TEDMonterey Aug 1-4 2021
The event: TEDMonterey: Session Zero, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson and Helen Walters, live from the TED World Theater in New York City, on Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Kim Stanley Robinson, sci-fi writer
Big idea: A sci-fi vision of humanity’s triumph over the climate crisis — from the vantage point of the year 2071.
How? Coming to us from 50 years in the future, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson explains how the 2020s — or the “Terrible 20s,” as they’ll come to be known — marked a turning point in the climate crisis. Robinson envisions how, after two global pandemics and a series of deadly international heatwaves, the world’s nations joined their central banks to form the Network for Greening the Financial System and enacted the “carbon standard.” While it may sound impossible to us in 2021, the carbon standard created new fiat money “precisely in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide taken out of the atmosphere.” This dramatic change in fiscal policy made work that helped to heal the planet profitable — like regenerative agriculture, clean energy infrastructure, expansion of mass transit, reforestation and habitat restoration. In hindsight, Robinson says he can see that people in the 2020s met challenges that no other generation had ever faced, but, in his words, “those people really stepped up.” It’s a rousing vision of how humanity might unite in the coming decades and restore the damage done to Earth’s biosphere.