by Gitte Larsen, Director, House of Futures

We realize that when we put our minds to it, we can develop technologies, organizations, political institutions, and business models that allow us to prosper in ways that do not jeopardize planet Earth. Collectively, we are approaching a state of global stewardship in which we manage our planet rationally, like any sensible landowner would his property.

This is the synopsis of Scenario #1: Man-made world, in the project In 100 years – starting now that considers and creates ideas for futures that are possible and preferable.

We have most of the knowledge we need in order to create sustainable societies, and yet there are no real experts. We are the first generation to design a whole new planet and a more sustainable lifestyle, and we may well be the last generation to have a choice. Why isn’t it happening much faster and what does the future we want look like?

During 2011 - 2012, the project “In 100 years – starting now” has involved almost 200 public and private decision makers, researchers and practitioners from various fields within sustainability. The main conclusion from this one-year project is that we need positive visions, mind shift, interdisciplinary co-creation and a long-term outlook. All these elements are the software in the societal, educational, cultural, social and spiritual transformation processes we are entering, whether we like it or not. Many tend to forget the necessity to work on both the internal and the external human environment, while others work either only top-down or bottom-up. We neglect the importance of all the elements or perspectives and specially the people’s interior – our values, mindsets and “ways of knowing” – in our attempts to contribute to a sustainable development. We don’t even share perceptions of what nature, human or sustainability is.

Today, we are living in the Anthropocene, or “the Age of Man” where humans, as the most dominant species ever, have gained access to almost every square meter on planet Earth. We have won, or have we? Even though we might be ready to manage our planet rationally by tomorrow, this is not the only way forward.

Scenario #2: Power of Nature shows another mindset to approaching a sustainable future: “We realize that everything is nature, and so are we. We are one with Mother Earth, and we share a common biology and collective consciousness. On a deeper level, these are the sources of meaning that we all tap into, regardless of nationality, religion or culture.”

The future is never a given thing. Especially not so when it is run by humans.

Read more about the 'In 100 years' scenarios here.