Exploring Alternative Futures in the Anthropocene

Cork, Steven, Alexandra, Carla, Alvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Bennett, Elena M., Berbés-Blázquez, Marta, Bohensky, Erin, Bok, Barbara, Costanza, Robert, Hashimoto, Shizuka, Hill, Rosemary, Inayatullah, Sohail, Kok, Kasper, Kuiper, Jan J., Moglia, Magnus, Pereira, Laura, Peterson, Garry, Weeks, Rebecca, and Wyborn, Carina (2023) Exploring Alternative Futures in the Anthropocene. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 48. pp. 25-54.

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Many challenges posed by the current Anthropocene epoch require fundamental transformations to humanity’s relationships with the rest of the planet. Achieving such transformations requires that humanity improve its understanding of the current situation and enhance its ability to imagine pathways toward alternative, preferable futures. We review advances in addressing these challenges that employ systematic and structured thinking about multiple possible futures (futures-thinking). Over seven decades, especially the past two, approaches to futures-thinking have helped people from diverse backgrounds reach a common understanding of important issues, underlying causes, and pathways toward optimistic futures. A recent focus has been the stimulation of imagination to produce new options. The roles of futures-thinking in breaking unhelpful social addictions and in conflict resolution are key emerging topics. We summarize cognitive, cultural, and institutional constraints on the societal uptake of futures-thinking, concluding that none are insurmountable once understood.

Item ID: 81231
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1545-2050
Keywords: anticipation, cognition, future visions, futures, imagination, scenarios, transformation
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2023 Swinburne University of Technology and by the author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See credit lines of images or other third-party material in this article for license information
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DE2001922
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2023 23:09
FoR Codes: 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330404 Land use and environmental planning @ 50%
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330408 Strategic, metropolitan and regional planning @ 25%
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330401 Community planning @ 25%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280108 Expanding knowledge in economics @ 30%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280111 Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences @ 60%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1902 Environmental policy, legislation and standards > 190299 Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified @ 10%
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