By Steven Beschloss and Peter Schlosser

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San Francisco on September 9, 2020. Photo by By hkalkan (Shutterstock)

This past week in San Francisco, mid-morning, the city was enveloped in darkness, the sky dark orange, the air smoky and acrid. The images reminded some people of Mars, but it was assuredly planet Earth. Video of tornados inside the massive California wildfire did not make comprehension easier for anyone who never imagined it would come to this.

The facts so far, across California, Oregon and Washington, underscore the scale of the conflagration: Nearly 100 fires are still active. …

Written by the Human Economies Working Group at the ASU Global Futures Laboratory

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An informal market place near Ellis Bridge on the bank of river Sabarmati. This bazaar takes place every Sunday. Photo by Pranav Gandhi

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the informal ways in which people often self-organize to meet their basic needs in the wake of a disaster. Take, for example, the predicament of the healthcare worker, who must go to work while the pandemic shut down childcare and other support services that enabled essential workers to go to their jobs. In an effort to ease the burden on some of these workers, University of Minnesota medical students Sara Lederman, Sruthi Shankar, Londyn Robinson and Brianna Engelson formed a volunteer organization called MN COVIDsitters that matches medical students with healthcare workers in need of child care, pet-sitting, and assistance with daily errands. Sister programs quickly sprouted up across the nation, and now there are at least 30 programs in the U.S., …

Watching American repression, 31 years after witnessing Tiananmen Square

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Moments of protest, 31 years apart.

By Craig Calhoun, on behalf of the ASU Global Futures Laboratory

On this anniversary of the Tiananmen Square repression in China, it is a shock to see something similar happening in the US. But it really shouldn’t be.

On June 4, 1989, China used massive military and police force to suppress peaceful protests. …


Arizona State University Global Futures Laboratory

Designing and shaping a future in which Earth will thrive.

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