"The Future We Choose" Book Review
Updated: Feb 2, 2021
The Future We Choose is a passionate, compelling, and proactive call to change in the face of the climate crisis. Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac differ in their backgrounds but share a common deep concern for the future of our planet. Their perspectives are blended in this works to educate, enlighten, and encourage readers to recognise the climate emergency and act on it.
Published on 25th February 2020 just a month before the Coronavirus pandemic sent the UK, along with the rest of the world, into lockdown, this book has an even deeper significance, as it discusses a futuristic possibility of fewer cars on the road, cleaner air, community collaboration, shopping locally and home-growing vegetables, almost mirroring the dystopian reality that set in as people everywhere stayed home in fear of the virus, enjoying home cooking, baking, gardening, and where helping out others in the community became part of daily life.
Part 1 of the book is titled ‘Two Worlds’, and focusses on what the world will look like in 2050 if we carry on as we are, and what it will look like with significant progress and change towards a more sustainable future. ‘The World We Are Creating’ paints a depressing picture of a dark and gloomy world of misfortune, invoking feelings of fear and helplessness that make you want to stop reading, find a dark corner and grieve for what is yet to come. However, the following chapter, ‘The World We Must Create’, turns this all around to describe possibilities that are within reach if changes are made to our day to day lifestyles. It sounds like a dream and conjures up a desperate longing to reach this world, almost paradise in comparison to the last. The majority of the rest of the book looks at what is necessary in order to change the course of our future, with part 2 looking at applying the right mindset, and part 3 listing 10 necessary actions individuals can take. There is a lot more detail and background behind these actions in the book, but they are summarised here:
1. Let go of the old world - understanding that change can be difficult, but it is necessary. Build a resilience to nostalgia, look forward not backward, and understand resistance in others.
2. Face your grief but hold a vision of the future - Use grief of things that have been lost to climate change as motivation for a forward-thinking approach.
3. Defend the truth - Develop awareness of false news, the strength of media persuasion, unconscious bias, non-believers and alternate realities. Do not give up on climate deniers.
4. See yourself as a citizen, not as a consumer - Make changes to personal lifestyle to move away from consumerism and encourage the same in others. Dematerialise and recognise what is enough.
5. Move beyond fossil fuels – Make a personal reduction to fossil fuel usage and support organisations that commit to reduction.
6. Reforest the earth - Plant trees, support conservation movements, move to plant-based diet and boycott products that contribute to deforestation.
7. Invest in a clean economy - Support environmentally responsible companies and use pension contributions to invest in sustainable organisations.
8. Use technology responsibly - Support development of AI where it is used responsibly and support investments in your company, local community and government.
9. Build gender equality – Recognise companies with more women in senior positions take stronger climate action. Empower women to strive for change.
10. Engage in politics - Vote for political parties that prioritise environmental action, sign petitions, engage in demonstrations.
One of the great things about this book is that it clearly outlines changes that anyone and everyone can make to their day-to-day lives, right now, or in the near future, ranging from daily habits to long-term goals. It is packed with ideas and resources and faces the challenge of the climate crisis head on. An inspiring read for anyone seeking guidance of how to work towards a better future.