Let’s keep talking in the same way

How to Make the World More Beautiful, Green, and Powerful: Two Views from a Californian and a U.S. Perspective

The world gets a little hotter each time we spend mired in distrust. Raised under the threat of climate change, younger generations in both countries intuitively understand that we need new, transformative approaches; that yelling at each other solves nothing. Californians, plagued by wildfires, know that there are more immediate threats to their way of life than China. Shanghai’s people, living in a shallow river delta, could see their home washed away in a few decades. The resources that Beijing and Washington expend on an unwinnable geopolitical standoff could be far better used in our energy transition, or bringing better lives to people in the developing world.

But the sons and daughters of those builders are growing up in a very different world from their parents. They inherited the basic structure — of a nation that is rising once again, ready to make its mark on the world — but they will inevitably want to fill in how it looks and feels, and will challenge older mores in the process. In China there is discussion of how to make society more equitable, green, and scientific. China is undergoing a profound transition to a high-tech, highly educated, prosperous and powerful nation that its “builder generation” could only imagine.

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