Back at the turn of the millennium, the local government I was working for asked community members to contribute their vision of the municipality in the year 2025. As an environmental planner, I attended the community’s presentations with some interest.
One group that responded was a gifted-students’ club from an elementary school. In their envisioned future, they imagined a community with only indoor parks. Beyond these parks, there would be no trees, no plants, no birds, and no animals. Freshwater would be gone, because lakes and streams would either be dried up or too polluted to support life; drinking water would have to be created from desalinization plants on the coast. In the future these children predicted, universities and colleges would be closed because everyone would learn — alone — through their personal computers.
As the children spoke, I sat with tears rolling down my cheeks. Had I really just heard what they’d said? Had the appreciative and encouraging municipal council heard the same thing? Why would child... Read more