Date & Time: 
Wednesday 24 September 2014

Will the future be hopeful or hopeless? Optimists point out that every year humanity becomes better educated, wealthier and more interconnected. In contrast, pessimists warn that business as usual is unsustainable: catastrophic climate change and increasing shortages of water, food and cheap energy will collapse human civilizations by mid-century.
Is one forecast right and the other wrong? Or can we reconcile these opposing views?

The key to understanding future developments is recognising that the two major trends shaping global events - one leading to systemic collapse and the other to transformation - are interconnected. Growing economic and environmental crises will soon reach tipping points that focus public attention on the existence of both serious problems and viable solutions. Then (and only then) will most people take action.

These dynamics allow us to make general predictions. Over the next ten to twenty years the global situation is likely to progress through a number of overlapping phases: from overshoot to contraction and deepening crises, and then to emergency mobilisation and transformation. However, good leadership will be needed to ensure a happy ending. The future is not fixed: it is our choice.

This presentation will identify critical global trends, probable timelines, tipping points, consequences and options. It will examine the economic, political and security threats posed by growing resource shortages, climate change, failing ecosystems and increasing inequity. The main themes will be the likely impacts of constructive and destructive disruptive (non-linear) developments; why unsustainable social systems must either evolve environmentally relevant structures or collapse; and the need for a viable transformational strategy.

About the Speaker

Dr Graeme Taylor is the Coordinator of BEST Futures ( and an Adjunct Research Fellow with Griffith University's Environmental Futures Research Institute. He is the author of Evolution's Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World, which won the 2009 IPPY Gold Medal for "the book most likely to save the planet".

Global Change Institute Seminar Room 275
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