Fifteen Questions to Save Earth

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If you have ever asked yourself one of the following questions, August 1st will bring you answers:

  • 1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change?
  • 2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?
  • 3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?
  • 4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?
  • 5. How can policymaking be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives?
    Futurism, photo: Adam Kang/flickr
    Futurism, photo: Adam Kang/flickr

  • 6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?
  • 7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor?
  • 8. How can the threat of new and reemerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced?
  • 9. How can the capacity to decide be improved as the nature of work and institutions change?
  • 10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction?
  • 11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition?
  • 12. How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises?
  • 13. How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?
  • 14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?
  • 15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

On August 1st, the Millennium Project’s “State of the Future” report will be released, commenting in extenso on these 15 most pressing global challenges. And many more.

Founded in 1992 by the United Nations University and the Smithsonian Institution (among others), the Millennium Project declares itself “a global participatory futures research think-tank organized as an independent, interdisciplinary, transinstitutional, and multicultural information system, providing an international capacity for early warning and analysis of global long-range issues, opportunities, and strategies”.

Now you already get an idea of how to make a short story long.

But never judge a book by its cover. Even if it comprises 6,700 pages and is published annually which makes around 18 pages of continous reading a day or 446 pages to answer one of the 15 questions addressed. Even if it is no book and you would have to print it out since most of it is delivered on CD (probably a subtle statement against deforestation). And even if the Millenium Project’s website looks so dowdy as if it hasn’t changed since 1992. Authoritative futurism starts right there. And well, 17 years from now that CD probably is no longer readable, so let us not become nostalgic about the future and better start reading.

“Ridiculing idealism is shortsighted, but idealism without the rigors of pessimism is misleading. We need very hardheaded idealists who can look into the worse and best of humanity and can create and implement strategies of success.”

Are you a hardheaded idealist, too?

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