Our culture presumes that people act to avoid negative consequences but as it turns out that this is not the case. It is well known in the field of psychology that people are more likely to change their behaviour when they see a positive reason for doing so.
We can't get somewhere until we can first envision where it is we want to go. Great leaders in history were great leaders because they had a positive vision and were able to communicate that effectively to their followers. Rarely do leaders win the hearts and minds of the public based on negative forecasts of the other guy.
The fossil fuel era is going to end and it is going to end within most of our lifetimes. We are currently living in the pinnacle of human civilization and that's a real blessing. It may be premature to conclude that the next phase of human civilization will not be even better than our present one.
Some people viewed the dawn of the industrial age as a major threat to civilization, prompting sabotage of industrial machinery and various other types of revolt. However fearful this change appeared during that time, few can deny that the modern industrial age brought us numerous benefits. In the future, might we look back at the end of the fossil fuel era as the start of another great era in human history?
Societal upheavals have often been accompanied by surges in creativity: new forms of art, literary masterpieces, and new philosophical ideas. The renaissance period accompanied the introduction of industrialization and more recently the music of the 60s and 70s accompanied a period of social liberalization.
Painting a picture of a compelling post-carbon world is not an easy task and we need the creative people in our society to step up to the plate. Unfortunately our modern technical society has marginalized our artists, writers and creative thinkers. We need to reverse this trend if we want to accomplish the transition smoothly.
Societies that successfully navigate transition tend to have resiliency as their primary characteristic, and this resiliency is often motivated by a strong desire to move toward something better. It can be said, then, that resilient communities result from a positive outlook on the future.