In 2020, I am at home, living in a small town not too close or too far from a large urban metro region. It is good to be close to nature, but also close to people and all that civilization offers.
My house is super insulated, using mostly geothermal energy to heat it in the winter, and cool it in the summer, and to warm water all year long. We are using electricity for the remainder of our power needs. We have solar electric panels on the roof and a small windmill to generate some electricity which mostly feeds into the grid when we are not using it. We don't need as much electricity as we did 10 years ago thanks to efforts across the board to make everything more efficient, from lights to computers, from refrigerators to heat exchangers.
We grow a small amount of food in our backyard garden, mostly pole beans, which fertilize the ground, zucchinis, which cover the ground to keep the weeds down, and tomatoes, which are best when fresh. When in season, we produce enough to trade with neighbors and save for later. More of our friends are also growing their own food, and a few do it on a larger scale. The care people used to put into their lawn is now mostly directed at their gardens. We rarely eat any meat, and don't really miss it. Food is still imported from the larger farms and remote climates that grow crops we cannot grow in our area, but this is becoming increasingly expensive, so the pressure is on to find substitutes nearby. We hear more stories about food and water shortages around the world, and wonder why people were not thinking about the possibility and planning ahead of time. Fortunately, most of the people in our community have been able to live comfortably despite the huge overall changes.
My work is on the internet, so I have no commuting. Many more people have moved onto the internet in recent years because it makes sense to do so to save energy, and also to interconnect with many more people. There was a big increase in telecommuting efforts after the influenza outbreak of 2015 when everyone had to stay home because they were either sick or trying to avoid getting sick. But then it finally dawned on everyone that there was not much point in spending all the energy to meet face-to-face when we could see each other face-to-face just as well online. It's about time because gas prices were getting so high and we can't convert all our cars over to electric fast enough, and the effects of global warming were finally clear enough to just about everyone.
So all in all, I feel very fortunate. My work, by the way, is focused on helping those less fortunate around the world who are mostly victims of the short-sighted exploitation of their resources by the so-called "developed" world, namely us. We got a very loud wakeup call a few years ago when the starving people of Africa united in an outcry of protest, and took back control of their land and their enormous resources. It wasn't obvious at first what that was going to mean for us, but the shock waves sent through all sectors of the economy resulted in a meltdown of infrastructure support for many of the largest urban areas, including most recently Tokyo.