Popular and scientific forecasts of the future are dominated by dystopian visions of environmental degradation and social inequality. Scientific assessments have demonstrated that more positive, desirable trajectories and futures appear to be possible, however thus far, the global community’s efforts to imagine positive futures has led to visions that tend to be utopian, not well articulated, too much like the world we already live in, and the steps to achieve these worlds remain unclear. We are bombarded with negative visions of the future, and because our beliefs about the future guide the actions we collectively make today, these visions may be inhibiting our ability to move towards a positive future for the Earth and humanity. This initiative aims to initiate wider global discussions of the kinds of positive social-ecological futures people would like to create and to expand discussions beyond efforts focused on avoiding negative futures or taking incremental steps forward. We aim to solicit, explore, and develop a suite of alternative, plausible visions of “Good Anthropocenes” – positive visions of futures that are socially and ecologically desirable, just, and sustainable.
A future “Good Anthropocene” will probably be radically different from the world in which we are currently living. It will require fundamental changes in values, worldviews, relationships among people, and between people and nature. We aim to articulate some of these radical changes that go beyond the incremental improvements in environmental efficiency or management that are the focus of much of today’s sustainability dialogue.
The seeds of these futures already occur in many places around the world. Identifying where these elements of a Good Anthropocene currently exist on the planet, and understanding how and why they occur, can help us envision how people might help these seeds growing into new, positive futures for the Earth and humanity.
You can read more about this project and our various partners/funders by clicking on any of the below images.
Collaborators and students working on various projects include Anna Kusmer and Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne.