49 / For F*ture’s Sake!

What does it take to be a good ancestor?

Hi there! I’m excited. From now on, 1-2-3 Tech Miscellany will be called For F*ture’s Sake! I owe it to my children’s children. Here's why…

Reading time: 3 minutes

Part 1 - Essay

For F*ture’s Sake!

I imagine; up until this point, everyone who’s ever lived made an unspoken deal with each other. A kind of nudge nudge, wink wink, say nothing sort of understanding. That we inherit the circumstances of our parents and improve upon them for the next generation.

You know how it goes: Granny lived in a mud hut tilling spuds on the side of a boggy mountain. Mother got a secretarial job and raised a family in a council house. Then little Mary grew up to become a rocket scientist and bought a massive pile at the top of the hill.

Sadly, I feel this faith we take for granted — that tomorrow will be better than yesterday — is simply not a runner at the moment.

The Long And Short Of It

We live in an age of what Roman Krznaric calls “pathological short-termism.” We fail to look beyond the next political term, quarterly report or tweet. Our pursuit of incessant growth and culture of instant gratification are having catastrophic consequences on our planet. Put simply, we’re not being responsible stewards for future generations. 

And if we, as a species, are to continue to thrive, we urgently need to think about what we bequeath, not just to our children or grandchildren, but the billions who will be born hundreds of years from now.

Indigenous cultures have been doing this for aeons. They’ve always been long-term thinkers. So at least we know the human brain has the capacity for it. We’re just rubbish at it — for now.

Taking inspiration from the seventh-generation decision making of those indigenous communities — we too must ask: Are we being good ancestors? 

And now couldn’t be a better time to start.

Disaster Spawn

Disaster spawns opportunity. With deadly pandemics, apocalyptic forest fires, and fierce locust swarms, mother nature is showing us we are not the aura and the wonder and the fulcrum upon which the universe spins.  The world is kicking back. It’s no longer a passive recipient of human agency.

Yes this is shocking and scary, but it's also emancipatory and hopeful.

Because it spells an opportunity — a chance to change. And history has shown, great change follows great disasters.

New Visions

We just need a better vision.

Too often, visions of a sustainable future — be they from environmentalists, scientists or writers etc — are ones of sacrifice. We hear endless talk about frustrations, doubts, and complaints, but none of these inspire or mobilise.

And that’s what I hope to do here — for myself at least. Because I know I’m not behaving as a good ancestor, and I desperately want to try.

I’d like to develop a vision of what Brian Eno calls “a longer sense of now” — of seeking a better way to be — both personally and communally.

I look at my kids. So happy, so care-free, so incredibly lucky; and mostly by virtue of fortune. They happened to be born into a successful and peaceful country, where opportunities abound.

And therein lies the paradox. Because I also get the feeling I’m failing them. I’m not sure, despite my best intentions, that when their turn comes to leave the nest, I’ll be able to pass a brighter, shinier torch onto them. 

Unlike what our ancestors did for us.

They left us an immense legacy. They built our cities, made life-changing scientific discoveries and won key human rights' battles. And we thank them for it. But I wonder, what will our kids, our grandkids and future generations thank us for if we keep going as we are?


We’re living under spell, and we must conjure up a new one. We need new ways to see, feel and be. 

For F*ture’s Sake! is an incantation — an experiment in radical disruption on the way we think and the way we are. I believe we need to upend everything. And I’m starting right here, right now.


Part 2 - Leaving a legacy


If the cement industry was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of CO2 in the world. Last month, the world’s largest cement maker, LafargeHolcim, committed to reaching net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Fast enough? Probably not, but it’s still a first for a global building materials company. No doubt their partners, the WWF and UN, will want concrete evidence the company are sticking to their pledge.

Cookie Crumble?

The New York Times is no longer using cookies to track and target its readers with ads. Cookies are useful for some stuff — like retaining what’s in your shopping cart — but it starts to get creepy when companies use them to track you, or sell your data. And this happens ALOT! Here’s hoping this is the start of a new trend.


Part 3 - Random Bits

  1. If we all sent one less thank you email a day, 16 tonnes less CO2 would be omitted per year. Source.

  2. Who’s a good crab? Yes you are, yes you are. Source.

  3. Ireland is a basketcase.

    We’re back under strict lockdown. This means I can’t go beyond 5km, even for an outdoor coffee with a friend. Not to worry; I’ve taken up cruel bloodsports as a hobby. Now I can travel the length and breath of the country, with hundred's of other gobshites — for a packed calender of barbaric hare coursing. And they sell coffee too!

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    Thanks for reading and stay safe — Scott.

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