What if… Stories from the future

How to live intentionally and mindfully in 2050?


Publication date

November 9, 2022

This is a shared space: Everyone has a story, share with us how you imagine yours or your city’s in 2050. We can help you develop it. If you’ve simply read an interesting article, book, publication on the power of “what if…”, then please do share as well.

In the DARD DARD magazine, Hervé Chaygneaud-Dupuy, a French social innovation specialist and prospective thinker, writes about a world where we would use carbon quotas for more cohesion. Individual carbon quotas are distributed to everyone as fixed annual carbon points, an equal amount for all, and which frames everyone’s right to consume goods and services that cause greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve carbon neutrality, these quotas are reduced each year by 5 to 6 percent. To purchase something, people need to pay both by using euros and carbon points that are then withdrew from their carbon cards. These cards can be credited via the Carbon Cash Register who sells carbon quotas. The European Carbon Cash Register was set up to regulate the carbon market and impede rocketing prices, therefore carbon quota exchanges are done at fixed annual prices, established based on an annual debate on the carbon price.

At a neighbourhood meeting, after celebrating the fact that residents gave up on the last individual car in the district, inhabitants are discussing how to reduce further the carbon consumption of their neighbourhood. Carbon quotas are individual, but the municipality where they live supports collective efforts and mutual help among residents to attain carbon targets at the neighbourhood level, but without requiring external compensation. Here, employees benefit of engagement time which corresponds to one fifth of their working time that they can dedicate to community work; this being co-financed by the municipality and their own enterprises’ social responsibility fund. Residents can, for instance, dedicate this time to animate neighbourhood meetings focusing on how to improve carbon reductions even further, to set up innovative projects such as huge renovation waves, instead of individual renovations to optimise costs and emissions, to develop further the neighbourhood canteen that currently provides collective meals to residents twice a week to optimise the energy use that would be higher if they all cooked individually.

Unfortunately, there is of course also fraud and carbon points traffic, while people with modest revenues are not turning on the heating to have some savings and rich are keeping their carbon quota consumption high by buying credits from the poorer. However, though the system has its limits, carbon emissions have considerably lowered since it is in place as the 5-6 % annual carbon quota reduction requires changes in everyone’s lifestyles, leading to less stress and eco anxiety overall.

How about you? Does this world seem to be a fair one? How would you use your individual engagement time? Tell us about it or about another story from 2050 and we’ll publish it in the next newsletter.