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Invitation to Participate with Global Agenda Council - World Economic Forum
How do you expect and want to live in the year 2050? And how will energy support that vision?
by Chris Geary

I am currently 30 years old. I live in Hong Kong in a two bedroom 700sqft apartment with my wife and two dogs. I have lived in a city since 2004, so have not owned a car since then. I play rugby and hike so require open space to pursue my hobbies, while enjoy being able to access the sea. For business I run my own company, as I have since 22 years old for which regular travel is an important factor of developing business. To this end I fly approximately 150,000 miles per year, which I do in economy class unless offered a free upgrade by the airline. I am fortunate enough to be able to take four holidays per year during which my wife and I prefer to travel to rustic and rural countryside locations where we like to relax, dive and surf. We always fly to access our holiday destinations. My wife and I have an active social life, but not excessive. We cook fresh food at home regularly and do not eat junk or processed food. In Hong Kong, the vast majority of food ingredients are transported in. To obtain organic products, with guarantee of source and production standards, it is necessary to buy imported food in Hong Kong.

In 2050 I will be 68 years old. I envisage living outside a city in a detached house with my wife and at least two dogs. Being outside a city I will need private transport, either one or two cars, but only as is absolutely necessary. I will hope to have raised two children, both privately educated and with an undergraduate degree. I hope to still be able to hike and surf so will want to be able to access open space and the sea. I aspire to have retired from business before I am 68, although still envisage involvement in social ventures and charity for which I anticipate continued international travel. I would also like, still, to be able to travel for holidays four times a year, to see first-hand the way that the world continues to develop and change in person and be able to discover areas of natural beauty as yet un-encompassed by my own experiences. I want to be able to purchase fresh, preferably locally grown and where possible organic food ingredients.

I hope to continue to be able to live where I can freely express opinion with unencumbered means for communication with others. I hope to live under the rule of law without fear for the safety of myself, family, friends or fellow citizens.

I am not an energy expert. However, I am fully aware that almost everything that I want and do will require energy and therefore natural resources. From continued ability to do business, social ventures and charity, to travel, to heating or cooling houses, to food production, to the education of my children and the lifestyles and livelihoods of their children, energy and the consumption of natural resources will be an inevitable lifelong side-effect of my existence. My concern is that I feel a large part of the commercial and business community pays lip service to sustainability. That it irresponsibly, and without appropriate consideration of the need to balance economic growth driven by consumption, promotes consumerism and romanticizes the bloated lifestyles of the most developed parts of the world. In terms of all forms of natural resources, it is known and openly discussed that we are already consuming beyond what can be naturally replenished. While technology will play a part in allowing us to reduce our levels of consumption, I think that a fundamental change in attitude from entitlement to responsibility, so that those of us that are over the limit consume more responsibly and allow others to increase, while at the same time mutually understanding that not all cultures have the same energy demands at the most fundamental levels. The sooner we can develop technology and exercise responsibility the better.

I question whether there is enough age representation around the key decision making tables. I question whether the hardest, but perhaps greatest initiatives can realistically be expected to be pursued in respect of Energy agendas for 2050, when representatives are already too old in the current day to bear any accountability apart from in the short term for results of their decisions. The later we leave it, the greater risk there will be of conflict should protectionism and competition for resources become a persuasive option on the table due to desperation.

Christopher Geary is the Chief Operating Officer of the Asianet Group. He is also the Curator of the Hong Kong Global Shapers Hub, the founder of the Fargo Foundation and the founder of the Hong Kong Treasure Hunt.

 

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