Welcome to Future Human, a New Medium Publication About Science
As I write this letter, the long-predicted fall surge of Covid-19 is beginning in countries across the Northern Hemisphere. In the United States alone, more than 204,000 people have died from the coronavirus. People of color are bearing the brunt of the virus’s devastation, which has been immeasurably compounded by a long history of racist policy. Dry, hot winds threaten even more wildfires in heat-scorched California, which has lost 3.6 million acres this year alone. Sea ice in the Arctic has reached its second-lowest point in 40 years of recorded history. Nearly one in eight American households is going hungry.
The world we’ve created is threatening the survival of our species in an unprecedented way. It’s into this world that Future Human, a new publication exploring how science can help humanity survive and thrive, is born.
Our coverage will be driven by one central question: What needs to be done now for humans — of all races, classes, and genders — to make it to the future?
Let me be real with you: From where I’m standing, the outlook for our species doesn’t look great. Climate change, pandemic disease, food shortages, mental illness, racism, and the spread of pseudoscience are just a few of the threats we’re facing. But scientists, activists, and everyday citizens around the world are grinding tirelessly to change our trajectory, and their efforts represent hope. They’re persisting, with boundless courage, creativity, and empathy, because they believe it isn’t too late to save humankind and the planet. And they believe science is our most crucial tool for changing course.
Future Human, a new publication from the OneZero team at Medium, believes that, too.
Through expert scientific reporting and storytelling, Future Human will shine a spotlight on the bold, imaginative ways these people are using science to understand, navigate, and mitigate the threats we’re facing now, in hopes that things will be better tomorrow.
It’s not a publication for pie-in-the-sky ideas, like sending rich folks to Mars or cryogenically freezing ourselves until all of this blows over. Future Human is about real life and real people. It’s about the ways we can intervene, adapt, and prepare for the future ahead.
Since its inception, OneZero has covered science and technology with an eye toward the future. With Future Human, our editorial team is creating a dedicated place for readers who want to go deep on the former. You’ll learn about advances in biotechnology, skillfully covered by senior staff writer and Reengineering Life columnist Emily Mullin, who published a provocative feature today about scientists with a controversial strategy to permanently end deafness. You’ll learn about the climate research revealing who is most vulnerable to global heating — and who is most culpable. Staff writer Drew Costley will continue his eye-opening coverage of environmental justice in his feature series, Black in the Time of Climate Change, and his column, The Color of Climate. Later this week, you’ll learn about the Californians learning to live with fire instead of fight it, an attempt to grow a Covid-19 vaccine in plants, and a tiny bug that’s being bred to gobble up food waste while shrinking methane emissions. (You can learn more about how Future Human fits into the newly expanded OneZero universe here.)
At my lowest moments during this horrific year, I’ve found inspiration in the people relentlessly fighting for change, even when the world seems too broken to fix. I’ve been emboldened by the people holding firm to their trust in science, even as misinformation and unscrupulous politics increasingly obscure reality. They’re not willing to give up on us, and that gives me hope.
It’s time to give these people our attention. There is no Future Human without them.
Senior Editor, OneZero and Future Human