The world is changing in unprecedented ways. Climate change, covid, and conflicts without end are causing social unrest, financial instability, food insecurity, and unprecedented refugee flows.
People are calling this the polycrisis. Where is it going? Is this the birth of a new stage in human evolution? Or are we facing a future of environmental and social decline or even collapse?
Or will the future hold some complex mixture of positive and negative trends?
There are optimists, pessimists, and “possibilists.” We truly don’t know.
What exactly is the polycrisis?
This is what we know. Dozens of environmental, social, technological, and economic stressors are interacting with increasing velocity. Their combined impact is causing unpredictable future shocks of greater intensity.
This polycrisis has many names. Biologists speak of “the 6th great extinction.” Politicians describe “cascading crises.” In Latin America it’s called “eco-social collapse.” The French speak of “collapsologie.” Others call it “the great unraveling,” “the great turning,” “the great simplification,” or “the end of the world as we know it.”
Some truly believe we can harness the power of technology in the service of a better future for people and planet.
Maps to steer towards better outcomes
We can’t escape the polycrisis. We can seek to channel it in more positive directions. We inevitably need to navigate it. We need better maps to try to steer toward better outcomes.
That’s why we’ve come together through Omega. We need to chart new ways to live in and respond to these times. We hope that we can work together to understand each other and, where possible, find common cause.
These are times when optimism is failing us. These are times that call for hope – hope and courage to face our times and bend the arc of history toward compassion and justice.
That’s why we came together through Omega. We hope to find new ways to navigate these times. And we hope that we can work together to understand each other and, where possible, to find common cause.
A polycrisis is not just a situation where you face multiple crises. It is a situation… where the whole is even more dangerous than the sum of the parts.
- Climate crisis
- Sea-level rise, ocean warming, plankton depletion, overfishing
- Changing weather patterns
- Biodiversity loss rate 10,000 times normal
- Toxification of all life
- Insect Armageddon
- Ocean acidification, dead zones
- Plastics pollution
- Depletion of fish & plankton
- Declining fresh water
- Water pollution
- Depleted topsoils
- Vanishing forests
- Ozone depletion
- COVID and future pandemics
- Social injustice
- Population growth
- Resource scarcity
- Refugee crises
- Fertility decline
- Dysfunctional geopolitics
- Failing states
- War & nuclear threats
- Vulnerable power grids
Financial & Economic
- Supply chain disruption
- Externalizing environmental & social costs
- The global debt overhang
- Unparalleled quantitative easing
- Inequality built into the global system
- Unsustainable economic growth
- Uncontrolled technologies: artificial intelligence (AI), biotech, nanotech & robotics
- Displacement of people by robots
- Cyber threats
- Big Data threats to democracy, privacy & human rights
- Modification of the human germline
- Electromagnetic frequency (EMF) pollution