is moderated by Katie
Aquino, aka Miss Metaverse. We
are talking about Collective Intelligence with Jerome C. Glenn
and about Water & Africa with James M Dorsey. The
Future Now Show
.... and join our event in London
about the future
of Metro Vitality, Friday,
April 24, 2015, 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
we have an excellent program including presentations by Josef
Landry and more ...
Today, we live in
the Urban Anthropocene. This expression combines the
global trend towards urbanization and the neologism Anthropocene,
the term an ecologist would be forced to use these days to describe
Homo sapiens as the key structuring species that could determine,
alone, the fate of Earths life forms. For better or worse,
its become clear that the way this strange species grows,
and accelerates the cycles of nature to serve its own needs, will
define whether the planet will evolve towards greater diversity
and relative stability (a recurrent association in past human
history), or loss of ecological balance and (quite well defined
scientifically) significant loss of biodiversity, as has happened
a few times over the last 4 billion years. Likewise, an ecologist
would agree that this species is highly gregarious and, since
2007, its majority concentrates in sprawling and increasingly
vertical self-constructed settlements that consume natural goods
and services such as food, water, temperature regulation and many
others brought from increasingly distant places through the use
of energy from fossil fuels, but also foster innovation and creativity,
and can lead to economies of scale at an unprecedented level.
The future of the Earth is defined by the future of urban settlements.
Thus, what is the best way to try to govern the Urban Anthropocene?
Is the present structure of the United Nations (UN) up to the
task of helping its peoples in the governance challenges we have
in the years ahead?
Certainly we need
a global legitimate organization like the UN to support the coordination
of global efforts. But this is not enough. Global efforts will
have impacts on the ground only if we have good local governance
in a significant large number of localities. Thus, understanding
the mechanisms governing urbanization, arguably as the largest
human movement in history, is key to protecting the global environment,
and for global politics and governance systems. Just as the UN
needs to change to accommodate the new global aid architecture
resulting from the enduring economic crisis and the increasing
influence of BRICS+ countries (Brazil, Russia, India,
China, and South Africa, expanded to include other emerging economies
such as, but not limited to, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia), it
should also change and adapt to a world where networked
local and subnational levels of action and governance are increasingly
becoming determinants for success in sustainable development.
Decision makers in cities are the nerve cells (in an organism),
or the genetic replication/transcription systems (in cells) of
human impact on land and nature in all scales.
The urban anthropocene.
Photo: Osman Balaban
We also need to recognize that the governance of many of the relevant
processes defining which way we go as a species reside in the interstices
between many levels of governance, with emphasis on the urban level
where most of us live. It wont be hard to find recent official
UN language with what are today accepted soundbites:
national governments cannot walk the talk of sustainability alone;
the creative energy of cities, and the process of urbanization itself,
are determining forces in our future. The recent movement for an
entire Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on urban settlements is
just its latest symptom, as are statements like the campaign
for Life on Earth will be won, or lost, in cities. Several
of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Addis Ababa Principles
and Guidelines for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (notably 1, which
speaks of the need for congruence between national and subnational
levels of government; 2, addressing the empowerment and accountability
of local players; and 7, speaking about the need for coherence in
governance levels and the scales of use and impact) indicate that
the decentralization of governance should be compatible with mandates
and capacity to address issues.
Is the UN doing enough
to accommodate this clear trend? How creatively, urgently or constructively
are players discussing such an essential issue? What are the main
challenges for increased cooperation in the UN with subnational
and local authorities? Well, in principle the answer is that there
is increasing participation and awareness, and that decentralization
of decisions and responsibilities are happening by global trend,
independent of politics. Still we dare say that the evolution
towards a more realistic distribution of decisions and responsibilities
is happening much quicker at national than at regional and/or
global (i.e. UN) levels. And concretely, the current official
UN representation of subnational and local governments is clear:
other than those parallel events (such as the CBDs City
and Subnational Governments Summits, informal discussions platforms,
partnerships with associations or Plans of Actions like the CBDs
exceptions as we know), theres not much progress.
Some provocative local councillors we know would point to the
need for something akin to taxation with representation
in the UN.
In recent work, we
have also become aware of the following points (not yet scientifically
proven for all levels, but compiling evidence for this could be
a decent enough challenge):
a) Local and subnational
governments are not civil society groups (or major groups in the
UN jargon), nor should their associations be called NGOs, as sub-national
and local authorities represent governments: political and administrative
organizations legitimated by their own people through their national
political system. Clearly they have special mandates complementary
to those of national and federal governments. Indeed they are
best placed to control crucial issues such as watershed management
and land-use zoning, business, infrastructure and housing development,
regulation and enforcement, and coordination of efforts in participation,
communication, education, and awareness raising of citizens. States/Provinces
are natural landscape managers (watersheds, forests, mosaics of
different land uses like Biosphere Reserves or Regional Natural
Parks usually are managed and financed by subnational and local
governments), and have a mandate for coordinating actions by municipalities.
As such, local and subnational governments should be given an
appropriate position in UN-level negotiations, at least at the
status of special partner. If SIDS, LDCs and ILCs
have already been granted special status in some multilateral
agreements, why not parts of governments themselves, through the
use of creative arrangements that preserve UN member States
sovereign mandates and UN protocol?
b) National budgets
are formed, and executed, to a significant degree, by local and
subnational authorities. Indeed, a graph of public procurement
in anything (the largest budget allocations, such as housing/infrastructure
development, salaries and/or education/health, but also much smaller
ones like biodiversity or protected areas) across governance levels
would look something like a cone with its point at the top (i.e.
large amounts of taxes are collected by or at the jurisdiction
of subnational/local levels, such as VATs and some income, and
then transferred to federal accounts). While the role of national
governments is clear in setting UN and global parameters and policies
and negotiating in the international arena on environment and
development issues like biodiversity, large part of all global
expenditures are actually made at the local level (and expenditures
could be correlated with activity levels). Many sub-national governments
have access (through an endorsement at national level) to grants
and loans from international organizations. The same will probably
be found to apply to law enforcement, CEPA and capacity building,
among other topics.
are not easy. First, the sheer scale of coordination and capacity
building tasks is daunting. There are around 1 million mayors
and something like 50,000 governors, not to speak of various other
public executive categories (relatively autonomous regions, counties,
local-level associations, dependencies and territories, overseas
islands, etc.), but only around 200 UN member States. Then, of
course, even if such capacity could be fully supported, local/urban
governance is a necessary, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT condition for moving
localities to more sustainable development, as national governments
would still hold important responsibilities in the constitution
of many countries and their own capacity to coordinate
with thousands of local authorities is not assured
Second, we are clearly
as far from good governance at local level as we are at national
scale, particularly in developing countries. We need to recognize
that the UN has well-known challenges in governance and efficiency
itself. Most of the agencies are underfunded (UN Habitat in particular)
for their mandates. In fact, global governance through the UN
is always limited by design: no national government wants the
UN to step beyond their sovereignty, nor could they accept equal
voting right for subnational authorities responding to strict
mandates at national level (negotiations in IUCN on subnational
vote a couple of years ago are a good example). Furthermore, Brazil,
for instance, has around 5,500 municipalities, yet arguably much
less than a fifth are institutionally strong and viable to be
financially independent with the present institutional arrangements.
Even successful efforts like the CBD Global Partnership on Subnational
and Local Action for Biodiversity, or ICLEI and UCLG involve only
a minority of local authorities, may be even a few hundreds or
thousands, well under 1% of the whole. On the other hand, the
UN, just like all governments, is like that old VW beetle some
of us still have at least in memory: its not perfect, may
even have serious problems, but in general we know how to fix
it and anyway its all weve got to travel a long trip.
So improve it we should, and must.
Photo: Jose Puppim de Oliveira
What can be done?
The power of coordinated
efforts, even if at limited level, is overwhelming. Naturally,
cities and States converge in the UN through two kinds
of networks: coherent coalitions of the willing, engaged
locomotive minorities proposing ways ahead and pilot
projects (networks, ICLEI, etc.) and wider, more representative
(and thus less focused) networks such as UCLG, who are more consultative
and generally react when one or two issues impact MOST of the
members enough to generate consensus for action. By involving
them more broadly and institutionally in the UN according to their
mandate, we can advance on what we call a more decentralized (i.e.
polycentric) approach. We can design parallel interfaces
of negotiation. Different territories have different institutions
in place that could be made more effective for the changes we
want, but for that we need to couple our UN-level
efforts with those of non-UN institutions that are already on
the ground to support them in their efforts in the best way we
can. We could also focus on improving the spending effectiveness
of international aid further through increased substantive, if
not financial, contributions of subnational and local governments
including coordination with, and recognition of, the impressive
amounts of decentralized cooperation already underway. Given that
the UNs reform will be slow and funding will never be enough
to address all challenges, what innovative ideas can we propose
for the likes of ICLEI (i.e. coalitions of leading and innovative
local authorities on sustainable development issues) to break
through the International donors-national governments
limits more efficiently for the benefit of all?
We could go even
further. In the late 1910s, organized labor and the spectre
that haunted Europe (representing a growing power of employed
consumers increasingly aware of their role as citizens) contributed
to an innovative arrangements in the International Labor Organization
(ILO), today a tripartite organization in which labor
and business are equally represented with national authorities.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has tourism businesses
and their associations as associate members. How could we strengthen
the relevant UN agencies (more strategy, planning and policy-focused
like UN-HABITAT but also implementation-centered like UNDP) institutionally,
in their current cooperation levels with subnational players?
How could we adapt and build on the still limited examples of
subnational involvement in the CBD and Ramsar towards all of the
worlds hundreds of multilateral environmental agreements?
Our perception is
that if the member countries of the UN do not seize the opportunity
and energy of involving subnational and local governments in global
UN governance, parallel (and often not well coordinated) processes
risk taking the limelight, a kind of shadow UN of
subnational and local authorities. And we could do much better
to avoid this, with benefits to all. We look forward to 2014,
with the CBD COP 12 in the Republic of Korea and its Summit of
cities and subnational governments, with the World Urban Forum
in Medellin, Colombia, and the HABITAT III process, and we look
forward to a much stronger subnational component for the formulation
and implementation of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals,
all to improve the governance of our Urban Anthropocene.
has been a Programme Officer at the Secretariat of the Convention
on Biological Diversity (SCBD, administered by the United Nations
Environment Programme) in Montreal, Canada, for the last 6 years.
He is responsible for the issues of South-South cooperation, sub-national
implementation (involvement of States, Regions and cities), Sustainable
Tourism, and Island Biodiversity.
Jose Antonio Puppim
de Oliveira is Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations
University (UNU) Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability
The authors would
welcome comments and suggestions on how to address the challenges
mentioned in this article, as they are involved in relevant processes.
Should the Members of Club of Amsterdam, in its internal
consultations, choose to produce position papers or propose activities
to advance the issues, the authors are open to cooperation and
partnership development. Please contact them at emails oliver.hillel
@ cbd.int and puppim @ unu.edu.
Future Now Show
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.
Jerome C. Glenn, Co-founder, Director, The Millennium
Project Katie Aquino, aka Miss Metaverse, Futurista,
USA Paul Holister,
that humanity is facing unparalleled crises, relating to resources,
population, climate change, energy, environmental destruction,
increasing inequality, proliferating weapons and more. We ape-men
arent even remotely rising to the challenges.
accelerating technological development brings threats, benefits
and, of interest here, new reasoning capabilities.
In this show
Jerome C. Glenn presents the idea of better understanding and
responding to the above challenges with collective intelligence,
a sort of global fusion of minds, data, and systems (part of The
Millennium Project). Intriguing a hive of bees exhibits
intelligence beyond that of a single member. Can we do something
similar with people plus software plus the Internet? (No, we arent
talking hive-minds. Yet.)
hope so we need something to counteract the collective
stupidity that our current global society exhibits.
A collaboration between the
of Professional Futurists
and the Club of Amsterdam
and hosted by ARUP Foresight + Research
This event will focus on the human aspect of the Future of Cities.
The soft architecture of cities.
There are many conversations
on the technology and infrastructure of our cities of the future.
But on the social and cultural side there is less depth. Extrapolations
from generational models derived from a pre-digital world seem
archaic. Personas based on smart consumer electronics seem limited.
Yet much of the value created by cities comes from culture and
people, not from hard structures.
And a whole cluster
of trends means that people in cities seem to have more in common
with each other than with people living in their own country outside
of the city. Are we watching a deep global change in values and
understanding - led by the boom in city living?
gathering with the Association of Professional Futurists and the
Club of Amsterdam uses their approach of a short set of talks
then a facilitated across floor dialogue.
Associate - Foresight + Research + Innovation at Arup Josef sets out possibilities for Future City Architectures
into which metro vitality will play
- International authority on the use of imagination and creativity
in urban change Cities of Ambition: vitality and viability
... and more.
Moderated by Nick
Association of Professional Futurists - APF
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
Russia and the US share the fact that they are both Atlantic and
Pacific powers although Russia is essentially a land-based power
with the largest proportion of its land located in Asia. In fact,
of all the countries around the Pacific, Russia has the longest
Russia's Far East is an area double that of Europe inhabited by
only 7 million people and that, because of its poor demographics,
declining infrastructure and industry, is likely to see that population
reduced by 2 million over the next 20 or 30 years. It is an area
particularly rich in natural resources, and as the region develops
by taking advantage of economic growth in China, links with Moscow
will weaken and Russia may lose sovereignty over the long term.
Russians continue to see Chinese as underdogs and have failed
to apprehend the major changes that have taken place in that country.
Russia is also increasingly becoming dependent on Chinese labor,
both due to the collapsing Russian demography and to the massive
Russian immigration from Siberia to European Russia. For the numerous
xenophobic groups present in Russia, this is a threat similar
to an invasion. In many respects, this situation is similar to
the one between Mexico and the US.
Russia, which traditionally has had a major European presence,
is also now on a pivot to Asia as it wants to take advantage of
the developments in Asia and wants Asian investors to modernize
the Pacific provinces. It is, however, also concerned with the
rise of China and the consequent fear of becoming its junior partner.
As things stand at present, Russia is the sort of partner China
wants and that the US does not want.
Trade with East Asia has grown considerably, including with China
- its most important trading partner - with whom it is progressing
at the steady pace of 30% per year. It could increase even more
were it not for the poor Russian infrastructure and the increased
inability for Russia to supply machinery orders, leading Chinese
corporations to substitute them by local production. Nevertheless,
China is today Russia's largest trading partner with trade increasingly
being made in remimbi.
In May 2014, Gazprom signed a massive contract to deliver 38 billion
cubic meters of gas per year over a period of 30 years but at
a rather low price. To expand its market share of the energy markets
in East Asia, Russia would have to make large investments in new
fields in Eastern Siberia. Rosneft has also agreed to deliver
365 million tons of oil over a period of 25 years.
Russia is China's fourth largest supplier of oil and they could
become the largest supplier should the projected pipeline be directed
to China, rather than to Japan. Russian President Putin has decided
that a gas pipeline the construction of which has just started,
will deliver gas to Nakhodka, thus keeping its options open: shipments
to Japan and eventually links to China and South Korea.
State-owned Rosneft has also committed to double its exports of
crude oil and participate in the running of a refinery and gas
stations in China.
Both countries are
against a monopolar world dominated by the United States, and
neither are democratic according to Western standards. They have,
for instance, taken an identical stand in protecting Iran from
However, further down in time, relations may not be as good as
foreign (and particularly American) trained managers return to
China and fail to see the attraction of a close relationship with
Russia. Also as a long term issue, Russia knows it needs the US
to keep China's ambitions at bay.
Russian exports weapons to China in 2005. However, Russia has
refrained from supplying long-range bombers equipped with missiles,
as well as other sophisticated hardware that could threaten the
US troops in the area. The two major reasons is the fear that
one day they will be turned against Russia and that they could
While the two countries have conducted joint military exercises,
Russia has indicated its intention of shoring up its Navy in the
Pacific with the building of a submarine base on the Kamchatka
The Race for Water Foundation is a charity dedicated to water
preservation. Today, this vital resource is in serious danger.
It has to be protected. To learn, share and act on our Water Footprint
and Marine Plastic Pollution are the main issues the Foundation
The "Race for
Water Odyssey" aims to create the first global assessment
of plastic pollution in oceans, by visiting islands located in
the heart of trash vortexes. These islands, which lie at the center
of the gyres, serve as a sort of natural barrier against the movement
of this waste, catching the debris and making it accumulate on
their coasts. Their beaches are therefore a representative sample
of the kinds and quantities of debris found in the surrounding
Search of Utopias
to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Quest of Iranon"
Emmanuel Koukios, Professor of Organic Technologies at
the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. His research
interests focus on the emergence of bio-economy/bio-society, approached
from technological and managerial points of view.
"Caminante no hay camino" ("Cantares "
by Antonio Machado)
In a few months, those of us who observe and try to understand
socio-technical change should celebrate the 500-year anniversary
of one of our strangest concepts, i.e., that of utopia. Indeed,
in 1516 Thomas More (1478-1535) published his famous book, titled
"De optimo statu republicae deque nova insula Utopia",
where he describes - in latin - the island of Utopia, a word he
tailored from two genuine Greek elements, the negative prefix
"u-", meaning "no" (spelled "ou"
in Greek), and the noun "topos," meaning place or location.
More's intention in making this word was to describe a place that
does not exist, but already in his synthesis we can see some problems,
to start with the correct Greek language version, which would
have been "a-topos", a term already used in logic and
mathematics to signify the proof of a wrong hypothesis.
The confusion gets worse, if we consider the proper Greek terms
describing a good place, i.e., eutopia ("eu"
meaning good, nice or happy in Greek), and a bad place, i.e.,
dystopia ("dys-" being a Greek prefix denoting
bad, sad or ugly matters). So, a (non-existing) utopia can be
either or none, depending of the case, but at the same time some
eutopias and dystopias can exist in reality, thus not being true
To cut a long story short, as our object here is not a treatise
on utopias, we can characterize the concept of utopia as wicked,
a term used by the American philosopher C. West Churchman in 1967
to describe problems difficult to solve, due to hidden factors,
complex interrelationships and other analytical obstacles. On
the other hand, dealing with wicked problems or through wicked
concepts could reveal such hidden aspects.
Despite its wickedness, or perhaps because of that, the concept
of utopia has survived the life span of the original book by Thomas
More, and has accompanied the intellectual developments of the
human world since the Renaissance, with many examples to be found
in literature, ideology, art, social science and politics. We
will mention just one that links Thomas More to Mark Twain (author
of the previous short story published in this journal): Jonathan
Swift's Gulliver Travels, according to a comment
by Isaac Asimov in his preface to an annotated edition of the
famous book (Potter, New York, 1980).
The author of the story we introduce is Howard Phillips Lovecraft,
known as H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), a great American writer.
Lovecraft was a master of the short story, posthumously recognized
for his work, especially his Chthulu mythology, a cycle of horror
stories, bridging poetry to science fiction in a terror atmosphere.
The short story The Quest of Iranon that Lovecraft wrote
in February 1921, and published several years later, forms part
of his other stories, where poetry dominates and poetic language
creates unique new worlds, full with strong - not always pleasant
I suggest that this Lovecraft story is about utopias, eutopias
and dystopias in a creative way that makes possible to the wicked
concept to help the reader "see more" (Rosana Agudo,
the capacity to 'See More' is the great adventure of our time",
Club of Amsterdam J., Issue 172, January 2015). In particular,
Iranon - the traveling singer and hero of the short story - in
his quest for a eutopia, Aira, the city of beauty and dreams,
he visits two dystopias, Teloth, a city of stern people and granite
buildings, and Oonai, a city of endless partying and shallow feelings.
For the detailed presentation of those three worlds, as well as
for the description of the travels and trajectories from city
to city, and especially for tragic outcome of Iranon's quest,
where utopia finally appears, you have to read and enjoy the whole
story. But as an appetizer, in the following three sections we
have attempted to use material from Lovecraft's own pen for a
glimpse of those three archetypical cities.
THE EUTOPIA OF
AIRA, CITY OF MARBLE AND BERYL
Aira, the city of marble and beryl, is full of beauties. The morning
sun shines bright above the many-coloured hills in summer, and
the city smells with the sweetness of flowers borne on the south
wind that makes the trees sing.
Two rivers flow through the verdant Aira valley: the glassy Nithra,
with its warm and fragrant groves, and the little Kra, with its
picturesque falls. In that beautiful valley, the children wave
wreaths for one another, and at night the curving waters reflect
a ribbon of stars.
In the city, there are palaces of veined and tinted marble, with
golden domes and painted walls, and green gardens with cerulean
pools and crystal fountains. At sunset, one could climb the long
hilly street to the citadel and the open place, and look down
upon Aira, the magic city of marble and beryl, splendid in its
robe of golden flame.
The memories of those born in Aira are of the twilight, the moon,
the soft songs, and the window where babies were rocked to sleep;
and, through the window, of the street where the golden lights
came, and where the shadows danced on the houses of marble. The
memory of that square of moonlight on the floor, not like any
other light, it is full of visions that dance in the moonbeams
while mothers sing to their babies.
The hero of the story, Iranon, was born in Aira, which he recalls
only dimly but seeks to find again. He is a singer of songs that
he learned in that far city, and his calling is to make beauty
with the things remembered of his childhood. His wealth is in
little memories and dreams, and in hopes that he will sing again
in the Aira gardens, when the moon is tender and the west wind
stirs the lotos-buds.
Aira's beauty is past imagining, and none can tell of it without
THE DYSTOPIA OF
TELOTH, THE GRANITE CITY
In the granite city of Teloth there is no laughter or song. Nothing
there is green, for all is of stone. The people are dark and stern,
dwell in square houses, and show frowns on their faces.
When the singer arrived, they did not like the colour of his robe,
nor the myrrh in his hair, nor his chaplet of vine-leaves, nor
the youth in his golden voice, but they let him sing once. While
he sang, an old man prayed and a blind man said he saw a nimbus
over the singer's head. But most of the people of Teloth yawned,
some laughed and some went away to sleep; for the artist told
them nothing useful, singing only his memories, his dreams, and
The first night, the people of Teloth lodged the visitor in a
stable; in the morning an official came to him and told him to
go and work in the cobbler's shop, and become his apprentice.
"All in Teloth must toil," explained the official, "for
that is the law." When the singer complained, the official
remained sullen, and rebuked the visitor in the following words:
a strange youth, and I do not like your face or your voice.
The words you speak are blasphemy, because the gods of Teloth
have said that toil is good. Our gods have promised us a haven
of light beyond death, where there shall be rest without end.
So, just go to the cobbler's shop or leave our city by sunset.
Here we must all serve. Singing is folly."
Iranon refused and
THE DYSTOPIA OF
OONAI, CITY OF LUTES AND DANCING
Beyond the Karthian hills lies Oonai, the city of lutes and dancing,
of which camel-drivers whisper leeringly, and find it both lovely
and terrible. At night, it has a myriad of lights, but they are
harsh and glaring, not shining softly and magically. In a city
of lutes and dancing, the visiting singer could easily find people
to whom songs and dreams bring pleasure. Rose-wreathed revellers,
bound from house to house and leaning from windows and balconies,
listened to the songs of the artist, tossing him flowers and applauding
when he was done.
Under the morning light, the domes of Oonai looked not golden
in the sun, but grey and dismal. And the people of Oonai were
not radiant, but pale with revelling and dull with wine.
In this city, the artist lived a luxurious life. They took away
the singer's tattered purple robe, and clothed him in satin and
cloth-of-gold, with rings of green jade and bracelets of tinted
ivory, They lodged him in a gilded and tapestried chamber on a
bed of sweet carven wood with canopies and coverlets of flower-embroidered
But one day the King brought to the palace some wild whirling
dancers from the desert, and dusky flute-players from the East,
and after that the revellers threw their roses only to the dancers
and the flute-players.
So, the singer put aside his silks and gauds and went out of Oonai
the city of lutes and dancing, clad only in the ragged purple
robe, in which he had come, and garlanded only with fresh vines
from the mountains. The quest goes on
Wishing you an enjoyable reading!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Is it possible to present Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a single
biographical note? Since this is the case of the author of this
introduction, let us just say that his Dr. Jekyll side includes
activities in engineering, chemistry, biotechnology, management
and economics, whereas his Mr. Hyde side combines social and ecological
sustainability studies, film critique, foresight and policy issues.
The two sides have agreed to meet from time to time at his Organic
Tech Lab at the Technical University of Athens in Greece. The
rest of time, Emmanuel, in either of his personalities, has worked
in more than 10 other places in Europe and North America, and
travelled in more than 40 countries in 5 continents, in his quest
for his Aira.
Utopia: woodcut by Ambrosius Holbein for the
1518 edition of the book by Thomas More.
The Quest of Iranon
H. P. Lovecraft
Into the granite city
of Teloth wandered the youth, vine-crowned, his yellow hair glistening
with myrrh and his purple robe torn with briers of the mountain
Sidrak that lies across the antique bridge of stone. The men of
Teloth are dark and stern, and dwell in square houses, and with
frowns they asked the stranger whence he had come and what were
his name and fortune. So the youth answered:
"I am Iranon, and come from Aira, a far city that I recall
only dimly but seek to find again. I am a singer of songs that
I learned in the far city, and my calling is to make beauty with
the things remembered of childhood. My wealth is in little memories
and dreams, and in hopes that I sing in gardens when the moon
is tender and the west wind stirs the lotos-buds."
When the men of Teloth heard these things they whispered to one
another; for though in the granite city there is no laughter or
song, the stern men sometimes look to the Karthian hills in the
spring and think of the lutes of distant Oonai whereof travellers
have told. And thinking thus, they bade the stranger stay and
sing in the square before the Tower of Mlin, though they liked
not the colour of his tattered robe, nor the myrrh in his hair,
nor his chaplet of vine-leaves, nor the youth in his golden voice.
At evening Iranon sang, and while he sang an old man prayed and
a blind man said he saw a nimbus over the singer's head. But most
of the men of Teloth yawned, and some laughed and some went away
to sleep; for Iranon told nothing useful, singing only his memories,
his dreams, and his hopes.
"I remember the twilight, the moon, and soft songs, and the
window where I was rocked to sleep. And through the window was
the street where the golden lights came, and where the shadows
danced on houses of marble. I remember the square of moonlight
on the floor that was not like any other light, and the visions
that danced in the moonbeams when my mother sang to me. And too,
I remember the sun of morning bright above the many-coloured hills
in summer, and the sweetness of flowers borne on the south wind
that made the trees sing.
"O Aira, city of marble and beryl, how many are thy beauties!
How loved I the warm and fragrant groves across the hyaline Nithra,
and the falls of the tiny Kra that flowed through the verdant
valley! In those groves and in that vale the children wove wreaths
for one another, and at dusk I dreamed strange dreams under the
yath-trees on the mountain as I saw below me the lights of the
city, and the curving Nithra reflecting a ribbon of stars.
"And in the city were palaces of veined and tinted marble,
with golden domes and painted walls, and green gardens with cerulean
pools and crystal fountains. Often I played in the gardens and
waded in the pools, and lay and dreamed among the pale flowers
under the trees. And sometimes at sunset I would climb the long
hilly street to the citadel and the open place, and look down
upon Aira, the magic city of marble and beryl, splendid in a robe
of golden flame.
"Long have I missed thee, Aira, for I was but young when
we went into exile; but my father was thy King and I shall come
again to thee, for it is so decreed of Fate. All through seven
lands have I sought thee, and some day shall I reign over thy
groves and gardens, thy streets and palaces, and sing to men who
shall know whereof I sing, and laugh not nor turn away. For I
am Iranon, who was a Prince in Aira."
That night the men of Teloth lodged the stranger in a stable,
and in the morning an archon came to him and told him to go to
the shop of Athok the cobbler, and be apprenticed to him. "But
I am Iranon, a singer of songs," he said, "and have
no heart for the cobbler's trade."
"All in Teloth must toil," replied the archon, "for
that is the law." Then said Iranon,
"Wherefore do ye toil; is it not that ye may live and be
happy? And if ye toil only that ye may toil more, when shall happiness
find you? Ye toil to live, but is not life made of beauty and
song? And if ye suffer no singers among you, where shall be the
fruits of your toil? Toil without song is like a weary journey
without an end. Were not death more pleasing?" But the archon
was sullen and did not understand, and rebuked the stranger.
"Thou art a strange youth, and I like not thy face nor thy
voice. The words thou speakest are blasphemy, for the gods of
Teloth have said that toil is good. Our gods have promised us
a haven of light beyond death, where there shall be rest without
end, and crystal coldness amidst which none shall vex his mind
with thought or his eyes with beauty. Go thou then to Athok the
cobbler or be gone out of the city by sunset. All here must serve,
and song is folly."
So Iranon went out of the stable and walked over the narrow stone
streets between the gloomy square houses of granite, seeking something
green in the air of spring. But in Teloth was nothing green, for
all was of stone. On the faces of men were frowns, but by the
stone embankment along the sluggish river Zuro sate a young boy
with sad eyes gazing into the waters to spy green budding branches
washed down from the hills by the freshets. And the boy said to
"Art thou not indeed he of whom the archons tell, who seekest
a far city in a fair land? I am Romnod, and born of the blood
of Teloth, but am not old in the ways of the granite city, and
yearn daily for the warm groves and the distant lands of beauty
and song. Beyond the Karthian hills lieth Oonai, the city of lutes
and dancing, which men whisper of and say is both lovely and terrible.
Thither would I go were I old enough to find the way, and thither
shouldst thou go an thou wouldst sing and have men listen to thee.
Let us leave the city Teloth and fare together among the hills
of spring. Thou shalt shew me the ways of travel and I will attend
thy songs at evening when the stars one by one bring dreams to
the minds of dreamers. And peradventure it may be that Oonai the
city of lutes and dancing is even the fair Aira thou seekest,
for it is told that thou hast not known Aira since old days, and
a name often changeth. Let us go to Oonai, O Iranon of the golden
head, where men shall know our longings and welcome us as brothers,
nor ever laugh or frown at what we say." And Iranon answered:
"Be it so, small one; if any in this stone place yearn for
beauty he must seek the mountains and beyond, and I would not
leave thee to pine by the sluggish Zuro. But think not that delight
and understanding dwell just across the Karthian hills, or in
any spot thou canst find in a day's, or a year's, or a lustrum's
journey. Behold, when I was small like thee I dwelt in the valley
of Narthos by the frigid Xari, where none would listen to my dreams;
and I told myself that when older I would go to Sinara on the
southern slope, and sing to smiling dromedary-men in the market-place.
But when I went to Sinara I found the dromedary-men all drunken
and ribald, and saw that their songs were not as mine, so I travelled
in a barge down the Xari to onyx-walled Jaren. And the soldiers
at Jaren laughed at me and drave me out, so that I wandered to
many other cities. I have seen Stethelos that is below the great
cataract, and have gazed on the marsh where Sarnath once stood.
I have been to Thraa, Ilarnek, and Kadatheron on the winding river
Ai, and have dwelt long in Olathoë in the land of Lomar.
But though I have had listeners sometimes, they have ever been
few, and I know that welcome shall await me only in Aira, the
city of marble and beryl where my father once ruled as King. So
for Aira shall we seek, though it were well to visit distant and
lute-blessed Oonai across the Karthian hills, which may indeed
be Aira, though I think not. Aira's beauty is past imagining,
and none can tell of it without rapture, whilst of Oonai the camel-drivers
At the sunset Iranon and small Romnod went forth from Teloth,
and for long wandered amidst the green hills and cool forests.
The way was rough and obscure, and never did they seem nearer
to Oonai the city of lutes and dancing; but in the dusk as the
stars came out Iranon would sing of Aira and its beauties and
Romnod would listen, so that they were both happy after a fashion.
They ate plentifully of fruit and red berries, and marked not
the passing of time, but many years must have slipped away. Small
Romnod was now not so small, and spoke deeply instead of shrilly,
though Iranon was always the same, and decked his golden hair
with vines and fragrant resins found in the woods. So it came
to pass one day that Romnod seemed older than Iranon, though he
had been very small when Iranon had found him watching for green
budding branches in Teloth beside the sluggish stone-banked Zuro.
Then one night when the moon was full the travellers came to a
mountain crest and looked down upon the myriad lights of Oonai.
Peasants had told them they were near, and Iranon knew that this
was not his native city of Aira. The lights of Oonai were not
like those of Aira; for they were harsh and glaring, while the
lights of Aira shine as softly and magically as shone the moonlight
on the floor by the window where Iranon's mother once rocked him
to sleep with song. But Oonai was a city of lutes and dancing,
so Iranon and Romnod went down the steep slope that they might
find men to whom songs and dreams would bring pleasure. And when
they were come into the town they found rose-wreathed revellers
bound from house to house and leaning from windows and balconies,
who listened to the songs of Iranon and tossed him flowers and
applauded when he was done. Then for a moment did Iranon believe
he had found those who thought and felt even as he, though the
town was not an hundredth as fair as Aira.
When dawn came Iranon looked about with dismay, for the domes
of Oonai were not golden in the sun, but grey and dismal. And
the men of Oonai were pale with revelling and dull with wine,
and unlike the radiant men of Aira. But because the people had
thrown him blossoms and acclaimed his songs Iranon stayed on,
and with him Romnod, who liked the revelry of the town and wore
in his dark hair roses and myrtle. Often at night Iranon sang
to the revellers, but he was always as before, crowned only with
the vine of the mountains and remembering the marble streets of
Aira and the hyaline Nithra. In the frescoed halls of the Monarch
did he sing, upon a crystal dais raised over a floor that was
a mirror, and as he sang he brought pictures to his hearers till
the floor seemed to reflect old, beautiful, and half-remembered
things instead of the wine-reddened feasters who pelted him with
roses. And the King bade him put away his tattered purple, and
clothed him in satin and cloth-of-gold, with rings of green jade
and bracelets of tinted ivory, and lodged him in a gilded and
tapestried chamber on a bed of sweet carven wood with canopies
and coverlets of flower-embroidered silk. Thus dwelt Iranon in
Oonai, the city of lutes and dancing.
It is not known how long Iranon tarried in Oonai, but one day
the King brought to the palace some wild whirling dancers from
the Liranian desert, and dusky flute-players from Drinen in the
East, and after that the revellers threw their roses not so much
at Iranon as at the dancers and the flute-players. And day by
day that Romnod who had been a small boy in granite Teloth grew
coarser and redder with wine, till he dreamed less and less, and
listened with less delight to the songs of Iranon. But though
Iranon was sad he ceased not to sing, and at evening told again
his dreams of Aira, the city of marble and beryl. Then one night
the red and fattened Romnod snorted heavily amidst the poppied
silks of his banquet-couch and died writhing, whilst Iranon, pale
and slender, sang to himself in a far corner. And when Iranon
had wept over the grave of Romnod and strown it with green budding
branches, such as Romnod used to love, he put aside his silks
and gauds and went forgotten out of Oonai the city of lutes and
dancing clad only in the ragged purple in which he had come, and
garlanded with fresh vines from the mountains.
Into the sunset wandered Iranon, seeking still for his native
land and for men who would understand and cherish his songs and
dreams. In all the cities of Cydathria and in the lands beyond
the Bnazic desert gay-faced children laughed at his olden songs
and tattered robe of purple; but Iranon stayed ever young, and
wore wreaths upon his golden head whilst he sang of Aira, delight
of the past and hope of the future.
So came he one night to the squalid cot of an antique shepherd,
bent and dirty, who kept lean flocks on a stony slope above a
quicksand marsh. To this man Iranon spoke, as to so many others:
"Canst thou tell me where I may find Aira, the city of marble
and beryl, where flows the hyaline Nithra and where the falls
of the tiny Kra sing to verdant valleys and hills forested with
yath trees?" And the shepherd, hearing, looked long and strangely
at Iranon, as if recalling something very far away in time, and
noted each line of the stranger's face, and his golden hair, and
his crown of vine-leaves. But he was old, and shook his head as
"O stranger, I have indeed heard the name of Aira, and the
other names thou hast spoken, but they come to me from afar down
the waste of long years. I heard them in my youth from the lips
of a playmate, a beggar's boy given to strange dreams, who would
weave long tales about the moon and the flowers and the west wind.
We used to laugh at him, for we knew him from his birth though
he thought himself a King's son. He was comely, even as thou,
but full of folly and strangeness; and he ran away when small
to find those who would listen gladly to his songs and dreams.
How often hath he sung to me of lands that never were, and things
that never can be! Of Aira did he speak much; of Aira and the
river Nithra, and the falls of the tiny Kra. There would he ever
say he once dwelt as a Prince, though here we knew him from his
birth. Nor was there ever a marble city of Aira, nor those who
could delight in strange songs, save in the dreams of mine old
playmate Iranon who is gone."
And in the twilight, as the stars came out one by one and the
moon cast on the marsh a radiance like that which a child sees
quivering on the floor as he is rocked to sleep at evening, there
walked into the lethal quicksands a very old man in tattered purple,
crowned with withered vine-leaves and gazing ahead as if upon
the golden domes of a fair city where dreams are understood. That
night something of youth and beauty died in the elder world.
The city faces an escalating crisis that
cannot be solved by a business as usual approach,
including the challenge of living together with great diversity
and difference, addressing the sustainability agenda, rethinking
its role and purpose to survive well economically, culturally
and socially and to manage increasing complexity. These are some
of the future priorities for creativity. Creativity needs to address
the issues that really matter globally. Curiosity, imagination
and creativity are the pre-conditions for inventions and innovations
to develop as well as to solve intractable urban problems and
to create interesting opportunities. Unleashing the creativity
of citizens, organizations and the city is an empowering process.
It harnesses potential and is a vital resource. It is a new form
of capital and a currency in its own right.
This new series of short Comedia publications seek to encapsulate
briefly, key agendas and thought movements that are shaping the
city today and have an impact on the future. The Origins &
Futures of the Creative City
is the first title and sets the platform for a series of other
A report by Europol
The Hague, the Netherlands, 2 March 2015
A decline of traditional
hierarchical criminal groups and networks will be accompanied
by the expansion of a virtual criminal underground made up of
individual criminal entrepreneurs, who come together on a project
basis. These people will lend their knowledge, experience and
expertise as part of a 'crime-as-a-service' business model. Such
dynamics can already be seen in the realm of cybercrime, but in
the future these will extend to the domain of 'traditional' organised
crime, governing crime areas such as drugs trafficking, illegal
immigration facilitation and counterfeiting of goods.
These are the main
trends detailed in Europol's newly-released report 'Exploring
tomorrow's organised crime', which identifies a series of key
driving factors that will impact the future landscape of serious
and organised crime in Europe. The report also looks at how law
enforcement authorities might counter and contain organised crime
activities over the coming years.
is dynamic and adaptable and law enforcement authorities across
the EU are challenged to keep pace with the changing nature of
this substantial and significant threat. This report - the first
of its kind for Europol - will enable us to look ahead and better
allocate resources, plan operational activities and engage with
policy- and law-makers to prevent certain types of crimes from
emerging" says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.
The report is the
outcome of Europol experts' engagement with other experts from
the private and public sectors, academia and partners in the European
law enforcement community.
Key drivers for
transportation and logistics will enable organised crime groups
to increasingly commit crime anonymously over the Internet,
anywhere and anytime, without being physically present.
and robotics will open up new markets for organised crime and
deliver new tools for sophisticated criminal schemes.
exploitation of Big Data and personal data will enable criminal
groups to carry out complex and sophisticated identity frauds
on previously unprecedented levels.
E-waste is emerging
as a key illicit commodity for organised crime groups operating
across Europe is making organised crime more socially acceptable
as organised crime groups will increasingly infiltrate economically
weakened communities, portraying themselves as providers of
work and services.
groups will increasingly attempt to infiltrate industries that
depend on natural resources, to act as brokers or agents in
increasingly enable individuals to act as freelance criminal
entrepreneurs operating on a crime-as-a-service business model
without the need for a sophisticated criminal infrastructure
to receive and launder money.
groups will increasingly target, but also provide illicit services
and goods to, a growing population of elderly people exploiting
new markets and opportunities.
Goodman is a global security
futurist and global thinker, writer and consultant focused on
the disruptive impact of advancing technologies on security, business
and international affairs. Over the past twenty years, he has
built his expertise in next generation security threats such as
cyber crime, cyber terrorism and information warfare working with
organizations such as Interpol, the United Nations, NATO, the
Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Government. Marc frequently
advises industry leaders, security executives and global policy
makers on transnational cyber risk and intelligence and has operated
in nearly seventy countries around the world.
In addition, Marc
founded the Future
to inspire and educate others on the security and risk implications
of newly emerging technologies. Marc also serves as the Global
Security Advisor and Chair for Policy and Law at Silicon Valleys
a NASA and Google sponsored educational venture dedicated to using
advanced science and technology to address humanitys grand
challenges. Marcs current areas of research include the
security implications of exponential technologies such as robotics,
artificial intelligence, the social data revolution, synthetic
biology, virtual worlds, genomics, ubiquitous computing and location-based
Since 1999, Marc
has worked extensively with INTERPOL,
the International Criminal Police Organization, headquartered
in Lyon, France where he continues to serve as a Senior Advisor
to the organizations Steering Committee on Information Technology
Crime. In that capacity, Marc has trained police forces throughout
the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia and has
chaired numerous INTERPOL expert groups on next generation security
advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways, but there
is an ominous flip side: our technology can be turned against
us. Hackers can activate baby monitors to spy on families, thieves
are analyzing social media posts to plot home invasions, and stalkers
are exploiting the GPS on smart phones to track their victims
every move. We all know todays criminals can steal identities,
drain online bank accounts, and wipe out computer servers, but
thats just the beginning. To date, no computer has been
created that could not be hackeda sobering fact given our
radical dependence on these machines for everything from our nations
power grid to air traffic control to financial services.
Yet, as ubiquitous
as technology seems today, just over the horizon is a tidal wave
of scientific progress that will leave our heads spinning. If
todays Internet is the size of a golf ball, tomorrows
will be the size of the sun. Welcome to the Internet of Things,
a living, breathing, global information grid where every physical
object will be online. But with greater connections come greater
risks. Implantable medical devices such as pacemakers can be hacked
to deliver a lethal jolt of electricity and a cars brakes
can be disabled at high speed from miles away. Meanwhile, 3-D
printers can produce AK-47s, bioterrorists can download the recipe
for Spanish flu, and cartels are using fleets of drones to ferry
drugs across borders.
With explosive insights
based upon a career in law enforcement and counterterrorism, Marc
Goodman takes readers on a vivid journey through the darkest recesses
of the Internet. Reading like science fiction, but based in science
fact, Future Crimes explores how bad actors are primed
to hijack the technologies of tomorrow, including robotics, synthetic
biology, nanotechnology, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
These fields hold the power to create a world of unprecedented
abundance and prosperity. But the technological bedrock upon which
we are building our common future is deeply unstable and, like
a house of cards, can come crashing down at any moment.
provides a mind-blowing glimpse into the dark side of technological
innovation and the unintended consequences of our connected world.
Goodman offers a way out with clear steps we must take to survive
the progress unfolding before us. Provocative, thrilling, and
ultimately empowering, Future Crimes will serve as an urgent
call to action that shows how we can take back control over our
own devices and harness technologys tremendous power for
the betterment of humanity - before its too late."