Sunday, April 29, 2012
My driving test in 2039
It struck me that if I take a driving test at the same age, it will be in 2039, which seems improbably far away. (I posted the observation on Facebook, and people commented hopefully on the possibility I'd take the test in a solar-powered flying car.)
Then I realized that if our two youngest, Sam and Rachelle, face the same retest at 87, it would be in 2072.
If our youngest grandboy Owen faces a test at the same age, it will be in 2096.
It's my birthday today, so I'm a little more conscious of the passing of time.
But I've never really thought about the prospect of being around in 2039 (accepting that I might not be). The idea that a kid I know and care about will quite likely be waiting on the arrival of the next century is mind-blowing, to use a word that reveals just how long I have been around.
And instructive. I tend to think of the next few years. When I was a corporate guy, running newspapers, I thought of the next few months, the quarterly results being all important. Politicians think in terms of a four-year election cycle, or less if there aren't fixed election dates.
But for our children, and their children, the game is much longer. Logging protected areas to get three or four more years of production won't mean much in 10 or 50 years. Running a deficit to pay today's bills just means a debt that will be due in the future.
Then there are the big issues. Even if climate-change deniers challenge the scientific consensus on causes, the changes ahead are significant. Here in Honduras, they are imminent. People have planted beans and corn on the same days in May for generations, confident the rains would come soon after. If the rain doesn't come, and the crops wither, they go hungry and, perhaps, children die. In the 'developed world,' adaptation and technical responses are possible solutions. Not here, not for the 60 per cent of Hondurans living in poverty.
And there are the trend lines. In Canada, wealth has been increasingly concentrated in a small group, thanks in part to government policies, as I noted here. If that trend continues over decades, the gap will be enormous.
Voter turnout - the ultimate indicator of government legitimacy - has steadily fallen. When will it reach a point that democracy is no longer a credible concept?
It's past time that political parties - and all of us - start to talk about the future we see for our grandchildren.
Posted by paul at 1:32 PM