What Future is in the Making? Hope, Fears and Challenges
Reply to the European Commission’s invitation to ‘inspire policy makers and researchers’ [in no more than a 1000 characters per question]
What gives you hope about the future considering how the world is changing?
Evolution can be understood as a process of diversification and subsequent integration of diversity at higher levels of complexity, predominantly based on new forms of collaboration, symbiosis and synergy.
As serious as the converging crises humanity is faced with are, many of them are based on a fractured understanding of reality. I observe a global movement and awareness building that we are living in the century of regeneration.
The emerging scientific synthesis of the living systems view of life is making us aware of our interconnectedness and interdependence. A profoundly transformative conversation is spreading. It is inviting us all to collectively re-design the human presence on Earth, shifting our impacts from being mainly degenerative and exploitative to being regenerative.
We can build fertile soils, reforest vast landscapes, reverse global warming and improve the health of the world’s grasslands, oceans, and waterways. We can choose collaboration. We can thrive together.
What makes you worried about the future considering how the world is changing?
The narrative of separation between humanity and nature, self and world, mind and matter has fractured our understanding of life as an interconnected planetary process. Yet health, deeper meaning and wellbeing critically depend on our individual and collective ability to participate wisely in this process.
This disconnection from the wider community of life has us obsessed with technological solutions for problems created by the way we think about ourselves and reality. We believe that exponential tech is the only possible future and in the process run the danger of destroying healthy ecosystems functions and the biospheric life support system even further.
Still largely unaware of the formative agency of consciousness through intentionality and design we are in the process of bringing forth a future that resembles the technology dominated dystopias science fiction has tried to warn us of. I am worried we are creating a future of humanity serving technology rather than life.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for the future and how would you advice policymakers to tackle it?
To ensure a viable future for all of humanity on living spaceship Earth we have to tackle a number of issues. One key is the fundamental redesign of our economic and monetary system which currently structurally incentivises competitive, exploitative and destructive behaviour.
We need to put the economy in services of regenerating social cohesion in thriving local communities within vibrant regionally focussed biomaterials economies in global collaboration, solidarity and knowledge exchange.
Avoiding runaway catastrophic climate change requires a local, regional and global effort to end our addiction to fossil fuels and a material culture made from its byproducts.
We are capable of creating diverse regenerative cultures that run on current solar income and are carefully adapted to the biocultural uniqueness of place. We can revitalize local and regional economies and cultures within the context of a planetary effort to increase bio-productivity and ecosystems health.
What do you do?
I work in the fertile intersection between education, consultancy, whole systems design, transformative innovation and futures practice — in service of the emergence of diverse regenerative cultures everywhere. I write curriculum, design capacity building courses, offer strategic advice, weave multi-stakeholder collaboration, nurture future consciousness, and aim to inspire, inform and enable regenerative development though my online media curation and my book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’.