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with restorative justice and more funding going into sup­porting poorer communities than goes into policing them.

We now have a Universal Basic Income, and people seem to be much less stressed and anxious, and mental health has improved hugely across society.

The UK’s leadership inspired other governments around the world to be much more ambitious on climate change, and global CO2 output has now fallen substantially for the last five years. This decline is accelerating, while all the indicators for wellbeing and happiness continue to rise.

All those beautiful but burnt out, exhausted and stressed activists who gave so much in the early 2020s finally got to take a rest because the fundamental direction of travel has changed and because, guess what, it turned out that they were right!

In 2030, we walk down streets filled with music, carnival, conversation, kids playing, food growing, bees buzzing. It is hard for me to express just how beautiful it is. I get emotional just thinking about it.

In early 2025, the UK and many other nations made reparations for slavery and colonisation, and international debts were cancelled, loss and damage was paid, and we’ve seen a flourishing of democracy and the building of new low carbon economies … and the education of women, looking back from 2030, turned out to have been one of the most important things we did to address climate change.

It’s not Utopia, but the transformation has been incredible. It feels like such an honour to have been able to see it, and to be able to share it with you.

You might be wondering why we need to wear these Time Travellers suits in order to travel to 2030? It’s because one of the most noticeable things by 2030 is a fragile, but very real sense of “you know, we might just do this”. Call it hope, call it agency, call it possibility, call it what you like, but one of the golden rules of time travel is not to pollute this with our 2023 cynicism and despair, our “yeah, right, like that’s ever going to work” … so this is to protect hope, not ourselves.

It is my strong sense that it is not enough to just talk about extinction and collapse,

we also have to express something beautiful for people to run towards.

The UN recently published a report which said, “All chance of staying below 1.5 degrees is now over unless we see what they called a rapid transformation of society. Every headline, every news article, all ran with headlines like “1.5 degree is over.” None of them said, “Let’s have a rapid transformation of society.” Why is that?

Walidah Imarisha, in her book about the speculative fiction of Octavia Butler, wrote, “All organising is science fiction,” which I love so much. You all being here is a work of fiction, it’s such a powerful story.

So let’s make our story one that nurtures and kindles a deep, deep longing for the future, whether we have a time machine or not. Let every conversation we have about how terrified we are about the future include what we long for in the future, what we could still create: “I long to live in a city where the rivers are so clean that people swim to work” or “I long to live in a place where the birdsong drowns out the traffic.” In his novel Underworld, Don Delillo wrote, “Longing on a large scale is what makes history.”

I must go now, as I left the Time Machine on double yellow lines, and you know what it’s like in London, but I will leave you with a quote from the poet Rilke. He said, “The future must enter into you a long time before it happens.” That’s so beautiful. Let our work, our activism, our storytelling, allow the future to enter into us all.

Adapted from a talk given at Extinction Rebellion’s ‘ The Big One’, in London, April 2023.

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More from Rob Hopkins: ‘ The Art of Making the Impossible ... Possible’ (PM112) ‘Dare to Imagine a Better Future’ (PM105)

Rob Hopkins is a time traveller, the co-founder of the Transition Movement and the author of numerous books including From What If To What Is. He presents the podcast ‘From What If to What Next’ and you’ll find out more at: robhopkins.net www.permaculture.co.uk

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