Through my climbing, spending so much time outdoors, and generally traveling the world, I’ve seen so much physical environmental change with my own eyes. I’ve been to Patagonia a few seasons in a row, and I’ve seen those glaciers retreat each year. And in Europe, glaciers that used to come all the way down to a town now stop halfway up the mountain.
So it might be surprising for me to admit that as far as the future is concerned, I think it’s looking pretty rosy for humans in general. Rates of violence are generally going down, poverty is going down—the human experience is generally getting safer, more comfortable and easier.
I know this optimism might sound misplaced, but would you rather live now or in the 1940s? Now or in the 1920s? The 1800s? 1600s? By almost every measure, life is better and safer and more comfortable now, for more people globally, than it ever has been.
The issue is that all this progress is happening at the expense of our environment. That’s what we need to fix right now. We need to address that balance.