Thinking 12 Years Ahead and 12 Years Back.

by Franke James

Today, I got a message from Seth Godin asking me to think about 2030…

“Twelve years from now, your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for an asset you began to build, a habit you formed, a seed you planted.”

Funny thing is, twelve years ago, I asked myself about 2020…
In 2007, I penned a visual letter to my future grandkids in 2020

I imagined that the next generation would be angry that we did not take action on climate when we had the chance…

Sadly, my image of angry youth in 2020 is happening now in 2018.

But they aren’t just cursing us and stamping their feet. They are going to court. In the USA, the Supreme Court has just given a green light to a lawsuit by youth against the Trump Administration.

“The lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, was filed in 2015, accusing the government of violating the young plaintiffs’ constitutional rights by failing to address climate change and continuing to subsidize fossil fuels.

If the youth succeed at trial, the case could result in a court order requiring the federal government to develop and implement a plan to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

And it’s not just youth who are angry. CNN recently reported that “there have been over 1,000 climate change cases filed against governments, corporations and individuals in 24 countries.”

I’m glad they are protesting because, you have to wonder, what can one person do, when billions are frying the planet?

Franke James illustration from

So, back to my visual letter to my future grandkids, twelve years ago.

At that time, REUTERS reported:

2007 – “Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of forecast”

I drew this polar bear on an iceberg so that my future grandkids would understand what the news was saying back in 2007.

Today, I asked Dr. Michael E. Mann to comment on the 2007 predictions versus what has actually happened. He said this:
2018 - "Arctic sea ice extent is one of many key climate indices where the observed trends are worse than what climate models predicted just a decade ago" ~ Dr. Michael E. Mann, Director, Penn State Earth System Science Center

Aha! So my crystal ball — informed by international news and eminent climate scientists — worked very well back in 2007.

Hmmm… What are the climate scientists saying today in 2018?

In October 2018, the Guardian reported on the latest IPCC Report.

“World leaders have been told they have moral obligation to ramp up their action on the climate crisis in the wake of a new UN report that shows even half a degree of extra warming will affect hundreds of millions of people, decimate corals and intensify heat extremes.”

The IPCC warns that we only have twelve years to avoid climate change catastrophe.

Yikes! That would be 2030.

So, going back to Seth Godin’s timely prompt…

What am I doing today that could make the world better in 2030??

Well, I wrote a song about breaking up with gasoline and finding an electric flame. “Countries around the world are racing to phase out gasoline and diesel cars.” Some may ban gasoline vehicles by 2030!

Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame) is catching on…

“I can’t get your song out of my head. We have been passing it around every chance we get, playing it at chapters meetings and gatherings. It’s brilliant!”
Raejean Fellows, President, Electric Auto Association

“This new video from @frankejames et al gets in your ears! (You’ll be glad to know it’s not actually me singing)” Bill McKibben, Founder

“This video looks phenomenal! Stanford needs to see this.”
Lauren McLaughlin, Director of Transportation Group, Students for Sustainable Stanford

“Check out this awesome music video!” Plug in America

“Please play this for your friends and family… Gasoline, Gasoline (The World’s Aflame)” Cara Clairman CEO, Plug N’ Drive

So twelve years from now, what will your future self thank you for doing today?


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