Being a responsible ancestor for the next generation


“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

—  Chief Seattle

Sitting at a round-table discussion with Alan Cooper, from user experience design and strategy firm Cooper, he poses the question: “Is what I am doing making me a good ancestor?” Our conversation flows through current political, social, and environmental concerns, pondering this question. We discuss how important it is to consider the future in all decision-making, from personal choices to collective endeavors.

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Living in San Francisco feels like living in the future. I am surrounded by creative thinkers, innovators, problem solvers, environmentalists, and conscious consumers. It is as if everyone’s minds are set on a better future and we are simply catching up to that vision. Those who are future thinking are preparing for their ancestors, conscious of what they leave behind.

At Planet, human impact is more evident than ever. Their data illuminates our ancestry and our influence from above. An aerial view is a record of evolution that enables us to see how systems change over time. We can witness how systems thrive or collapse by comparing images of the same location each day, enabling predictions of where we are going.


Now, unlike ever before, we can view global change from space. Tracking water supply, agriculture, industrial growth, urban development, growth patterns, deforestation, trade systems, etc. is now accessible at a click of a button via Planet Explorer Data. If we see global changes, we can take preventative and adaptive measures to prepare for future generations.

. . .

In four weeks in San Francisco, I attended several innovative events and experiences. I watched a panel discussion by Open Austria on how startups are impacting the arts industry; examined celestial artworks  by Casey Cripe at the Exploratorium; visited the SF_Portal, a project promoting empathy and connection with life-size real-time video chat between strangers in other countries.

Each event is vastly different but hints at a larger goal to broaden perspective, embrace innovation, and evolve us. Whether viewing complex artworks of the cosmos or having a heartfelt conversation with a stranger across the globe, these activities erase boundaries pushing for a more connected future for all.

I am hopeful that individuals and organizations are working hard to remind us of our inherent responsibility to each other and the planet. Ask yourself — are you being a good ancestor?