MindBullets is a part of the global FutureWorld Network, constantly sensitive to changes in the technological, economic, social, political and business landscape. The MindBullets Contributors scan this rapidly changing environment for clues about possible future trends. The results of this synthesis are combined by our contributors into an on-going series of MindBullets: News from the Future - with a summary emailed to you every Thursday and the complete MindBullets data base available online to explore each scenario in more detail. Exciting scenarios of alternative futures based on breakthrough thinking today. A powerful tool to help you learn from the future - a new MindBullet every week!

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Filtered by tag: Environment

GLOBAL POPULATION BOOM GOES BUST

Published on: 9 May 2019

Our planet will be a lot emptier than we first expected

Dateline: 18 June 2024

It's always been hard to question the status quo, whether it's speaking out against Apartheid or tackling climate change. Very few people take on the UN over one of the most widespread assumptions in society. But thank goodness someone did. In 2019 the weak signals were there for those who wanted to see. Whereas the UN projected 9 billion people in 2050 and 11 billion by 2100, a select group of scientists and demographers modelled a different future; one in which the global population stabilizes ...

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DEAD BATTERIES WORSE THAN NUCLEAR WASTE

Published on: 2 May 2019 2 Comments

China is drowning in unusable electric car batteries

Dateline: 3 May 2024

They say that the only real problem with nuclear power is taking care of the depleted fuel rods, often called nuclear waste, for hundreds of years after they've ceased to function. Sure, a small percentage can be 'reprocessed' into new types of nuclear fuel, but costs are so punitive, most power stations simply store the used fuel on site. Now we're running into a similar problem with electric cars, but on an exponential scale. New energy vehicles, or NEVs, have been a runaway success, in the US, ...

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HYDROGEN ECONOMY EXPLODES

Published on: 4 April 2019

Cheap solar powers the next energy revolution

Dateline: 5 April 2036

Now that solar power has become so ubiquitous and abundant that it's almost free, energy companies are turning to the most efficient and harmless way of storing excess electricity for later use - hydrogen. It's over 30 years since Jeremy Rifkin predicted the hydrogen economy, but it's finally in full swing. The beauty of hydrogen is that it's easily manufactured from water if you have lots of spare power, can be stored and transported, burnt as ultra-clean fuel, or simply converted back into ...

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THERE'S A NEW FOREST IN TOWN

Published on: 3 January 2019 1 Comment

Printed bio solar cells are greening the city

Dateline: 3 January 2028

We've had vertical gardens and basement farms for some time now, in our cities, but now landscaping has taken on a whole new dimension. With 3D printers and bio-engineered shrubs and trees, terraced gardens and leafy lanes can be laid out by the robots, straight from the architect's designs. What's more, genetically altered algae are used to construct bio solar cells that form part of the leaf structure, harvesting solar power from panels that look and act like, well, leaves - nature's very own ...

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SPOTTING THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

Published on: 20 December 2018

Quantum sensing sees the invisible

Dateline: 18 December 2021

The Butterfly Effect theorizes that the beating of the wings of a single butterfly in Japan could cause a hurricane in Hawaii. What it really means, is that everything in nature and the world is connected on some level, however insignificant it may seem. And the greatest connection is at the molecular level, beyond the nanoscale. Much like the way smart systems can detect someone moving in the next room, by analyzing faint disturbances in the background WiFi signals, we can now 'see' into opaque ...

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ELECTRIC FEAST FROM THE EAST

Published on: 1 November 2018

China exports latest technology for organic food

Dateline: 9 January 2023

In dramatic style, China has surged ahead with the production of organic fruit and vegetables at affordable prices. Since the breakthrough achieved five years ago, China's 'ion farmers' have grown exponentially - and it's all thanks to electricity! If it sounds like science fiction, you're excused, but in fact electromagnetic pulses are beating pests and accelerating plant growth in millions of greenhouses across the country. Facing the daunting task of feeding a burgeoning population with ...

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CRUISING THE CROWDED SKIES

Published on: 18 October 2018 1 Comment

Everybody who's anybody is a frequent flyer

Dateline: 20 March 2038

In the last couple of decades, air traffic has rocketed. Annual air passenger numbers have shot up from less than 8 billion in 2018 to over 20 billion today. That's almost three times the world population, every year! Bearing in mind that hardly any flights exceed 24 hours, that means that, on average, 60 million people are boarding flights, somewhere, every day. And that doesn't include drone taxis and private planes. The only way major air terminals can cope with the hordes is increased reliance ...

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UN REJECTS MARKET MECHANISM

Published on: 27 September 2018

Favours increasing state intervention to realize development goals

Dateline: 15 March 2020

"Existing economic theories are incapable of meeting the needs of the future, and we need an economic transition, away from neoclassical economics and market capitalism," said the latest Sustainable Development report. In other words, capitalism and free markets are not good enough to guarantee prosperity for the people of the world. According to the UN. This position is bound to stir up heated debate from all quarters. No one can argue with the fact that democratic market economies and global trade ...

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CHINESE MILLENNIALS OVERRUN THE WORLD

Published on: 10 May 2018

Tourism is the new addiction for affluent young Chinese

Dateline: 5 June 2025

In just over two decades China has grown from small fry in travel terms to the world's biggest outbound market, leapfrogging and outpacing the United States. "May you live in interesting times!" is an ancient Chinese curse, a bit like a reverse compliment. Now it should be "May you be visited by many Chillennials!" It's a double-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse. Chinese millennials, as a segment or cohort, have more spending power than their American or European counter-parts; partly due to ...

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INNOVATION IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

Published on: 22 March 2018 1 Comment

It's about working on a really great problem

Dateline: 5 April 2023

You might have a great idea, and be obsessed with it, to the extent that you can't sleep, can barely eat, and all your conscious hours are spent on thinking how you can improve on this idea, and share it with the world. Stop. This is not how innovation, truly great, disruptive innovation, works. It's all very well to be obsessed; but be obsessed with a problem, a real problem. Like how to feed the world, or solve water scarcity, or make a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon, and costs 1,000 ...

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THE GARDEN OF REASON (OR IS IT TREASON?)

Published on: 15 February 2018 2 Comments

Urban farming is here to stay, and that's a good thing, isn't it?

Dateline: 1 March 2021

For some time now, various cities have been experimenting with vertical farming, rooftop farming, and even basement farming with LED lighting. Now it's maturing into a fully-fledged industry, just like fish farming. Farming without land, or even soil, sounds like a contradiction in terms, but hydroponics is not a new idea - it's just become more profitable. Being physically close to the consumers is the ultimate competitive advantage. Beyond the need for land, traditional farming has to contend ...

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USING GRAVITY TO SEE BLACK HOLES

Published on: 18 January 2018

New attempt to observe the unobservable

Dateline: 2 February 2022

For decades scientists have speculated about the nature of black holes, but their existence has never been proven - yet. The theory says supermassive stars that have collapsed on themselves exert such powerful gravitational force, that even light can't escape; hence the name 'black holes'. We know that light and other forms of electromagnetic waves like radio and X-rays travel at constant speeds, depending in their wavelength. But what travels faster than light? Perhaps gravitational waves. Gravity ...

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WHO TURNED OFF THE NIGHT?

Published on: 4 January 2018

Greenpeace calls for light curfew to bring back the dark

Dateline: 9 January 2023

What happened to those lovely dark nights, when all the stars came out? They're gone, along with hurricane lamps and black outs. Now that LED lighting has conquered the world, seen from space our planet is a bright, glittering jewel at night. Even darkest Africa is filled with a billion points of light, and more's the pity. It's unnatural and astronomers hate it. The obsession with climate change has waned, and activists are focusing heavily on pollution, especially light pollution. They want ...

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IT'S GOING TO BE A COLD, DARK CHRISTMAS

Published on: 14 December 2017 4 Comments

Climate change reversal catches almost everyone by surprise

Dateline: 21 December 2025

It's almost a decade since those 'hottest years on record' culminating with the 2016 El Nino. But no-one expected it to cool down this rapidly. In 2017, Parisians and other rich communities were still throwing money at the problem of 'global warming', convinced that the modern warm period was spiralling upwards. That was the year it snowed in Mexico and blizzards shut down major EU airports. On top of that, we all thought we'd reached peak electricity, and consumer power consumption would decline ...

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FARMING THE HIGH SEAS WITH ROBOTS

Published on: 16 November 2017

That's no tasty tuna, it's Robofish

Dateline: 12 September 2027

When is a robofish actually a cowboy or a sheepdog? When it looks after your fish, farmed in the open sea. Fishing as a food source has long been big business, but wild stocks have been severely over exploited in some areas, and fish farming has become a viable alternative. But farming fish in sheltered estuaries and bays offers limited scope for improving global food security. The best place for serious fish farming is the open sea, in deep water, but the infrastructure costs were considered ...

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THE STREETS HAVE NO NAMES

Published on: 19 October 2017 1 Comment

In today’s modern cityscape, there are no streets or cars

Dateline: 19 October 2028

We live in a strange new world. Odourless aftershave. Wheat-free bread. Virtual assistants. Pointless pastries, devoid of sugar, made with boosted broccoli from basement farms, yet deliciously popular. And cities without streets. China's latest planned urban extravaganza, a megalopolis known as Yuyuan or 'Harmony Garden', isn't built around roads and streets. The walkways and thoroughfares linking the multiuse 3D-printed buildings can accommodate pedestrians, ebikes and hoverboards. Jogging and ...

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CARIBBEAN DEPOPULATED AS FINAL HOLDOUTS LEAVE CUBA

Published on: 21 September 2017

Millions relocated to Latin America as superstorms wreak havoc

Dateline: 23 September 2023

Celia Estefan broke down and wept as she stepped onto the runway in Sucre, Bolivia. She is the last person evacuated from Cuba and marks the end of an appalling and heroic six-year migration of 44 million people from the Caribbean to new lives all across Latin America. "It is just in time," says Miriam Gomez of Mexico's National Hurricane Centre. "We've just upgraded Hurricane Franklin to Category 5, and we have Gert, Harvey and Irma right behind him. There is no way anyone will be able to live on ...

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ELECTRIC CAR GLUT THREATENS WORLD TRADE

Published on: 14 September 2017 5 Comments

China accused of dumping as prices plummet

Dateline: 5 March 2029

China's success as the biggest producer of cars - mainly electric cars - the world has ever seen, has led to a problem of massive over capacity. There are not enough adults in the world, with driving skills, to drive all the cars produced every year. Admittedly many of the latest vehicles are self-driving, but at the budget end of the scale, devoid of radar and software, basic cars are just dumb machines, even if they run on batteries rather than gasoline. The shift to autonomous cars has also ...

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RUNAWAY TOURISM THREATENS EUROPE

Published on: 17 August 2017 1 Comment

Local activists stirring up resistance to the invasion

Dateline: 11 August 2019

"It's worse than migration," says an Arran spokesperson, "they are destroying our neighbourhoods and culture!" Arran is the radical anti-tourist movement in Spain. In Barcelona, Rome and Venice, protest marches have turned violent, and travel advisories have been issued by British and American authorities. Tensions between hordes of foreign tourists and nationalist locals have been escalating for the past two years, and are now boiling over. Share bikes and Uber cars have had their tyres slashed, ...

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THE CARBON BUBBLE BURSTS

Published on: 20 July 2017 4 Comments

Stocks crash as executive orders bite

Dateline: 5 February 2021

US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make fossil fuels way too costly to produce and consume, forcing emissions lower and a massive swing to nuclear and renewable power. On top of that, the plummeting cost of solar has convinced many consumers, even those skeptical about global warming, to switch to a system of distributed power generation and consumption. These micro-grids and rooftop panels ...

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Filtered by tag: Environment