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It is shocking how much of this advice assumes that the world will be a similar place even a few years from now.

There is a constant set of themes, for each of the years I scanned but especially my age which is 23, to travel, invest for the future, and start businesses and I am increasingly skeptical of each.

I am just starting out, and I am here because I used to think that my future involved travel and startups, but recent news has made it clear to me that travel is one of the human obsessions that is destroying this world and that the future will not happen: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-...

My advice, for all age groups, is to enjoy what you have now and don't have kids- the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in.




I realize this post may come off as abrasive, but here it goes.

> but recent news has made it clear to me that travel is one of the human obsessions that is destroying this world and that the future will not happen:

If you think that impending climate change (/climate catastrophe) is significantly impacted by the "human obsession" of travel, you are drinking someone else's kool-aid and pulling wool over your eyes as to the real causes (industry greenhouse gas emissions, industry and non-industry energy generation, and agriculture).

>My advice, for all age groups, is to enjoy what you have now and don't have kids-

My advice for all age groups is to take with a massive grain of salt what a 23-year old suggests to you, perhaps going as far as to completely discount any "life advice" given by this demographic. And I'd also suggest to make a decision about having or not having children based on your life circumstances rather than some absurd claim (coming below) that the world sucks.

> the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in.

We get it; you're a pessimist. People have espoused this same sentiment for decades (actually, centuries or longer).


Fair enough, but tourism is estimated to account for a tenth of global carbon emissions which is not insignificant: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/tourism-climate-ch...

People have been espousing that we are doomed for decades, but many of them were actually right: we have not meaningfully deviated from the predictions made by the 1972 report The Limits of Growth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_to_Growth) for example. Reality has continued tracking along with our climate models, which were used to predict doom decades ago. Some doomsday scenarios have a preponderance of evidence that they are happening, and I feel that understanding that is not pessimism but realism.


The thing about pessimism is that it's a very attractive mindset for people who don't like to think all that much, but want to have answers.

It's also the mindset for people who stagnate and adopt a defeatist attitude.

It's also an extremist mindset, that closes itself away from other options and is fueled constantly by more pessimistic thoughts.

It's also a mindset that can quickly lead to depression, due to the constantly negative and skewed perspective of life.

It's also an easy mindset to disguise as "realism". There is no realism in what you've advised, in fact the advice for people to stop reproducing due to a doomsday scenario is perhaps the least realistic thought when it comes to reactions to global warming. The absurdity of such an advice is only explained by the naivety of someone who only now started life (which is accurate).


On the other hand the human life & culture we've developed might not give us a "realistic" means for dealing with the environment and climate change. Reread what you've written and look at it from the perspective of someone concerned about climate change, whose read the reports that we're likely to see effects of it within our lifetimes, and who lives in a world where the response to a progressively worsening disaster is ranges from "not my problem", "don't be so negative", to "what can we do?".

Young people today are born into a world with a considerable amount of inertia leading it to a not so happy place. The evidence points to this not being just pessimism, but a reality they will have to face and deal with in their lifetimes. Rising sea levels, political instability as once habitable and arable land become inhabitable and barren, increasingly sever weather, etc. Pessimism and optimism in this case refers to how severe these problems will be and whether we can either put them off or mitigate the consequences, not whether or not they are happening.


> my age which is 23

My advice to you, as someone who's older than you and used to think exactly like you: climate impact can be an excuse to stay in one's comfort zone. Try to go out of your way to do things you're not comfortable with, or you may come to regret wasting your youth in front of the computer.


Haha, kids are what gives your life purpose. Next time you blink you'll be over the hill and having a great time with your grandchildren! I wasted my youth, don't waste yours. If I could go back to 23!!! :)


There are various ways to travel, not all involve dumping tons of jet fuel in the atmosphere. A German I met used to take a yearly trip to Portugal on bicycle. Hitchhiking also lets you get pretty far while wasting minimal extra fuel.

We're hackers, no? Rather than declaring the goal impossible, why not try to find clever alternative solutions?


You don't sound like you're enjoying anything.


I'm not. I'm still grieving. I think most people when they realize the extent of climate change, soil depletion, and ocean acidification will have to go through some stage of grief before they can accept the future they thought they had is going to be cut short.


Earth has no feelings - it's just a large rock floating in space. It doesn't care about anything or anyone, and it will eventually get destroyed by cosmic fate.

So what's left? People. We are the essence of anything meaningful on earth. Despite our negatives, we've managed to thrive and create meaning. We have a consciousness that transcends our own understanding, and in this we should embrace each other in hope that our future is better.

Perhaps your feeling is that you just don't like people, and need to find positive ways to interact with them so that you can see a brighter future.


My advice for you would be to think longer about these things, 23 is just the right age to think you have all the right answers and everyone else is wrong.


Its a really important hump to get over. When I got out of my undergrad I felt like I owned the world, but a few years later and I felt like I knew nothing.

It just made me try harder, but I think every kid needs to get over that bridge to become a legitimate adult - to be faced with both success and failure, and realize you are only ever at local maxima, there is always another mountain to climb, and you do it to aspire to see more and further.


Instead of grieving for what might have been, how about start working towards what might still be?

The environment has suffered damage, and it is likely to suffer further damage in the short term, but the time to start fixing that is now.


Good grief, you've been completely brainwashed by the media. Grieving? Over dirt?

The climate has always been in a state of flux. For as far back as e.g. ice core records can show, the temperature and weather and atmospheric gas concentrations have gone up and down and all over the place, for millions of years.

Despite that, here we are, supposedly at the highest point yet demonstrated of intelligent civilization, our species having overcome all of it--and there are members of said species like yourself, who are acting completely irrationally, against all historical evidence.

If our ancestors thought like you, they'd have all frozen to death in caves, and we wouldn't even exist. "Hey, Ug, baby, wanna start a fire and get it on?" "Nah, I'm grieving cause the wooly mammoth outside sneezed and blew some dirt into the lake. We're all gonna die anyway, so why bother having kids? Might as well go ahead and freeze to death now here in this cave."

Get a hold of yourself, before it's too late for you to make use of the limited years you have on this planet. Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.

Seriously, now, you might actually be clinically depressed. It's very hard to think rationally or overcome irrational feelings when depressed. You're on the Internet, so google up the signs of clinical depression. If any of them apply to you, go get some help from someone trained to provide it. There's no need to suffer helplessly when we have tools available to help. Do something now, because no one else can truly help you until you decide to start helping yourself.


You know, you're right and I made an appointment with a doctor yesterday evening.


Great, best wishes to you. The best practical advice I can give is, again, that no one can--or will--help you more than you help yourself. Also, look for medium- and long-term patterns. It's easy to be in a short episode and feel like it's permanent. When you recognize that it's okay to feel down for a while, that there are natural ups and downs, and that you will feel better soon, it's easier to handle, and that makes it last a shorter time and raises the "floor" of the experience, so to speak.


If you're giving up on the future already, might as well travel all you want while you can. Why care if we're doomed anyway.

If you're NOT giving up on the future just yet, you'd be much better off maximizing your impact on public policy (from municipal to federal levels) instead of trying to become an inert object.

You can be part of the solution without needless self-imposed extremism.


When I was your age, and extremely worried about climate change, I went to live on an ecovillage with like minded people trying to demonstrate a lower-impact lifestyle.

It was terrific, highly recommended! You might find visiting a few to be a satisfying way to connect with likeminded folks.

The one I lived on was a secular, rural-US community with at the time pretty intense covenants [0] but there are lots, with widely varying beliefs.

[0] http://dancingrabbit.org/


I once reached to Dancing Rabbit as an 18 year old! I was so interested in their concepts and wanted to join, but then I went elsewhere with my life.


> the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in

Per what subjective measure? There has been torture, famine, genocide, and worse catastrophes for millions of years. I'm not even exclusively talking about human, social constructs. Animals have been weeding each other out for forever. There have been asteroids that nearly strip earth of all life. Would you say those times were not worth living in either?

If so, i think you may want to ask yourself what makes life worth living. Life may be filled with struggle and adversity (and the specifics of how it is so will likely continue to differ), but the beauty of it is that we get to try our damndest to make better and more out of it.

Do not go gentle into that good night~


> the world even 10-20 years from now isn't one worth living in

I heard the same advice 40 years ago. The world today is wonderful. I will be very sorry to leave it.


Part of why you feel so strongly about climate change is that you (us, I guess? I'm only four years older) haven't lived long enough to recognize that, while its a massive challenge to the species, two things:

1. We only ever confront challenge either on the individual or among our peer group. No matter how much you try to collectively call everyone a citizen of the Earth and part of one family your biology prevents you from being empathic to those a few orders of magnitude outside your local self. This means you both cannot wax poetic for the woes of everyone else and you need to recognize 99.99999% of humanity will, optimistically, not give a shit about you.

2. Climate change is the kind of problem with stupidly simple solutions that are just hard to implement and take sacrifice and work to accomplish. In the same way curing many plagues in the era of vaccination was a simple solution - reach herd immunity in a population - with a logistical nightmare to accomplish. People died by the millions in the struggle to make it happens, and millions will die victims of climate change until the broader interests of humanity wake up and force the change necessary to fix the problem, but its not any one persons burden to bear.

We could all be killed tomorrow. by a gamma ray burst from a star in our local cluster going supernova. Or an accidential nuke launch at a dilapidated silo could cause total annihilation of the surface world. Or some alien species an infinite amount of distance from us could execute an experiment that fundamentally alters the constant rules of the universe that redefines what matter is.

We don't know whats coming, we do what we can for ourselves and those around us in our time, and we can't be distracted from what we can do with what we can't do, like alter the minds of billions to suddenly decide to take climate change seriously, or stop violent crime, or end tyranny, or feed everyone. That later is a great example - plenty have wished and prayed for global food security, but it took the efforts of millions of individuals over decades to propagate wells and agricultural practices throughout the third world that have led to recent years being consistent record lows for global thirst, hunger, and extreme poverty. They might have cried about it in their early 20s in the 70s-90s, but they got up and did what they could, and collectively had a major impact on it.

So if you really do care about climate change - and being from HN - there is a huge tech scene around solutions and tools to fight it. Get involved and do something. Don't just complain about it, because that doesn't help anyone.




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