I’ve been traveling. Hours traversing Midwest turnpikes have been filled with a steady stream of music and hands-free cellphone calls. Recently, while switching from listening to talk mode en route, it occurred to me: I didn’t used to be this way. Prior to getting a smartphone, I was more content with empty time. I now crave constant sensory stimulation. Creating more sustainable solutions requires the space to reflect, to allow for thoughts I haven’t had yet. My best ideas surface when my senses aren’t consumed by stimuli. And yet I feel as if I’m being pushed in just the opposite direction. Last week, I became almost physically uncomfortable when I hung up the phone, turned off the radio, and drove across the bare, thawing landscape in silence. Fidgeting, I suddenly realized: I’m addicted. Followed by: This is anathema to creating the thoughtful solutions required for sustainability-related challenges. I couldn’t take it. Turning the radio back on, I placated my guilt with the pledge: I’ll write a Forecast essay about it.
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