The impossible future of all animals

Published February 20, 2021, 10:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

THE COWS OF US If a cow shares the horrors of being dinner, would you empathize

By Cacai Buenviaje

Illustations by Ariana Maralit

In the year 2030, an inventor created a device that enabled cow language to be automatically translated to human speech. The invention quickly gained global attention from the media and became the most talked about in popular culture, so much so that a documentary and a reality show featuring cows were aired on TV.

Because cows were simple, funny, and smart, more people began to see them as individuals, prompting many of them to stop consuming them for food. But it was only until later, when an insider publicly leaked a speech from a survivor cow, that more people began to pay attention.

People were reduced to tears. They sympathized and felt guilty for having consumed burgers, milk, and steaks.

It’s now 2050. Animal liberation has been achieved. It was not a smooth-sailing journey, but instead of taking hundreds of years, the straightforward yet groundbreaking invention from 20 years ago helped to fasttrack progress.

Impossible future

This is the story that Shiela R. Castillo, Futures learning advisor of Center for Engaged Foresight, shared with me when I asked her what an “impossible future” for animals looked like. “Since I started working on Futures, I looked at the word impossible as a relative, rather than an absolute, term. A thing is impossible [only if it is] based on a certain reference point. Things that were thought impossible in the past are now possible, even normal, in the present.”

Shiela approaches issues with a concept called Futures Thinking. But what exactly does it mean? How is it different from just simply making predictions? Will it truly help advance the life of animals?

In this conversation, Castillo allowed a more in-depth look at the concept.

What is Futures Thinking?

Futures Thinking is about imagining, creating, and acting for the future to transform today. Whoever you are, [may you be] a student, parent, public servant, or CEO, you have to develop your creativity and anticipatory capacity to be able to move ahead in this fast-paced world.

How will Futures Thinking benefit animals?

The great thing about the future is that it’s not here yet. It is a completely open field and we have the agency to imagine and create it. We can shape it the way we want to. But to do that, we have to make decisions today.

ANIMAL CENTRICITY Futures Thinking envisions a world where humans take high regard of animals

Alvin Toffler said that in dealing with the future, it is more important to be imaginative than to be right. Think of what you want to achieve and imagine how you would be able to achieve it, and then act on it. You will commit mistakes along the way. You might even fail. Remember that hindsight is always 20/20. But if you are not bold enough just because you are afraid to be wrong, then you are doomed to stagnancy.

Because cows were simple, funny, and smart, more people began to see them as individuals, prompting many of them to stop consuming them for food. But it was only until later, when an insider publicly leaked a speech from a survivor cow, that more people began to pay attention.

How can we make an “impossible future” for animals a possibility?

I read Napoleon Hill when I was a kid, even before I understood many of the words in his book. But something really stuck with me: He said whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve.

And so, we are faced now with what I think is the biggest barrier to animal liberation—lack of imagination. The only [reason] people say animal liberation is impossible is that people can’t imagine it.

Who needs to get involved?

In creating a future where all animals (including humans) live in harmony with each other, everybody needs to be involved. Governments, corporations, organizations, communities, and families all have a role to play. All of these are composed of individuals, so individual actions are as important as large-scale ones.

Individuals can start by going vegan and asking governments and businesses to make policies and system changes.

Cow Snuggles GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
 
CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP
 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

["panorama-specials","specials","specials"]
[2626715,2842922,2836134,2839399,2842183,2839193,2839107]