[tweetmeme] As G8 Nations Agree to Cut Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050 you can sense the head-hanging-teenage-mopeing-shoe-dragging truculence of populations around the world. But Why? ‘change’ is business as usual…

40 years is a long time. The world will be a very different place by then whether we’re reducing carbon or not. And we will be reducing carbon. And the time will pass anyway. We’re as far away from 2050 as we are from 1970.

The 1970s

Imagine yourself as an adult in 1970 (you might not need to imagine). You were a baby boomer. The swinging 60’s was all yours. Your parents were the children or grandchildren of Victorians. And man had just landed on the moon. So what did the fresh new decade hold?

Characteristics of the decade

Microwave ovens became commercially available, as did VCRs. And no one knew it yet, but the world’s first general microprocessor was just around the corner.

The 1970s witnessed an explosion in the understanding of solid-state physics, driven by the development of the integrated circuit, and the laser.

Is wasn’t until 1977 that the Apple II computer went on sale, priced at $1298 (USD). Mobile phones were a long way off remember – a l.o.n.g. way off.

In the UK (the only) three TV stations began broadcasting in color between 1967 and 1969. So if you were a (b)leading edge man-about-town with a disposable income (despite a shocking economy whose prime interest rate hit 21.5% in December 1980) you would be able to record a colour TV show on your VCR. That was it. And you could only do that if – in America – you’d avoided the draft for the Vietnam War, which didn’t come to a close until 1973. And you wouldn’t have been recording a show about cosmetic surgery – the first face lifts weren’t attempted until later in the decade.

Your working life would have been defined by manufacturing – certainly towards the beginning of the decade. In the US, manufacturing industries began to decline as a result of the inflationary economy driven by the oil crisis. The US would wave goodbye to its last trade surplus in 1975.

In 1971 The Quarter Pounder was introduced at McDonald’s. It cost 53 cents (USD). It wasn’t until 1974 that the first McDonald’s restaurant opened in London.

Different place

The world is very different now. Certainly in terms of technology, but also in terms of sexual and racial equality. Language has changed to reflect the times – ‘staycation’ is not a term that would’ve meant anything in the 70s as package tours were still so new many people didn’t holiday abroad. By default, one would ‘staycate’.

In 40 years the world will have changed. It will be full of products and perceptions very different from now. And most of them using carbon fuel sparingly. Change is inevitable, and I can’t wait.

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