How to ensure sustainable and happy life in the future?

At the moment Finns do well. Finland leads the charts in human wellbeing year after year.

But there are problems behind the corner.  With our current way of life, this level of wellbeing is impossible to maintain. The average Finn uses approximately three and a half times more resources than what is sustainable in the long run.

Ever since the Limits to Growth report was published by the Club of Rome in 1972, the inevitable limits of the planet have been well known. The climate change has made this topic an ever more urgent. According to the IPCC (global scientific panel on climate change) we have to turn global climate emissions to declining trajectory within the next decade in order to avoid the threat of catastrophic climate change. Within the next 40 year the emissions levels in developed countries would have to be 90% lower than in the 1990s. 

What makes this challenge even trickier is global population growth.The global population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.3 billion in 2015. The number of people keeps growing to 8.4 billion by mid-2030, perhaps topping at 11 billion around the year 2100.

The defining correlation of our time is the correlation between the unsustainable use of natural resources and human wellbeing. Limited resources vs. human wellbeing is one of the tensions of the hyperconnected planet. To be able to live full and happy life in the future, we must seek ways to end this dependence.

Technology can help to decrease the aforementioned correlation. Naked Approach research consortium is investigating sensors that are energy independent via energy harvesting, e.g. by collecting their own energy from solar panels or even vibrations. This kind of solutions makes it possible to construct technology networks that don’t increase the burden on the existing systems. These technologies can radically reduce the overall resource use in buildings and constructing, transportation and mobility, production and manufacturing. 

This is the third blog post in the series of “The key tensions of the hyperconnected world”. The outcomes of these tensions will shape the future of our society. They are the basis of two future scenarios about the hyperconnected world, which Demos Helsinki will publish at Slush festival on 11th November.

Other tensions:
Future of work is one of hyperconnected world’s key tensions
A possibility is not a capability in the hyperconnected world