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Happy New Year to all of the readers of On the Brink! Thank you for continuing to visit this blog. For all of the new readers who found this space in 2015, we are glad you are here!
1. Continued weird weather. Climatologists predicted wide swings in weather for the next few decades. Expect to see more strange weather events in 2016.
2. Environmental justice critiques of the small house movement. I've looked at the small house movement with a bit of a critical eye the last few years as it has accelerated into the main stream. Now, it looks like NYC will allow microapartments of any size within developments. Look for some to make the argument that if it is good enough for hipsters, it is good enough for the poor. Don't get me wrong--American house size has been increasing too much over the last two decades. However, it doesn't make sense for families to live in a 265 square foot apartment and normalizing this living space size is not a good trend for cities.
3. Emerging food issues. In the last year we had many recalls of tainted meats and vegetables. While I believe that these problems will continue, I anticipate that prices of some food items will go up as a result of the California drought and other odd global weather patterns. There will be greater emphasis on food security and resiliency in the coming year as some countries and regions become more concerned about these issues.
4. Widespread plastic bead bans. Many areas of the U.S. have banned plastic beads in personal care items as a result of widespread pollution of the microbeads in oceans, lakes, and rivers. Expect to see these bans expand.
5. Oil prices start to rise by the end of the year. I expect that oil prices will continue to slide in the first half 2016 as some of the OPEC nations try to drive out some of the small natural gas and renewable enterprises out of business. However, the low prices cannot be maintained much longer since many of the oil producing nations are producing oil currently at a loss. Prices will start to go up by the end of the year which will open up doors for the expansion of renewable energy.
6. Expanded electric car infrastructure. Have I told you how much I love my electric car? I think once Americans get used to the convenience of plug in hybrid cars (you don't have to stop for gas very much), there will be greater demand for electric car infrastructure.