Humans make me hopeful because of our immense capacity to cooperate.
I'm optimistic for the future because mechanisms of cooperation are becoming better. From tools to instantly translate languages to platforms that allow us to share information globally.
It's arguable that some of these tools are disrupting cooperation, however I believe more often than not they are being used to enhance it. These cooperative moments often get less attention than their disruptive counterparts, but they occur everyday and especially when we've needed it most.
A few examples of remarkable moments of cooperation that are worth reflection.
The Covid-19 vaccines
The speed at which these were created, using technology and data, which required cooperation on a global scale is remarkable. Two great articles which explore the depth of cooperation are on the Guardian and Nature.
To go from the discovery of a deadly new virus to the creation of a tested vaccine that can block its effects in less than a year is unprecedented in scientific history.
The healing of the Ozone layer
Did you know in 2019, the UNEP announced that the world was on track to have completely healed it's Ozone layer? This amazing result is with thanks to the Montreal Protocol and the cooperation undertaken by all the parties involved.
The Montreal Protocol is, to date, the only UN treaty to be adopted by all Member States, with all parties sharing responsibilities relating to phasing out ozone-depleting substances, controlled trade of such substances, annual data reporting and other matters.
The Apollo program and the Moon landings
The level of cooperation required across domains, teams and competing constraints to achieve the missions make for fantastic reading, some of which is covered in the Apollo Experience.
It may turn out that [the space program’s] most valuable spin-off of all will be human rather than technological: better knowledge of how to plan, coordinate, and monitor the multitudinous and varied activities of the organizations required to accomplish great social undertakings.
Overall, moments like these make me hopeful for our shared future, because we can do remarkable feats of cooperation.
Additional writing that you may like to explore along this line of thinking include Longtermism, people’s capacity for cooperation, the silence of risk management theory, I Choose Optimism and how we fixed the ozone layer.
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