How does the shown object point to a better world?

The com­pass shows you the dir­ec­tion even when the sun is not shin­ing. It does not tell you what your des­tin­a­tion is, but it can help you stay on course.

Suðurár­bot­nar, in the Iceland­ic desert.
“I hope…” begins Larus. “I hope we can find water tonight.”
Not tonight, my ass. It’s after mid­night, over the land lies the twi­light of a clear sum­mer night just below the Arc­tic Circle.
“That there’s no tap here either,” I try to joke. The tongue sticks to the pal­ate, the ruck­sack weighs on the shoulders.
“I won­der if we’re over yet?”
The high­land track we fol­low is hardly marked here. Even jeeps leave no traces on the black, rigid knit­ted lava.
I nestle the com­pass out from under my jack­et. Against the pale sky, right in front of us, two table vol­ca­noes rise above the arid sur­face.
“Sel­landaf­jall lies just north of us,” I say. “We’re not past it, look, we must be close to it…”
We’re drag­ging on. Stop, listen. A soft gurg­ling. We have found the source: liv­ing water in the desert.

Polit­ics is chaot­ic; glob­al pro­duc­tion chains are engulfed. Like a wil­der­ness, the future lies ahead. How many mil­lions dream of a bet­ter life?
That is the goal. And we need a new com­pass, the mag­net­ic needle of human­ity: a course to pure water, to the light of sun­rise, to a good life for all.

This is how I imagine a better world:

The Glass­house
(June 2051)

I get my bike out of the shed, think­ing about the lec­ture I am about to give. Intro­duc­tion to ocean­o­graphy: freak waves and tsuna­mis.
The post­man waves to me excitedly, with a big green envel­ope. I recog­nise the prin­ted logo of Moth­er Earth, and my heart­beat stops.
The Earth Par­lia­ment.
The let­ter con­firms my sus­pi­cion: “… You have been drawn by lot to rep­res­ent your region next year, in 2052, on the Earth Parliament’s Coun­cil of Experts, the Com­mis­sion for Cli­mate and Clean Envir­on­ment. Please let us know by early Septem­ber wheth­er you accept the appoint­ment.
What should I do?
I am, in fact, a sup­port­er of this sys­tem. Every year, 500 cit­izens from all over the world and 500 experts are drawn by lot to legis­late on issues of glob­al con­cern. The experts pro­pose, answer ques­tions; the cit­izens’ coun­cil makes the final decisions. All in com­plete trans­par­ency; “the glass house” is also called the Earth Par­lia­ment.
I admit: when the Earth Par­lia­ment first met in 2022 — a reac­tion to the corona shock — I had my doubts. How were these ran­domly thrown togeth­er people, a good 20% of whom were illit­er­ate, to solve the com­plex prob­lems that had kept sci­ent­ists and exper­i­enced politi­cians at bay for dec­ades? But it was pre­cisely the earthy wis­dom of Afric­an small­hold­ers, the determ­in­a­tion of Indi­an slum dwell­ers with their crys­tal-clear view of the essen­tials, that made a decis­ive con­tri­bu­tion to steer­ing the world onto a new track. The “glass house”, ini­tially smiled at as uto­pi­an, has changed many things for the bet­ter.
But even sit­ting in it? Sac­ri­fice a year, let my stu­dents down? And above all, I am only a nat­ur­al sci­ent­ist. One of those ivory tower dwell­ers, my head full of equa­tions, without any expert­ise in polit­ics or prac­tic­al prob­lems. Or am I just say­ing this to avoid a dif­fi­cult task?
When I reach the lec­ture hall, I am still lost in thought. Instead of my notes, I acci­dent­ally ripped the envel­ope from my bicycle bag. The stu­dents start whis­per­ing, and Aye­sha, the most talk­at­ive of the group, shouts: “Hey, have you been drawn into the Earth Par­lia­ment? That’s great! Then the inter­na­tion­al tsunami warn­ing sys­tem will cer­tainly be installed next year…”
“And you could present the new meth­od for remov­ing CO2 that they are work­ing on at the Uni­ver­sity of Delft”, Leonardo adds enthu­si­ast­ic­ally.
I catch myself smil­ing. Why did­n’t I come up with this idea right away? Our green­house gas emis­sions have been fairly well under con­trol over the last dec­ades, but the remov­al of the CO2 emit­ted in the past is still an urgent prob­lem. A race against time to save Greenland’s ice cap.
The wave equa­tion, which is on the cur­riculum for today, has been for­got­ten. We dis­cuss, or more pre­cisely, the stu­dents dis­cuss, and I listen, col­lect sug­ges­tions on the digit­al board, call the speak­ers if there are too many requests to speak. When the lec­ture peri­od is over, we are far from fin­ished, but we have decided to organ­ise a work­shop after the semester break, open to all stu­dents and inter­ested city dwell­ers.
It’s only on the way home that I notice that none of the stu­dents have asked me wheth­er I want to accept the appoint­ment. But actu­ally, that ques­tion has been resolved.

This text was translated by machine. See original text.