While paging by way of The Salt Lake Tribune not too long ago, I used to be transported to a convention in Boston I attended manner again within the Reagan years. The keynote speaker was a futurist, self-described. Dapper and witty, he was no gazer of crystal balls or reader of tea leaves. He was, he mentioned, a scholar of the megatrend.
Once recognized and analyzed, megatrends might be predictive. The speaker defined how his firm relied on newspapers to map the longer term. A workforce of analysts monitored their pages, documenting the ebb and move of topics being reported world wide. Because the information gap—i.e., the house between the adverts—was finite, tales needed to compete in a zero-sum enterprise. No room was obtainable to upstart topics with out retiring some threadbare ones. If a sure topic grew to become extensively reported—exhibiting up with rising frequency within the information gap month by month—evaluation may disclose an incipient megatrend.
What triggered my reminiscence of the Boston futurist was a whole web page of tales about veganism within the Tribune. And not too many days handed earlier than veganism cropped up once more. Then once more. I learn a narrative about Vegan Fridays in New York’s public colleges. I lingered over the vegan chocolate bars at Caputo’s Deli, took notice of the plant-based sausage in Emigration Market’s freezer and examine Salt Lake City’s vegan bakery, City Cakes.
But it was the show of vegan backpacking meals at REI that launched one other time warp. I used to be all of a sudden again to my years as a soldier when Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) had been changing C-rations because the meal du jour in foxholes. MREs had been a welcome enchancment, however by the tip of the Gulf War, troopers had been referring to them as Meals Rejected by Everyone.
The prospect of consuming C-rations may cow a vegan, a foodie or an incorrigible baby. Each C-ration meal comprised 4 or 5 small cans of Spam-inspired meals. Although P-38 can openers dangled from everybody’s dog-tag chains, most of the cans had been discarded unopened.
I routinely ditched the gelatinous Scrambled Eggs and Chopped Ham. Nobody ate the Lima Beans and Ham. “Beanie Weenie”—aka Beans with Frankfurter Chunks in Tomato Sauce—was extra welcome fare. Cans of fruit, crackers, jam, bread, cheese unfold and peanut butter had been widespread sufficient to have buying and selling worth. A can of sliced peaches accompanied by a can of cookies had the standing of two pairs in a draw poker recreation.
Each meal included an adjunct package deal. In it had been a plastic spoon, immediate espresso, creamer, sugar, salt, pepper, Chicklets gum, matches, bathroom paper and cigarettes, often a four-pack of Lucky Strikes or Chesterfields. Like the tinned meals, the unfiltered cigarettes weren’t interesting, however we smoked them anyway.
Heat redeemed the tasteless, congealed meals considerably. The cans might be warmed on the engine of a truck, by burning Sterno or by lighting a dollop of C-4 plastic explosive. If you wanted to warmth water, you used your canteen cup. It was additionally an alchemical vessel by which mixtures of canned meals generally yielded gold.
Even loathsome Lima Beans and Ham might be reimagined as a tolerable porridge by mashing the beans, including a few handfuls of crushed crackers, a can of cheese unfold, a bit of water and many salt and pepper—or Tabasco in case you had some.
You by no means had the whole lot you wished, nonetheless, and ingenuity typically plugged the gaps. I watched a large number sergeant make espresso by wrapping two kilos of grounds in a T-shirt and boiling it in an industrial-sized pot.
Still, I’m pondering that the Tribune‘s web page of veganism indicators a megatrend that this longtime reader of newspapers has missed. That being the case, I feel veganism is extra seemingly a contributing trendlet to a megatrend of decarbonization—weaning the world off fossil fuels—which has now change into crucial and pressing. In different phrases, veganism as considered by way of the lens of worldwide warming. Converting to a plant-based weight-reduction plan would cut back the methane and carbon dioxide emissions that clog the troposphere, warming the planet. It would additionally curtail water-intensive beef manufacturing which accounts for 1,800 gallons of water per pound to course of beef.
Water Sustainability is without doubt one of the “megatrend” mutual funds launched by Fidelity Investments final 12 months. The purpose is to “anticipate long-term market-shaping trends such as increased competition for natural resources due to population growth and resource scarcity.”
Sound acquainted? Utah’s inhabitants is projected so as to add 2.2 million folks by 2060. Meanwhile, drought-depleted reservoirs are at historic lows whilst Utah continues to make use of extra water per capita than nearly all different states mainly to develop lawns and alfalfa.
You know the way problematic water has change into when the Utah Legislature interrupts its meddlesome agenda for a boondoggle over the Formerly Great Salt Lake aboard Army helicopters. You know it is critical when the city of Oakley halts building of recent homes as a result of aridification has left the little city close to Kamas wanting water.
You may make cash betting that Utah’s Republican overlords would do the best factor by embracing a megatrend grounded in science. It’s a long-odds wager, nonetheless. While ready for the Legislature to bestir itself from the tradition wars, you possibly can align your self with a megatrend that incentivizes driving the bus, xeriscaping the yard, giving up beef and voting for candidates who do not interact in post-truth posturing.
The handwriting is on the wall. It would not take a futurist to learn it and act on what it says.
Private Eye is off this week. Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org