Do you sense it? A great storm is rising. The world is changing in unprecedented ways. Life on earth is transforming. We face a cascading series of global crises.

Climate change, covid, and conflicts without end are causing social unrest, financial instability, food insecurity, and unprecedented refugee flows. These are only a few of the dozens of global stressors and the immense array of consequences for people and planet—and only a few of the human and planetary results.

Environmental, social, technological & economic stressors are interacting with increasing velocity. Their combined impact is causing unpredictable future shocks of increasing force.

This turbulent time has many names. Biologists call it “the 6th great extinction.” Politicians and diplomats refer to it as “cascading crises.” Some call it “ecosocial collapse.” Others call it “the great unraveling,” “the meta-crisis,” “the great turning,” “the great simplification,” and “the end of the world as we know it.” We call it the global polycrisis. It doesn’t matter what we call it. What matters is that we recognize it for what it is.

A great storm is rising.

 

Can we ride out the storm?

We can’t escape the storm. But can we ride it out? Can humanity at least survive? Can we build a better world on the other side?

We can try our best to channel the polycrisis in better directions. Whatever course the storm takes, we inevitably need to navigate it. That requires understanding it. We need better maps both to navigate and to try to steer toward better outcomes.

While the storm rages, we can also hold the hope—however fragile it may appear—that humanity may find its way to a better world. Gramsci called this “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

It may indeed be a fragile hope. But it is deeply worth holding.

 

A new stage in human consciousness?

Are these the birth pangs of a new stage in human consciousness? Is this the birth of an eco-techonological age? Might we evolve toward continental networks of cooperating bioregional economies? Might we re-discover what it means to be human? Might we find our way to an age of people living in harmony with life on earth?

The great Czech playwright and politician Vaclav Havel had a simple phrase for what we face. He said there was a difference between optimism and hope. Optimism, he said, was the belief that things will go well. Hope, by contrast, he said, is a deep orientation of the human soul that can be held in the darkest of times.

These are times when optimism may fail us. They 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 what we are about. We hope we find ways to explore and connect with you.

 

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.

Adam Tooz

Interconnected Stressors

Environmental

  • 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

  • Poverty
  • Racism
  • Social injustice
  • Population growth
  • Resource scarcity
  • Refugee crises
  • Pandemics
  • Fertility decline
  • Dysfunctional geopolitics
  • Failing states
  • War & nuclear threats
  • Terrorism
  • Vulnerable power grids

Finanancial & Economic

  • Inflation
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Externalizing environmental & social costs
  • The global debt overhang
  • Unparalleled quantitative easing
  • Inequality built into the global system
  • Unsustainable economic growth

Technological

  • 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