YSEALI 2022

What if we did everything right? This is what the future could be in 2050

by
Supriya Sivabalan
,

The grass is greener on the other side

Do you know that feeling when you’re fresh out of a nice bath? You feel empowered and rejuvenated - as though you can take on the world. Imagine feeling like that every single day just by being outdoors and inhaling clean, fresh air. 


Supertrees Grove, Singapore (Source: Annie Spratt)


The year is 2050. You step outside your house for your routine brisk walk. Your sneakers are laced up tight and your feet start hitting the dark gravel, one after the other. Step by step. Then, you pause. Your eyes are closed as you take a deep breath in. Cool, crisp air enters your nostrils - filling your body with the oxygen it needs to keep your blood pumping and your heart going. It feels incredible. Exhale. You instinctually release a satisfying sigh, almost as though a burden has been lifted from your shoulders as carbon dioxide exits your body. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. It’s refreshing. You open your eyes and take in the lush scenery around you. The trees never looked greener, and you’ve never felt better. 

This is our future, if we do things right - by successfully tackling climate change and managing our emissions. 


In 2050…

Climate change affects us all. From our pets to wild animals and from cutesy tourist spots to insect habitats, everyone and everything is held accountable. Thankfully, there are lots of cool initiatives that integrate the use of technological advancement to accelerate the efforts to save our planet. 

This time, all the “cool tech” has become a norm and humanity has simply adapted to greener practices. 


Energy-saving hours in a city  (Source: Takashi Watanabe)


We all live in smart cities, including you. As you walk around at night, the streetlights operate on a sensor that instantly lights up the town during your stroll. In the wee hours when only a handful of vehicles grace the roads, the lights go dim unless triggered by the sensor. This helps us save lots of energy.

In this city, you no longer have the problem of finding rubbish bins to toss your trash nor do you miss the scheduled visits of the garbage truck that typically come when you’re at work. It’s all hooked up online now, and there is fantastic waste management and sanitation via internet-enabled trash connection and bin management systems. Gone are the days where you have sky-high piles of trash bags lying around due to inefficient waste management. 


An electric vehicle being recharged (Source: Michael Fousert)


There’s even structural health monitoring and feedback for your home and vehicle. You haven’t had a sudden leak in your house or an unexpected breakdown from your vehicle in years. And the best part? Not only is everyone’s quality of life significantly raised, but lots of environmental efficiencies have been achieved via smart cities. It’s been amazing. 


Crystal clear water (Source: David Emrich)


Going to the beach has become a favorite pastime for you. The cool, calming breeze gently brushes your hair as you dip your feet into the crystal clear water where you occasionally observe aquatic life. Thanks to the Ocean Interceptors that routinely go about the seas and rivers, you always get a chance to see interesting new sea life during your visit. In fact, they’ve just announced that most seafood is soon to be 100% free of microplastic, which is incredible news! 

You walk past the giant vacuum cleaners on your way home. It’s insane how dystopian life feels but you’re grateful that technology has made Earth as green as it can be. These vacuum cleaners use Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology to remove the excessive amount of CO2 in the air in a safe and efficient manner, trapping pure CO2 that is ready to be supplied to the industries that require them. How cool is that?

Now at home, you hop straight into the shower. It’s been a warm day and you want to wash off the sweat and grime. Soothing hot water flows from your showerhead as steam fills your bathroom due to the temperature of your bath. You smile, thinking about the fact that your water heater is being powered by the Sun as your entire house utilizes solar power. It’s all come full-cycle, and you’re loving it. 

It’s dinner time. You’re in the mood for hamburgers. Your eyes scan the shelves of your energy-saving solar-powered refrigerator looking for some patties. Pancake batter, spaghetti sauce, fish filets, meatballs  - ah, there it is. The burgers are done in a matter of minutes on the stove and your house is now filled with the tantalizing aroma of freshly charred meat. As you sink your teeth into the homemade burger, glorious juices and flavors fill your mouth. You stop to think about how insane it is that food this good and hearty was made in a lab after the commercialization of plant proteins.

In fact, everything in your fridge is lab-manufactured but contains all necessary nutrients. Most importantly, they’re all absolutely delectable. A smile settles on your face. 

It’s amazing how far everyone has come in all aspects. We’ve realized that there are so many alternatives to so many daily practices. Lab-grown foods, electrical vehicles, smart cities, renewable energy - it’s all just part of life now. Not only is the Earth better off with it, but so are we.

Thanks to this shift in lifestyle, we experience reduced critical illnesses and live longer. We breathe cleaner air. We coexist peacefully with nature. We are happier.


How do we reach 2050? 

Act now! (Source: Markus Spiske)


Today, climate organizations and youth leaders press on to ensure that it will be no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer by 2100. Partner that passion with new tech that is advancing day by day and we’re on our way towards achieving a feasible and sustainable solution for the climate crisis. We’re all in this together and it’s the high time that this momentum in saving our planet is preserved. 

Everyone starts somewhere. Simply by understanding and accepting the harsh reality of climate change is a great step forward. Join us at YSEALI Summit 2022 to take more steps by learning more about this very real issue and realizing that there are solutions that exist within our power. 


Supriya Sivabalan

Author

Supriya is an actuarial science student and a budding content writer at heart, sowing the seeds of copious alluring and magnetic narratives to tell memorable stories.