It has been a difficult few years for optimistic diviners. In January, forbidden to meet with family or friends, a large part of the world’s population timidly welcomed 2021 from their homes and apartments. But as we approach the start of 2022, creating a vaccine in record time offers a timely reminder of human resourcefulness under pressure. These are the qualities that offer hope in the face of our species’ next and greatest challenge: climate change.
The forecasts – Monocle’s annual compendium of places, people and trends to watch over the coming year – includes a list of 10 innovative companies solving problems related to the climate crisis, such as the first clothing brand in negative carbon emission and the number one food sharing app. A year ago, as the population of cities dwindled, enthusiastic commentators wrote their obituaries. This praise, as old as time, has proven to be premature. Urban centers are flourishing again, although people may be more demanding than they were before the pandemic. For those considering a change, our Small Towns Index provides an overview of esoteric settlements with a lot of benefits – why not give Bolzano a try (on the picture) for the size?
Speaking of which, these regions often neglected due to their remoteness from financial centers are experiencing a reflux of talent. In southern Italy, remote working and improved infrastructure have caused a reverse brain drain, bringing home young people who are invigorating an ancient land. Our Mezzogiorno report features interviews and profiles of some of these exciting entrepreneurs as well as beautiful photographs.
There are also intriguing pieces on Parisian hoteliers, Scottish cashmere mills, and the future of weather. Under the circumstances of last January, it might have been considered folly to try to predict the coming year. Fortunately, 2021 ends on a much more positive note. We hope you enjoy reading our annual forecasts as much as we enjoyed preparing them.
“The Forecast” is available at all good newsagents. You can also buy it here.