As a central part of the All Town Halls session that took place within the context of the 2022 UCLG Retreat, the Climate Heritage Network and the other leading organizations presented a headline from the future and an image accompanying this headline. The idea was to allow ourselves to co-create from a bold and futuristic perspective. So, after some initial challenges, in 2042 the Town Hall’s proposals and radical thinking have a crucial impact on the world in ways we’d never even imagined!
Earth Expects to hit Net Zero within 5 years Thanks to Huge Cultural Shifts First Initiated in the 2020s
We have tackled the missing cultural dimensions of the climate crisis; societies, especially in industrialised and industrialising countries, have transcended their take-make-waste petrocultures. To get there, cultural actors and cultural voices were instrumental in helping people imagine post-carbon, climate resilient ways of living.
Championing traditional knowledge and intangible heritage that pre-dates (or works independently of) the carbon era -- to point the way to post-carbon living.
Lifting up the worldviews of Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities that were never co-opted by modern extractive economies to offer counterpoints to prevailing views of progress.
Unleashing artistic and imaginative tools to help us challenge inherited assumptions and transformatively reinterpret today’s carbon-scape and mindsets.
Realising this future requires that local governments pursue holistic cultural and environmental policies that leave behind failed nature-culture divisions. It raises the question of whether existing cultural infrastructures can deliver the needed impact at scale and with urgency.
As difficult as it will be to achieve, a world that only achieves Net Zero by the mid-2040s has not escaped great troubles. It is a world of sea walls and planned retreat. For better and for worse, cities, land use and rural areas look today much different. Year-round forest fire seasons, more typhoons. Large-scale displacement, which means migration still roiling the politics of the planet.
We clearly did not “escape” climate change, but catastrophe has been avoided. Today’s youth have been given a chance and intergenerational equity has prevailed. Humanity teetered—and many people paid an unfair and impossible price—but it did not fall. And, in our headline, we have emerged with a new culture, rooted in ancient wisdom, of resilience and regeneration.