Having Trouble Imagining What a Business as Usual Future Will Look Like?


I heard about the TV show Extrapolations while listening to a Michael Moore podcast. The podcast itself was about Republican presidents committing treasonous acts. It was excellent and as usual, after listening to Michael Moore, I felt recharged, my Active Hope tank was full. At the end of the show he spoke about some TV shows he had started watching and recommended. Extrapolations was on the list.

It is ironic that one of his sponsors is Rocket, which helps folks get rid of unwanted subscriptions, because I had to sign up for Apple TV Plus so I can watch the show. I’ll need to cancel when I’m done.

As Moore mentions, Extrapolations isn’t the catchiest title and folks might not be interested based on that alone. The show is set in the near future, starting in 2037. As Moore says, “It’s not what I would do, but that’s okay.” At least someone is telling a story that extrapolates, extends the application to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue, into the future. It is extrapolating what our future will look like if we continue with business as usual.

The official summary is:

Extrapolations is a bracing drama from writer, director and executive producer Scott Z. Burns that introduces a near future where the chaotic effects of climate change have become embedded into our everyday lives. Eight interwoven stories about love, work, faith and family from across the globe will explore the intimate, life-altering choices that must be made when the planet is changing faster than the population. Every story is different, but the fight for our future is universal. And when the fate of humanity is up against a ticking clock, the battle between courage and complacency has never been more urgent. Are we brave enough to become the solution to our own undoing before it’s too late?

I wouldn’t have sought to present the story in the way they do either, but it is a good representation of what will happen if the people don’t take power away from corporations. It shows how trust that our institutions will lead us down the right path is misplaced. If we don’t change our systems to have true democracy and not the plutocracy we have right now, then life on earth will not get better. If we continue with a society that is ruled and controlled by people of great wealth or income, the interests of every day people will not be met.

I have only watched two episodes so far but several scenes in episode 1, brought to mind people I know. One is a scene where outside the window are wildfires and decay, but the “smart window” I’ll call it, can show other views and the character is able to cut out reality to practice her calming yoga.

There is a son, Marshall, a bi-racial rabbi at odds with his business manager father. His father is still in full business as usual mode, still looking at the world around him as a potential business deal or at least as a source of his enjoyment. There is continued frustration on both sides with the father and son each aghast at the other’s point of view. The pain of the love and frustration they feel toward each other is palpable. I feel it too, the love, yet disconnect with friends and family. I, of course, side with Marshall, who states of his work in an Israeli neighborhood, “I get paid in more than money,” and quotes Elie Wiesel, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”

This reminds me of many people, many conversations — where others simply can’t comprehend the need to do good, the need for empathy and reciprocity and to take into account the natural world around us. They seem to easily gloss over the suffering in the world. Many older men I speak to are content to blame China’s large carbon footprint (I counter that they’re making the crap we overconsume) or population growth (I counter that the average American has a much larger carbon footprint one statistic said 17 times larger than the average African). These men latch on to an idea that says the problem is out of their control so they can continue to live life without change, ignoring the reality surrounding them.

My tennis buddy called me this morning to basically say, if I can play tennis and listen to whatever chatter folks have to say, talking about their nice steak dinner or their European vacation or how everything is going to shit so we might as well just live it up, if I can play and not say anything about the crisis we are living in or make them feel bad in any way, then others would be more willing to have me come play with them.

He says that they’re there to play tennis and relax and not think about problems. I counter that based on their conversation, they aren’t thinking about the world’s problems at all. God forbid I mention the IPCC summary report and António Guterres’ statement, “This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.” I might hamper their fun, cause them some distress.

My answer was no, I can’t promise that I’ll stay silent while I suffer as they talk about unseasonably warm weather or gush over a new cookie bakery in town. Idle chatter frustrates and annoys me. I try to be congenial and enjoy some sport. I don’t even play with them very often any more. But I’ll try again and as subtly as possible, suggest that they watch Extrapolations.

Then I’ll go play tennis with a new friend I made through the Time Bank and talk freely about making the world a better place. The world I see in Extrapolations is one I keenly want to avoid.

This post was previously published on ILLUMINATION.


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The post Having Trouble Imagining What a Business as Usual Future Will Look Like? appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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