Back to futures: futures studies and its role in addressing the great civilisational challenges

van der Laan, Luke ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2275-8974 (2020) Back to futures: futures studies and its role in addressing the great civilisational challenges. Human Futures (April 2020). pp. 22-24.

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Abstract

Concern for human futures can arguably be said to be at its most urgent in the history of humanity. Viable alternative human futures seem to be on the decline as emergencies that threaten humanity increase. The climate emergency announced by 11000 scientists recently as published in the journal BioScience is the most obvious. It declares that the climate crisis “has arrived” and is “accelerating faster than most scientists expect”, causing “untold human suffering”.
Climate change and its negative consequences aside, what other existential threats to humanity are current? These too may have been broadly reported but done so largely in isolation. They include exponential increases in; human migration, digital colonisation, organised crime, weapons with mass effect, natural disasters, chance of major conflict, fragmented communities (decreasing social cohesion), mental health pathologies, commoditisation of essential natural resources (including water, wind and sun), unregulated information spaces, pandemics, unregulated genomic editing, automation and inequality amongst others. There is good reason for even the most pragmatic and advanced futures thinkers to default to dystopia given the possibility that all these (and those yet to emerge) converge into the greatest civilizational threat humanity has ever faced. Foresight can make a difference but as Godet correctly points out foresight “is not widely practiced by decision makers because when things are going well, they can manage without it, and when things are going badly, it is too late to see beyond the ends of their noses”


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Human Futures April 2019 Issue by WFSF is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 July 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 July 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2020 06:38
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2020 05:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: foresight; futures studies; civilisational challenge
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/38801

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