we really comprehend sustainability?
of Management and IT at St. Francis College
Anderson, Ph.D. & Robert Niewiadomski
are sustainable is one of the current trendy phrases
that can be heard in many prominent places from the halls of United
Nations to the boardroom of Fortune 500. It seems that almost
everyone from office workers to billionaires is talking about
sustainability. Many piled on the bandwagon of sustainability
or sustainable development, but what do they really
know about sustainability? The United Nations just introduced
the sustainable development goals (SDG) dealing with poverty,
hunger, health, environment, etc. This sounds very optimistic,
but all these targets might just remain ideas on paper without
really understanding the essence of sustainability and relentless
efforts to make it a reality.
Lets be clear
about one thing -when we talk about sustainability we refer
to self-preservation of humanity. The planet we live on did just
fine for over four and half billions years without us and it will
likely continue for another few billions long after we are gone.
Thus, the emphasis should be not on Earth itself, but rather on
preserving and improving it as our habitat in order to improve
our well-being and secure our continuity as a species. In other
words, sustainability should be an answer to the question:
How do we, survive in the rapidly changing environment resulting
from the uncontrollable consequences of our technological advances.
One of the many misconceptions
of sustainability involves clichés such as saving
polar bears, preserving indigenous cultures, or occasionally helping
people living in slums. Many corporations exploit these distorted
perceptions as a marketing opportunity by creating programs around
what used be called corporate social responsibility. When you
visit some CEOs office, they would be proud to show you
a glossy high-resolution book of their employees smiling with
underprivileged kids in developing country. It would be interesting
to find out what is really involved in these projects after the
photo-op is over. Sometimes, these enterprises are even incorporated
into their corporate missions. This serves as an ethical veneer
conveying a message of being a responsible global citizen.
A skeptic would say, perhaps correctly, that impoverished individuals
are being exploited as merely props and backdrops. This kind of
practices is a perversion of the notion of sustainability.
In order to have
a serious conversation about sustainability and find solutions,
we must consider it in the context of saving human race as well
as other forms of life with which we share our evolutionary journey.
In essence: sustainability is not about preserving the Earth,
it is about ensuring our survival on it. Naturally, our concern
must not be limited to our own species; we need a habitat
that includes animals, plants and a planet to survive and thrive.
Thus, we are facing
a fundamental question: What do we care about when we talk about
sustainability? We should be honest with ourselves and simply
admit that in order to survive as a human race, we must do everything
to save the environment we live in for the sake of us. This is
not about global warming or climate change. It is about destroying
our own future and letting it happen. We are getting used to dying
species and trees, massive scale deforestation, and billions living
in their own waste at the bottom of food chain while well-to-do
people are enjoying hyper consumption.
This brings us back
to the issue: How did we emerge as a consumption-based society?
For decades we have engaged in making things without deeper reflection
on how all materials will cycle back to nature. This core problem
poses a serious existential threat to many species, and ultimately
to us. Sadly, most notable politicians are too concerned with
catering to their own constituencies rather than becoming visionary
leaders willing to tackle the problem. Less than 30 % of global
population consumes too much, produces too much, buys too much,
and eat too much compare to the majority. This is a bad modus
operandi that cannot sustain and eventually will bring everyone
down. If we are looking at the next epic crisis, this is the perfect
storm. And yet the problem is not taken seriously.
Keeping this in mind,
how should we address the issue of sustainability? It is imperative
that we change how we make, eat, grow, consume and discard things.
We have to become truly sustainable, meaning we have to engage
in a continuing process of refining and extending the life cycle
of products, services, or environment to stimulate social and
economic growth without depleting resources. This requires a great
deal of creativity at the very stage of designing -thinking about
how things we make could be reintegrated or reclaimed back to
resources they came from. Lets create new economic opportunities
around these new processes before it is too late.
As our consumption
base increases this pending crisis will accelerate. The sooner
we understand the damage we are doing to our future, the better
chance we have to turn the environmental crisis around before
it gets to the point of no return, provided we are not there already.
Hume once famously wrote: The life of man is of no greater
importance to the universe than that of an oyster. The world
is not sensitive to our needs - things will be rolling on just
the same way they did before we arrived and they will continue
after our departure without anybody to enjoy it, to explore it,
to inquire about it. We are alone responsible for securing our
own survival and the survival of other species we share this planet
Future Now Show with
month we roam through current events, discoveries, and challenges
- sparking discussion about the connection between today and the
futures we're making - and what we need, from strategy to vision
- to make the best ones.
Future Now Show
Future Now Show
Bradford, Co-Founder & CEO, The
Willow Group, USA
Katie Aquino, aka Miss Metaverse, Futurista,
Paul Holister, Editor, Summary Text
from the previous show on consciousness hacking, this show discusses
transformative technology, and the lab of the same
name. The labs mission is improving well-being but the potential
toolkit is the same. Getting hands-on with the brain is a hot
area, with advances in imaging making this a more exact, if still
nascent, science. A surprising number of applications are already
out there, from game-based tools to (neuro-)feedback devices to
devices that directly influence the brain through direct or indirect
electric or magnetic stimulation. Some will no doubt find such
things disturbing but the story here is the lab, the community
and their vision of a happier us.
journey to 2115: Two futurists, two stories - Story 2
In this essay, two futurists
from different backgrounds, gender and status who only met online
will tell two separate stories of the world set in the year 2115.
The authors draw on both factual information and imagination to
craft the narratives. Each of the stories addresses global challenges
to the future of human survival. The stories are expressions of
serious problems of the current and future world told in an amusing
yet useful way.
Two Futurists, Two Stories
This essay is a creative expression of personal images of the
future set in 2115. Two futurists, who have only met online, explore
possible futures for humanity in the next one hundred years. Each
of the authors approach the project from different worldviews:
East/West, Male/Female, Student/Teacher. The time horizon of one
hundred years is the only common thread, aside from an agreed-upon
checklist of global challenges, but otherwise there has been no
collaborative effort to tell the stories. The project's primary
purpose is to allow those who teach and study foresight to capture
and reflect on creatively-generated personal future scenarios.
In this essay, storytelling is the only purpose. This purpose
is seen as opposed to the typical futures project that aims to
synthesize hours of research and mountains of reference material.
We hope to show that individuals who are well-versed in material
and information about the future (i.e., students and teachers
of futures studies/foresight) can tell valuable stories about
the future by allowing creativity to lead the way.
II. Story 2:
Title: Leaving Texas
Setting: The New Texas Settlement, USA
By Alexandra Whittington, College of Technology (Adjunct)
University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
Main Character: Alma, female centenarian, economic and environmental
Approaching her 100th birthday, Alma did something she normally
considered morbid. Reading her complete genealogical and genetic
family profile always made her feel like she was peering into
a graveyard. Although one-hundred year olds are considered normal
members of society in 2115, it still shocked her to see the short
lives of her dead ancestors
60, 70, 80 years, and the strange
illnesses that took them
.and think how hard life must have
been back in the days before so many of the common diseases were
Skimming through the long history, a detail jumped out that she
never recalled seeing before: she was a descendent of General
Sam Houston! The famous name took her back to being a schoolgirl
in Texas, learning about General Houston, a historical figure
well-known in the 1800's and closely associated with Texans' famous
freedom. She ironically noted how her home was no longer Texas,
but instead the New Texas Settlements. Texans had been driven
out of state (north, of all places) by the unlivable conditions,
not free will. What would Sam Houston say about that?
Leaving was not her preference, but there was little choice at
the time given the pressing climate and economic conditions. Drought
and unbearable UV exposures pushed her young family out of the
region more than fifty years ago, in 2060. When she left she had
no idea that she was severing a long link to Texas history. The
oil industry had collapsed, and that was it. The end of a chapter
She felt for the first time that the New Science was really on
to something with the idea that consciousness exists in genes
and cell material, so our deepest memories are biologically inherited.
Did her biological consciousness "know" that somehow
knew there was such a strong tie to Texas? It would explain why
she resisted leaving
. The protesters ended up in jails,
separated from their loved ones and tried as ecological criminals.
It wasn't worth risking her family to fight, but it certainly
created a revolution inside of her that made her feel that she
had betrayed her past. This new finding brought the feelings back
and many memories of what it was like before 2050, before the
crisis, began to surface.
There were many obvious reasons for the pain and loss leaving
her homeland had brought her, including the fact that she grew
up there-now she became awash in sentimentality. Alma suddenly
sensed her digital memories image albums in her Personal Optical
Implant orienting to view the past as it was emotionally being
called up in her mind. She remembered the old Tejano music her
mother used to listen to while driving (back then they drove around
in cars all the time). The music was now called up, too, overloading
her senses with memories. She switched off her artificial senses
and manually recalled the large family SUV navigating through
the sprawling city streets and tears came to her eyes, knowing
that was a way of life that was never coming back.
did her mom have any clue about their famous
family tree? Next time she was visiting with her mother through
the Super-Conscious Communication Device she would be sure to
ask. (Her mother had had a stroke in 2062, but like most of her
generation, still converses with family members from a suspended
vegetation state using an implant that detects linguistic patterns
in active brain waves.) Good thing life-extensions were easy to
use and obtain now. It was once prohibitively expensive to live
so long, but now, "Death: It's Optional,"
at least according to the popular advertisements.
So she knew she would probably be around for a long time to share
this news with her children, if they should ask. Not that there
is any reason to ask, since a person is in no way the most valid
or desirable source of information in 2115. Computer brains are
much more reliable. Still, Alma wanted to have an explanation
ready for future generations. A chronology began forming in her
mind, and she allowed her mind recorder to begin archiving the
2020s: Golden kamikazes
The memories she recalled first were from the early 2020's, the
time of her girlhood in Texas, where big oil was extracting the
remaining shreds of petroleum prosperity. Fossil fuels were having
their last big economic boom. The industry was healthy, paying
her father a generous white-collar salary at one of the big companies
headquartered in Texas. They lived in a spacious house when she
was small, with more than enough bedrooms and lots of air conditioning.
There were sincere gestures to be more "green" back
then-water conserving lawn-watering schedules and recycling bins
were sacred to the modern families in their plush neighborhood.
Little did they know that the small efforts would add up to almost
nothing to save the state from the ecological crisis when it hit
The modern world was thriving technologically, but income inequality
was starting to become a noticeable source of social instability.
The standard of living managed to rise across the board, nonetheless.
Wealth rose, but the low-income majority did not increase their
share. So poor people were more poor in every country, while the
already well-off became rich, the rich became super wealthy, and
so forth. This meant that distinct pockets in developed countries
were feeling more like developing nations, although at the same
time developing societies as a whole were substantially better
off than they were twenty years prior.
Internet and communications technologies became a strong force
for education and job preparation across the developing world.
Women's rights were continuing to spread and gain strength. The
formerly struggling parts of the world were starting to catch
up to first world standards by 2020. However, all the growth and
technology came at a price. There were negative effects on environment
and health emanating from all the world's nations and suddenly.
The ones who noticed began to organize, but they were the minority.
Needless to say, human activities continued on this path because
the short-term benefits (well-paid jobs, financial security, cheap
technology and energy) were too good to pass up. In 2115, students
are taught of this as the "Golden Kamikaze" era of world
history before the crisis: an expensive suicide that all nations
of the world brought on together.
2030s: Symptoms can no longer be ignored
Sensitive people in the world became more attuned to the downfall
of large-scale growth that idolized capitalism, wealth and speed
at any cost. Technology illness began to appear in forms of psychological,
neurological and chemical problems in the human population. Negative
health effects from profuse wifi exposure were easily dismissed
since the 2020s, but the evidence was starting to support fringe
beliefs about the danger of wireless signals.
It wasn't just wireless, but the byproducts of a globe hooked
on technology became increasingly toxic. The poisons used to make
the gadgets, and their waste products, were becoming too much
for the earth to bear. Not just that, but there was more illness
related to manufacturing spots. Soon, it was seen as a death sentence
to work in a high-tech factory job. Or to live near one. Attitudes
The illnesses were made worse by the loss of antibiotic medicine.
The new diseases required new medicines, but the accompanying
infections of lungs, eyes, ears, skin were the same old biology.
Except the human population had become so dependent on antibacterial
soaps and antibiotic drugs that they no longer worked well, and
these formerly simple threats were becoming as dangerous as the
diseases themselves. By the 2030's the symptoms could no longer
be ignored: the world was out of balance and human survival was
This new reality resulted in a curious group of young scientists
to form a new research consortium to explore solutions for the
"post-antibiotic" world. They would later become the
medical branch of the New Science movement, which eventually developed
the life-extending technologies and made death optional.
Climate change was becoming so severe that seasons were unknown
to most born after 2025 and weather patterns could shift suddenly.
Energy costs were low, but water systems began to fail, and poisoned
water sources created distress and displacement-the ecological
refugee was a common issue in almost every nation that had used
natural gas fracking at the start of the century. After enough
damage, the practice was stopped. The cost to society was too
The climate refugees were a burden. There were public health issues
to think of, and resources were becoming scarce as weather disrupted
transport of consumer goods. There was a tangible sense that consumption,
or over-consumption, was to blame for a lot of the problems we
faced. Things had changed
For instance, most people began
to use clothing to protect them from the elements in more practical
ways, and fashion became much less relevant with the blanket of
pessimism that couldn't be kicked. No one seemed sad that a way
of life was dying, just eager to get past the pains and start
2040-2070: Death of fossil fuels, new means to meet needs
Fossil fuels officially crashed in the early 2040s. Policy devised
by the high tech New Science artificial intelligence raised the
stakes to the point that it became prohibitively expensive for
private companies to extract nonrenewable natural resources; the
costs to cover environmental risks, costs of ecological displacement
of people, taxes to pay for illnesses to future generations, and
stiff penalties for accidents and damages-all these costs were
passed on to the oil companies, whose business model had become
unprofitable and unpopular. The last oil company closed their
doors in this decade, while green energy thrived to take its place.
The benefits of a healthy environment were quickly revealed. The
New Science was at the forefront of this contemporary understanding
of the human species as networked to nature in ways that prior
generations of scientists didn't see. There was a strong and clear
connection between social organization for subsistence and ecosystems
of the planet than previously known, and it was now common sense
to know that symptoms of suffering or distortion in the other
natural systems were sources feeding distress to the human settlements.
Most people now agreed on two things: that 2050 was the crisis
point, and that a change had to come. A self-destructive way of
life had given way to harmony between man and nature.
The New Science AI was effective at revealing the link of human
to ecosystem, and showing how if parts are healed, the whole gets
better. The AI was high technology enhanced with human and organic
elements. It was just as "natural" as a person, since
its biological origins were human, but used decision making sciences
with complicated formulas and calculations beyond human comprehension.
It could not just learn, but also teach. It could also replicate
itself, but was not predatory. It was a smart AI, actually smarter
than humans, because it inherently understood the threats posed
by its own existence, and had safeguards to protect life at all
costs. It had memories, so that the next generation was always
even brighter than the last, building on knowledge from the past.
This aspect fed into later New Science theories popularized in
the 2090's, and explored the role of consciousness in the genetic
and biological material that is passed from one generation to
the next. This thinking arrived just in time, still at the fringes,
but penetrating the mainstream culture with a positive worldview
that would allow us to survive the crisis of 2050.
2080-2110: New science, new consciousness -- for survival
By this time, the New Science took over for most other worldviews
that existed just 50 years ago. There were too many damaging mindsets
that would be unable to contribute to the lifestyle needed to
continue on earth. It was a painful transition but it was essential.
This was a new level for humankind
to decide to seem to
go against its own nature, for nature. Societies had to learn
how to accept facts that before seemed to threaten their survival.
The weaker societies were absorbed by those that had already a
predisposition to sustainable long-term decision-making. This
meant capitalism was eliminated, because of many layers of danger
to stability and sustainability (social, environmental and economic)
that it inherently threatened.
It was a non-violent shift. Violence was seen as counterproductive,
though plenty of hatred still existed. The New Science AI took
over for political or cultural systems of controlling social unrest,
which meant that the government no longer guided policy directions,
much less determined individuals' innocence, guilt or good or
bad citizenship. Technology replaced the human errors of decision-making.
Surveillance became thoroughly implemented for survival on the
weak (but reviving) planet. People didn't really choose much of
anything for themselves anymore, instead data and evidence were
the basis for most decisions. It was completely unlike the lifestyle
she grew up with, where individuality and freedom were valued
most. Now, a utilitarian world view took control dictated by artificial
intelligence, so that humans were unable to make the bad choices
that had brought on the crisis.
Everything that had occurred during this lifespan was truly remarkable.
How could a world transform so quickly from short-sighted and
human-controlled to long-term and coordinated by artificial intelligence?
It was a shift only a crisis could create. She wondered if perhaps
different choices were made, for example, if her dear old cousin
Sam Houston had not come to Texas, or if his armies had resisted
violence and called for peace, then maybe the United States would
have never become a strong influence for irresponsible consumption
and economic equality
but this was just wishful thinking.
Now there was just the future.
(end of Story 2)
Technology Foresight Group, Department of Management, Science
and Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
424 Hafez Ave, Tehran, Iran, 15875-4413. +989195905905; firstname.lastname@example.org
journey to 2115: Two futurists, two stories - Story 1
Alexandra Whittington, College of Technology (Adjunct)
University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
4800 Calhoun Street, Houston, Texas, 77204 +17137434110; email@example.com
of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
by Humberto Schwab, Philosopher, Owner, Humberto Schwab Filosofia
SL, Director, Club of Amsterdam
Ukrainian Dilemma and the Bigger Picture
by Hardy F. Schloer, Owner, Schloer Consulting Group - SCG, Advisory
Board of the Club of Amsterdam
impact of culture on education
by Huib Wursten, Senior Partner, itim International and
Carel Jacobs is senior consultant/trainer for itim in The Netherlands,
he is also Certification Agent for the Educational Sector of the
more demand for meat means for the future
Pelletier, The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.
peace and generosity
by Elisabet Sahtouris, Holder
of the Elisabet Sahtouris Chair in Living Economies, World Business
... and many more contributions.
Rock Print effectively shoves
rocks into position, binding them with computer-controlled string.
The result in this demonstration at the Chicago Architecture Biennial
is a rigid 13-foot column that can be cleanly unraveled into its
Worlds First Concrete-Printing Robot
about the Future
Fragile States Index
"We are pleased
to present the eleventh annual Fragile States Index. The FSI
focuses on the indicators of risk and is based on thousands
of articles and reports that are processed by our CAST Software
from electronically available sources. We encourage others to
utilize the Fragile States Index to develop ideas for promoting
greater stability worldwide. We hope the Index will spur conversations,
encourage debate, and most of all help guide strategies for
The Shit Museum, a deliberately provocative
yet sufficiently explicative to embrace the idea of a major project
that marries tradition and innovation, art and technology,and
which justifies the founding of a Museum.
Castelbosco, Gianantonio Locatellis farm, is a place of
interest, innovation and research, and an experience to be shared:
a Museum. Locatellis intuition of reusing the organic waste
from his own farm to produce methane, as well as material for
bricks and plaster, led to the implementation of a cutting-edge
The idea of reuse
has always gone hand in hand with the agricultural world. In this
case, it is manure which is transformed into other elements, thus
producing innovation. Here, poop is precious, for it is the basis
nourishing information and cultural enrichment, as well as being
the main theme and substance from which the Museum takes its name.
A new idea of a Museum
thus comes about in which scientific research, technology, art
and production join forces to stimulate interest at various levels:
Castelbosco constitutes a stimulating place for all those interested
in the farming of food crops, history, art or issues connected
The Museum starts
from the outside, on the farm itself, and it is here that the
value of the project is reflected in the interventions of artists
such as David Tremlett and Anne & Patrick Poirier. These works
coordinate the space, stimulate reflections and amplify the conceptual,
metaphorical and productive vision which lies at the heart of
the Castelbosco farm.
Responding to sounds harvested from YBCAs interior space
and the Yerba Buena Garden and nearby city street noise, this
site-specific artwork activates the south facing glass façade
of the Grand Lobby with playful patterns of light reminiscent
of a swarm of flying birds.
During the day, filtered
sunlight produces ever-changing flickers of light and shadow,
while in the evening the façade is transformed into a dynamic
electro-luminescent composition that electrifies the glass wall.
Sound sensing spiders, attached directly to individual glass panels
in the Grand Lobby, transform the facade into what the artists
call urban sensors .-instruments to sense the city, visualize
its auditory pulse, and amplify its latent energies into cascades
of light. Real-time data collected from these audio sensors
drive the direction and color of the swarming algorithm, which
generates patterns of streaming light. The result is an artificially
intelligent façade: a smart surface that can sense, compute,
respond, and interact with its surroundings.
unique suspended light modules individually change their intensity
and color. Each module was created from 3D printed components,
custom electronic elements, addressable LED strips, and laser-cut
skins made out of recyclable PET plastic and synthetic paper.
This work is an exemplary display of Future Cities Labs
interest in liminal spaces and location, as the glass wall allows
for multiple views and perspectives on this ever-changing installation.
Artist: Future Cities
Lab, San Francisco
Project Team: Jason Kelly Johnson, Nataly Gattegno, Ripon DeLeon
Production: Fernando Amenedo, Jeffrey Maeshiro, Ji Ahn, Nainoa
Cravalho, Kate Richter
Fabrication: Machinic Digital Prototyping & Consulting Services,
Video Lead: Jeff Maeshiro
YBCA: Betti-Sue Hertz,
curator; John Foster Cartwright, lead preparator / media specialist
Music: Air Hockey Saloon by Chris Zabriskie
Upcycle Beyond Sustainability - Designing for Abundance
Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability - Designing for Abundances
By William McDonough (Author), Michael Braungart
(Author), Bill Clinton (Foreword)
From the authors
of Cradle to Cradle, we learn what's next: The Upcycle
is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, one
of the most consequential ecological manifestoes of our time.
Now, drawing on the green living lessons gained from 10 years
of putting the Cradle to Cradle concept into practice with businesses,
governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael
Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological
crisis: We don't just use or reuse and recycle resources with
greater effectiveness, we actually improve the natural world as
we live, create, and build.
For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity
and sustainability are questions of design. They are practical-minded
visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings,
and business practices - and they show us these ideas being put
to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars,
and factories are being reimagined not just to sustain life on
the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour
of our green future as it unfolds in front of us.
The Upcycle is as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson's
Silent Spring - but its mission is very different. McDonough
and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding
of the human role on earth: Instead of protecting the planet from
human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the environment?
We can have a beneficial, sustainable footprint. Abundance for
all. The goal is within our reach.
a new movement led by architects Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban and Vo
Trong Nghia is putting bamboo construction back in the spotlight
is a fresh and motivated team of international creatives based
in Beijing and Vienna. In 2013, Chris Precht and Dayong Sun founded
penda with the belief that architecture serves as a bridge to
connect nature, culture and people to strive for a better quality
Portrait: Alex Steffen
Steffen (born c. 1968) is an American futurist
who writes and speaks about sustainability and the future of the
His 2012 book Carbon
Zero: Imagining cities that can save the planet
is an exploration of the kinds of design, technological and policy
innovations that can transform our cities into low-carbon engines
2010, he ran the pioneering sustainability and social innovation
project Worldchanging.com, and edited two best-selling Worldchanging
Before that, he worked
for almost a decade in newspapers and radio, covering planetary
change on four continents.
Alex lives in the
San Francisco Bay Area.
"There are two kinds of futurists. The first explore
the variations of what exists and project the future from those
tea leaves. The second, and by far the rarer, peer around the
curve of time and reimagine the future as much as foresee it.
Alex Steffen is the latter!" - Paul Hawken, author
of Natural Capitalism and CEO, OneSun
Summit | Alex Steffen
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