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The corporation is at a crossroads. The businesses that we have grown up with and the business models that underpin them face deep challenges. They are being reconstructed, from within and without, by pervasive technology. Their values, and the values associated with work and the workplace, are increasingly being questioned. Their model of resource use, of “use it and throw it out,” is increasingly running up against constraints of supply costs. New ways of designing and managing businesses, and new business models, are inevitable. Changes in values are always one of the biggest sources of social transformation. One of the most significant changes in values at present is the shift towards wellbeing, at both a personal and public policy level.
A movement is emerging in many places, under many guises: New Economy (or Economies), Regenerative Economy, Solidarity Economy, Next Economy, Caring Economy, Sharing Economy, Thriving Resilience, Community Resilience, Community Economics, Oppositional Economy, High Road Economy, and other names. It’s a movement to replace the default economy of excess, control, and exploitation with a new economy based on respecting biophysical constraints, preferring decentralization, and supporting mutuality. This movement is a sign of the growing recognition that what often are seen as separate movements—environment, social justice, labor, democracy, indigenous rights—are all deeply interconnected, particularly in the way that the current economic system is a root cause of much that they seek to change.
Lecture at Harvard University on Great Transition core concepts by GTI Director Paul Raskin. The Great Transition Initiative is an online forum of ideas and an international network for the critical exploration of concepts, strategies, and visions for a transition to a future of enriched lives, human solidarity, and a resilient biosphere.
This report explores the pressures on the global food system between now and 2050. It identifies the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to 9 billion or more can be fed in a fair and sustainable way. The Project has identified and analysed five key challenges for the future. Addressing these in a pragmatic way that promotes resilience to shocks and future uncertainties will be vital if major stresses to the food system are to be anticipated and managed. The five challengesare: A. Balancing future demand and supply sustainably – to ensure that food supplies are affordable. B. Ensuring that there is adequate stability in food supplies – and protecting the most vulnerable from the volatility that does occur. C. Achieving global access to food and ending hunger. This recognises that producing enough food in the world so that everyone can potentially be fed is not the same thing as ensuring food security for all D. Managing the contribution of the food system to the mitigation of climate change. E. Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services while feeding the world. These last two challenges recognise that food production already dominates much of the global land surface and water bodies, and has a major impact on all the Earth’s environmental systems.
Decoupling human well-being from resource consumption is at the heart of the Interantional Resource Panel’s (IRP) mandate. It is also at the heart of the Green Economy Initiative of UNEP that has just produced an impressive report on the Green Economy (February 2011). The conceptual framework for decoupling and understanding of the instrumentalities for achieving it are still in an infant stage. The IRP plans to carry out a series of investigations on decoupling, each of which will result in a report. The reports will aim to support the Green Economy Initiative and also to stimulate appropriate policies and action at global, national and local levels. This first report is simply an attempt to scope the challenges. The report presents basic facts and figures on natural resource flows worldwide. Four country studies embedded in the report show that consumption of natural resources is still rising rapidly. Drawing on these data, the report attempts to outline the issues that now need to be addressed to decouple these material and energy flows from social and economic progress.
Children’s well-being is a key dimension of sustainable development and social resilience; it is about our present and our future. It requires recognition as a central building block of the European policy agenda. In Europe we do not invest enough in our children. The European Union does not have a children’s policy- nor do many countries. Children have weak or no political representation and most countries and institutions do not offer children and young people the opportunity to have their voice heard and participate in decision-making. Children and youth are particularly hard hit by the financial insecurities in present day Europe – their future is at stake. But we should not continue as in the past and we do not need more of the same. Most societies are not creative and daring enough in affecting changes for the well-being of children. We require a vibrant debate on what childhood means at the beginning of the 21st century. We need to radically shift our mindsets and transform how we think about children, learning, health, education and society. We are advocating for a paradigm shift that will: - Consider children as competent partners, nurturing personal responsibility more than compliance - Understand learning not only as a cognitive, but as an integral process with many dimensions. - Move from disease and treatment centred healthcare to promoting health and well-being. - Move from standardized education to child centred education. - Move from sectoral to systemic solutions in policy and society. There is no policy maker that does not underscore the sentenced “children are our future – we must invest in them”. Yet the action that is needed rarely follows, despite the negative economic and social consequences for individuals, communities and society at large.
The way we produce and consume food has significant impacts on biodiversity, water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Continuing with the current approach is neither desirable nor feasible. That’s why we’ve developed a vision for a global food system that could feed over seven billion people by 2020 in a resource-constrained world. The report outline a number of scenarios and assess how well each could deliver a low-carbon and sustainable food system by 2020. The results, and our detailed literature review, cover a huge range of subjects – from finance to changes in land use. The report shows that there are sustainable options that’ll set us on the path to a brighter future.
A healthy planet is our life-support system. Not only does it give us food, but also clean air, a stable climate and fresh water. Yet the natural world we depend on is in crisis, its ability to sustain life is under threat. But we can change things for the better. What's the problem? Our planet is our life-support system providing us with all we need to survive. Yet human activity is wrecking it - which in turn affects its ability to support us. In our free booklet we explain why a healthy planet matters to our existence and what nature's systems do for us. 
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s Government Report on the Future explores Finland’s long-term future challenges and opportunities, as well as outlines the Government’s common vision of the future we are seeking to build. The report homes in on the keys to sustainable growth that will secure wellbeing in the period up to 2030. It also focuses on the leading edge of new activities which require attention now and in the future. The Government Report on the Future focusing on well-being based on sustainable growth includes decisions in principle, based on which concrete steps can be taken in various areas of society.
The planetary phase of history has begun, but its ultimate shape is profoundly uncertain. Will global development veer toward a world of impoverished people, cultures and nature? Or will there be a Great Transition toward a future of enriched lives, human solidarity and environmental sustainability? These questions are addressed in the path-breaking essay Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead. Paul Raskin, Tellus President, is lead author of this examination of the possibilities for a sustainable and desirable world. The essay describes the historic roots, current dynamics, future perils, and alternative pathways for world development. It advances one of these paths, Great Transition, as the preferred route, identifying strategies, agents of change, and values for a new global agenda. The essay's appraisal of the current global crossroads is disquieting. Conventional development is perilous, while the reform path to a sustainable future is problematic and uncertain. Yet, it shows that a fundamental change of direction is still possible. Progressive elements of civil society, government, international organizations, and business can forge a new sustainability paradigm, an alternative vision of globalization centered on the quality of life, human solidarity, environmental resilience, and an informed and engaged citizenry.
This paper is part of a broad effort to elaborate an inspiring and rigorous global visión for the future, and to identify a path forward. The paper has three major sections. The background section highlights data and findings relevant to the pursuit of well-being. The vision section describes a world in which successful pursuit of well-being in the norm. Finally, the pathways section articulates a multi-part strategy to foster interest in time affluence and to support its pursuit.
Cities are ecosystems. And, as our world rapidly urbanizes, we are creating civic laboratories where experiments to enhance and tinker with well-being may lead to new innovations. But these attempts to expand our capacity for well-being are also colliding with unprecedented health threats and imbalances. We are living longer but getting sicker. Although we are spending more on health care every day, improvements in health have stalled in many places. And across the globe, more people are struggling with obesity, even as malnourishment continues to increase. We stand at the edge of a decade when many of the basic inputs to well-being—strong social connections, good physical health, and access to basic necessities like food and water—are increasingly threatened. The evolution of ecosystems will present us with incredible possibilities—and tremendous uncertainty. To understand the possibilities and prepare for the uncertainties, you need to think systematically about truly different futures, and across different scales. This map, Ecosystems of Well-Being in 4 Futures: Alternative Future Scenarios in 2021, presents four forecasts, each of which highlights how a different shape of change—growth, constraint, collapse, and transformation—could remake health and well-being over the next decade. These scenarios, which are self-contained, plausible depictions of future worlds, can help you think systemically to create resilient strategies for different possible futures.
Green Health is emerging from the convergence of the global health economy and the growing public recognition of the imperative for global sustainability. This convergence is visible in the two distinct ways in which our concept of “health” has expanded. We are managing, preserving, and enhancing our health in ways that include underlying causes of well-being and the interrelated systems of our lives, such as where we live, how we work, what groups we are part of, and so on. At the same times many conscientious citizens are beginning to realize that the sustainability of our life on the planet is not a given, that what we do affects the planet in a fundamental way. Keeping our planetalive is not just the purview of heavy industry—the responsibility belongs to all of us. To truly understand these shifts, we dig deep into the historical roots of green health, and examine the drivers behind why Green Health is emerging today. We present our forecasts for Green Health over the next ten years by viewing them through six lenses—six defining points-of-view that help us focus on the effects of Green Health for the future of health and healthcare. These six lenses and their forecasts are a tool for navigating the proliferating experiments of Green Health.
In 2010, the Health Horizons Program set out to systematically explore the future of science, technology, and well-being. The research was designed to inspire you to consider new possibilities, such as how technology can enable us to remake our bodies and minds; how social networks can be programmed to improve our individual and collective well-being; and how technology can provide us with high-resolution previews of the health risks and assets in our day-to-day environment. The 2010 Future of Science, Technology and Well-Being materials offer a guide to this landscape of possibilities, as well as tools to help you develop responses in light of these long-range possibilities.