-community. Nice find. Was it a gift or a splurge? :)

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A library book! I was definitely thinking about eco villages as I wrote this. Certainly redesign of our living was at heart of this book..

What an amazing book review! I share what I read on the STEEM verse sometimes, but have never really seen anyone else do it.

Thank you for sharing, I am off to a bookstore date with my children this evening and will keep a lookout for it.

Wonderful. How old are your kids? I think we should share more books for sure. We used to, back when steem was busier. Natural Medicine even had a share a book challenge a little while ago which was great. I borrowed this one from the library.

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When the book sharing challenges come, I have a BUNCH up my sleeve. I have a San Diego specific book I will be sharing soon enough for the SAND tribe.

My kids are 13, 7, 5 and 13 WEEKS gestation.

I love libraries but am not so good at turning them back in on time SMH, I know...

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Sounds like a cracking read will have to keep an eye out for it, thanks 💯🐒

I quite enjoyed it. I knew al lot of its content already, but its hopeful, positive framing was appreciated and I admired what he was trying to do.

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En hora buena @riverflows

This really seems like an awesome book! You are so right! We need positivity and solutions instead of talking about the problems we face. It totally fits what i am going through! I am dealing with transport, emissions, manufacturing and supply chains daily and consumer goods that have a linear life cycle. Most commodities often go from Extraction to waste. In the mornings i plan containers to make console boxes or fail at wasted transit space that could at least be more emission effektive economically. In the industry where one should be most aware, people only started caring after much noise was made about climate change. It seems that people are waking up and having a reusable take away cups give you a discount for your coffee here of up to a dollar. One economist, namely raj patel once calculated the true cost of goods according to fair wages and the cost it has for our environment. Since about 2011 i carry a water bottle with me everywhere i go. I guess it also makes one aware that there is a trend happening when almost everyone with common sense around you starts doing that. I totally share your hope. I also often have a few bamboo straws in my back bag just in case someone wants to feed me some PVC. I also recommend a stainless steel water bottle as an ultimate weapon of self defense btw. ( i mean water bottle of course) I used to have to leave it outside the club, but now they let me enter with it anyways. Not that anyone would ever need that in a peaceful future. 'Speak peace to the water, drink it and become it ' I gotta read 2040! These recipes actually make me more curious. Thanks for the share.

I agree about the need for good news -- idealism, hope, uplift, solutions (especially, in times of pervasive bleakness). As you might know, I'm an admirer of inspiring quotations (in fact, I've written two books of them :) Should you care to consider both for review, I'd be happy to send you e-copies -- just let me know what email address to use _/|\_

I would love to - I will email you my address!

  ·  3 months ago (edited)

Thanks for this review @riverflows. I probably really nead to read this book at the moment. Feeling pretty pesimistic about our planets future right now. Trying to explore around for a different outlook, maybe this will help.

Hi! Go check out talks on youtube from David Ikke, some people think he is crazy but actually he has been predicting things since the last 20 years or more. He makes sense to me and keeps me sane when im feeling down about the future. Ill be watching this one soon :)

Sorry mate, I'm never going to watch anything by that guy - I genuinely think he's a nut job!

Haha see, how deep does our conditioning go 😜

I recently watched a 3year old program from 'Real stories' on youtube called "Was David Ikke Right?".. worth a watch, and it is quite ery who correct his predictions have been 😀

Ha yep... I can admit I MIGHT be TOTALLY conditioned...still, not an Icke fan lol.

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I'm always watching where my focus goes. If I get depressed, I go look elsewhere - our brains our hard wired to focus on the negative. I try to think about the positive things I can do. It's not wilful blindness or head in the sand, or any kind of pollyanna naivete, just a strategy to protect my mental health. Whilst it's quite simplistic in some ways, it's really worth a look.

That sounds like a good read, but I have come to the conclusion that actually our future will be ok, its just much more FEAR from governments to keep us in fright and compliant by using things such as the climate change (which from what Ive been researching on seems to just be a natural cycle of the earth) and anything else related to saving it- is not what they say it is and is mostly a distraction so we forget about Epstein, Syria war, and many other things that is happening around us.

Obviously we can do better for the world but not really buy using electric cars and smart tech, this is all built for them to survey us more but sold to us as "helping the planet"..

I love this saying so much im thinking its worthy as a tattoo.. "How do we expect to save the world, when we cant even save ourselves?" hahahahah

'Saving ourselves' is a good one - I was listening to a zen podcast the other day about that. There's hope there too - as many of us are at a point where base survival is no longer an issue, many are turning toward meditation of various kinds as an answer - and when you start growing compassion and understanding of the self and the world as a construct, you begin to extend compassion outwards too and see things for what they are (i.e I have been socially conditioned to see the 'other' as frightening and inferior and savage) or that we are being manipulated, as you say. And the more 'woke' (ugh) we get toward what governments might be doing.

Greenwashing - I could not agree with you more. I don't want to get into a debate about existance of climate change as I don't even think that's the issue here. Look at the pollutants we DO see bleeding onto the earth - even if climate change DOESN"T exist, there's factory farming, chemical pollutants, sweatfarms, child trafficking, and a plethora of other issues that being CONSCIOUS about what we consume and support is really relevant and important. Yep, it might distract me from Syria or Epstein or the other things I can do nothing about on an individual level to any great extent, but at least these positive changes and habits can do good to the other things I care about.

And natural cycle of the Earth - sorry, but that's bullshit. We look for things we want to see - some of us prefer to see a conspiracy but there are thousands of scientific research papers that ... no, stop it girl, you said you didn't want to debate existence of climate change lol...

I think our future will be okay too - the more of us that wake up, the better. Our government doesn't believe in climate change so they aren't using that to keep us in fright, they're using the fear of the invader like Trump is.

Thank-you for the awesome book review! I'm always on the look out for good reads or listen too (I got into audible books lately)
This one is an excellent book and sounds so inspiring! Happy you found it at the library - I'm going to check our library to see if they have it.
I'm also going to check if the documentary is up on Netflix.