The Year is 2043
Let’s start with one of the greatest achievements in the history of humankind: curbing climate change. We did it. We managed to halt its seemingly unstoppable path to destruction. Best of all, it was done by the people. Through individual action alone, food emissions are down by around 70 per cent. Our oceans are once again full of life, our rivers repopulated and unpolluted. Trees are back on previously bare hills, and wild animals have taken up residence in our countryside. We’ve re-engaged and reconnected with nature, and we are much happier for it. How’s our health? We’re in great shape – living longer, more active lives. Some of the biggest killers of yesteryear are fading out. Instances of heart disease, for example, are down by 40 per cent in the US, and we’ve taken huge strides towards beating many types of cancer. Type 2 diabetes has all-but disappeared and obesity, once described by the World Health Organization as one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century, is no longer a concern. Children are playing outside again, running through fields and down our streets, fit and well. The resulting savings in healthcare-related costs, between $700-$1,000bn per year globally, have lifted an enormous burden from the NHS, which is now able to function effectively for everyone. We also fundamentally overhauled our food system. The UK took the opportunity presented by Brexit to become a world leader in creating a sustainable food system that provided jobs, fed families and consigned food banks to the past. Other countries soon followed our lead. As part of this shake-up, fresher, healthier foods now enjoy government subsidies, making them more affordable and accessible for all. Good health is not determined by class, race, gender, financial status or any other factor. As a result, every single person on the planet now has enough food to eat. We are finally free from global hunger, which once affected over 800 million people, following the mass reallocation of existing crops and resources. We have also restored our soils to reclaim the crucial nutrients and minerals lost to modern intensive farming methods. The food we grow is more nutritious now than at any time post-industrialization. How was this new world achieved? By major technological breakthrough? Did science come along to solve all our problems? No. It was a change so simple you probably wouldn’t believe it. We just started substituting meat with plant-based alternatives. Meal by meal, day by day, we transitioned to plant-based living. By doing so, we put an end to arguably one of the greatest crimes of our time: the abuse and exploitation of animals. We no longer subject billions of farmed animals to immense physical and emotional pain and suffering. We now look back at eating animals as abhorrent in much the same way that we viewed slavery in the early 1900s. We ask ourselves just how could we have done this? Why didn’t we stop it earlier? As demand for meat and dairy decreased, the populations of farmed animals came tumbling down. Those we have now spend their days in sanctuaries, or are welcomed into our homes to live side by side with cats and dogs, positively thriving. We treat all animals equally now, regardless of species.