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Hassan Syed

Executive Director (Resources), Twycross Zoo, United Kingdom

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Do you believe that our future is bright, if yes, why and if not, why not?

While looking at the trends like human health, access to knowledge, access to technology, technology growth, etc., we start believing that our future is going to be very good. On the other hand, looking at the trends like destruction of nature, speed at with we are consuming natural and environmental resources, explosion of human population, carbon in the air and climate change, etc., we think that really difficult times are ahead of us.

I am interested in knowing the sources of optimism and causes of pessimism in us.

Just to be clear, "our" means humankind :-)

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    Sep 29 2012: I think our future is as bright or dark as is has always been in the history of mankind. Like our organism / immune system always adapted to new threats, our society will adapt and overcome problems of civilisation. Looking into history there was always an up and down (dialectical principal). In 1988 nobody in Germany would have bet one dollar on the "end of the cold war" and the falling of the iron wall. . In 1975 (at least in Germany) nobody would have dared to believe, that our rivers will recover to the quality of today (drink water quality) or that wolves or eagles would return to our forests.One more argument - there is a platonic dialogue (I think it is the Gorgias dialogue) dated 500 b.C. where the old men are sitting together on the market place, when a young guy was strolling by. The old men where starting to complain about his outfit, where telling stories how few respect the youth is paying to the older people, and that all the old virtues will go down the drain. This makes me think, that cultural pessimism is as old as mankind, and it always came better than suspected ;-)

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