How Can We Be Better Ancestors?


This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.

Read more about our 20th anniversary.

When it comes to our finances, health, homes, and even the planet, it’s easy to avoid thinking long-term and focus instead on tomorrow, or maybe next week.

The results? Companies that fail to innovate end up failing altogether. Superbugs born out of the overuse of antibiotics endanger our health. Natural disasters turn deadly for towns that failed to take precautions. This tendency to put off hard decisions threatens the economy, politics, even our very survival, as Bina Venkataraman explains in her recent TED talk.

As an adviser in the Obama administration, Venkataraman helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change. She learned firsthand why people don’t think ahead—and what can be done to change that. In her new book The Optimist’s Telescope, she combines her reporting from around the world with new research to explain how we can make decisions that benefit us over time. Rejecting the idea that human nature is impossibly reckless, she argues that we can individually, and as a society, adopt some surprising practices to help us confront the future—and leave the best possible world for those who will come after us.

Join the New America's Fellows Program and Future Tense in Washington, DC for a conversation with Bina Venkataraman, author of The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age on how we can become better ancestors.

Follow the conversation online using #OptimistsTelescope and by following @NAFellows and @FutureTenseNow.

Lunch will be served.


Bina Venkataraman, @binajv
Class of 2016 National & Future Tense Fellow, New America
Director of Global Policy Initiatives, Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard
Author, The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age


James Fallows, @JamesFallows
National Correspondent, The Atlantic
Board Member, New America

Copies of The Optimist’s Telescope will be available for purchase through our bookselling partner Solid State Books.

This is a partnered event with:

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