Most of us just want to “do the right thing” for ourselves, our friends, and our families, but what

is this “right thing”?

First, we must educate ourselves—knowledge is power—about where our world is headed,

so that we have a realistic view of the challenges facing the world in the next few years and the

following decades.

Hands, World, Map, Global, Earth, Globe, Blue, Creative


This chapter will give you a summary of world trends to help you realistically

design a course for your own future. It will also help you to recognize signs of imminent world altering

shifts in climate, environment, and/or economics, so you can react quickly and


Second, we can do our best to be proactively prepared for life on a changing planet as the

business, social, and ecological climates of our world become increasingly unstable.



The rapidly escalating prices of gas and oil, which we saw in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and again in

2007, were simply a preview of an endless stream of price escalations that are ramping up now

that the world’s oil production approaches, and has possibly already passed, its peak (“Peak Oil”)

and is starting its natural and inevitable decline. Unless our scientists are able to develop a new

“miracle” as-yet-undiscovered technology to bail us out (as an MIT engineer, I would not bet on

it), our society will soon grapple with an accelerating pace of global climate changes combined

with an unending energy crisis.