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  • Writer's pictureKrista Kurth, Ph.D.

An Earth Day 2040 Climate Vision for a Healthy Planet

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Join me in creating a vision and action plan to turn the climate crisis around.

Photo by Craig Pattenaude on Unsplash

It’s earth month again; a perfect time to focus on honoring the earth (although any day of the year is a good time to do this). Each year for the past few years, I’ve written a post for Earth Day, like this one on showing our love for the world, and this guided meditation on connecting with your love for the earth. This year, inspired by the 2019 documentary film 2040 by Damon Gameau, I invite you to join me in envisioning the world we want to create by 2040.

For those of you who may not be as familiar with visioning, it involves imagining a specific, present-tense, and meaningful picture of the future that we want to be true. We then use this positive vision to guide and focus our action and overcome roadblocks. When we hold on to a powerful vision, we boost our chances of turning it into a reality. This is what Gameau did in his film — he imagined what the world could look like in 2040, if we started right now, implementing the climate solutions that already exist. But, instead of calling it visioning, he calls it “an exercise in fact-based dreaming” that looks at the real possibility that we can reverse global warming and improve the lives of all beings.

I don’t have the time nor skill to create a film, so I thought I would write headlines, like Project Drawdown did in a Facebook 4/8/23 post, representing my “fact-based dreaming” vision of where I’d like the world to be in 2040. I used 2040s, Drawdown’s, and Regeneration’s solutions to guide me.

A Vision in 2040 Headlines

  1. Paris Climate Goal Met and Surpassed 10 Years Early

  2. The World Comes Together to Support the Global South Address Climate Change

  3. Fossil Fuels are History! Full Transition to Renewable Energy Almost Complete Around the World.

  4. Small Decentralized Solar Grid Networks Light Up the Global South

  5. A Look Back on How Major Banks Stopped Funding Fossil Fuel Projects 15 Years Ago

  6. No More Gas-Powered Cars: Last Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle Leaves the Lot

  7. Deforestation Halted: Boreal Forest and Rainforests Thriving and Expanding

  8. Soils Revived by Adoption of Regenerative Agriculture and Agroforestry Worldwide

  9. Plastic Pollution Halted by Reduced Use and Switch to Biodegradables

  10. Biodiversity Loss Reverses Course, All Species Off the Endangered Lists

  11. Economy Thrives with Considerate Consumption and Circularity

  12. Coral Reefs and Fisheries Flourishing Due to Reduced Ocean Acidification and Marine Permaculture

  13. Worldwide Mangrove Forests Rebuilt, Covering Historically Large Areas

  14. World’s Largest Cities All Net-Zero

  15. Electric Ships and Planes Take Off

  16. Waste Not, Want Not — Globe Gets to Zero Food Waste

  17. Green Buildings Everywhere as First Skyscraper Made of Zero-Emission Cement Turns Ten

  18. 40% of Earth’s Land and Oceans Now in Protected Areas

  19. As Nature Thrives, Health and Well-Being of Worldwide Population Improves Significantly

  20. Equitable Drawdown Achieved: GHGs in Steady, Rapid Decline While Global South and Island Nations Breath Sigh of Relief.

I could go on but will stop here at 20, and ask you, “What climate progress headlines do you imagine being in the media in 2040?

While we don’t know what will happen in the next 17 years, it is important that we contribute what we can to creating the world we want to see. As Patricia Campbell Carlson, author at Grateful Living, says, “We don’t know what life will bring, so it is what we bring to life that matters.”

For more inspiration for your personal 2040 Climate vision, watch the 2040 trailer and/or the film. Also check out the list of solutions provided by Drawdown and Regeneration. Once you have clarity on your own vision, I invite you to create an action plan, one that fits your interests and resources and will help make your vision a reality.

Since we all impact the world every day, let’s make that impact intentional. As you think about your action plan, I encourage you to remember your love for the earth and how the earth loves and supports you in return. As Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, said, “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.

Photo by Peter Fogden on Unsplash

Resources for Creating a Climate Action Plan

Damon Gameau offers two resources for creating a climate action plan:

  1. 2040: A Handbook for the Regeneration: Based on the Documentary 2040. His handbook offers ways we can take small steps to make a difference.

  2. Create your action plan tool. The tool helps you create a plan by asking you questions based on your interests in solutions explored in the film. Once answered, it provides a list of recommended actions to help you get going. Note: if you are an educator, he also offers tools for working students on climate change.

Two other organizations also offer resources for acting:

  1. The Regeneration website offers a Punch List tool that individuals, families, communities, companies, and/or cities can use to identify which actions they want to take by when.

  2. The Carbon Crew Project, drawing on Regeneration and 2040, created a way for people to join groups (or CREWs — Carbon Reduction for Earth Wellbeing) that support them in developing and implementing personal climate action plans. You can attend an introductory CREW session by signing up here.

For me, when 2040 rolls around, I’ll be in my 80s and thinking about my final years. I don’t know about you, but I want the legacy I leave my grandchildren and their peers to be one of promise. That is why I am doing everything I can between now and 2040 to make this positive vision of the world a reality. I invite you to join me. Together, we are powerful.



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