Are we making progress?
I think you can see this at the macro level and the micro level. Progress is never linear. The progress that some of us embraced under Obama others might embrace under Trump. It’s that struggle that has always been there and will always be. The future isn’t going to resemble the past. Today, we experience change quickly, and that’s disorienting. We need to be mindful that disorientation shouldn’t lead to despair, it should lead to focusing on the kind of world we want to build. It doesn’t mean it’s terrible. My husband and I look at some things, and we’re terrified by them—robot soldiers, total loss of privacy—those things are deeply alarming for people who grew up before the internet. At the same time, there is a lot of improvement: the kinds of technologies that are being developed will perhaps promote greater gender equality, better health, and all sorts of other things.
While we’ll never get the world back the way it was fifty years ago, that world is gone, what’s happening to the planet is not a moral dilemma—I see it as a personal dilemma for every one of us, in terms of what kind of world we are living in and what kind of world we are passing to our children. Forget future generations, that’s too far away for most people, just think about your own child. When I think about what the world will be like in forty years, when my son is forty-two years old, I have no idea what the world will be like.
Having grown up with so many stories from my grandfather and my father, watching the evolution of the environmental issues over the generations in my family, I realized I don’t want to be the generation to witness this decline. I don’t want to tell stories about this decline. I’m deeply concerned about climate change, extinction, collapsing oceans, and plastic pollution.