Peaceful Transitions From The Nuclear To The Solar Age

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Peaceful Transitions From The Nuclear To The Solar Age

In this column, Hazel Henderson, futurist and economic iconoclast, argues that today’s systemic breakdowns are producing new plans and breakthroughs long-proposed by futurists and planetary citizens.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida, May 23 2014 (IPS) – Japanese Buddhist and president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Daisaku Ikeda’s Peace Proposal 2014 elevated my focus from the daily news to my longer term concerns for more peaceful, equitable and sustainable human societies to assure our common future. These broader concerns are now shared by millions of humans who have transcended purely personal, local and nationalistic goals and become prototypical global citizens.

Hazel Henderson

Breakdowns in our current institutions now cause daily crises and are, as always, driving new breakthroughs as humans seek new solutions.  Stress has always been a tool of evolution – as recorded in the 3.8 billion years of life forms on our home planet.

Today’s crises are all consequences of our former myopic technological and social innovations addressing short-term problems without anticipating their system-wide longer-term effects.  This is how I became concerned about how human burning of fossil fuels and digging in the Earth for our energy which led me to join the world future society in the 1960s.  I was then leading an effort to clean New York City’s polluted air, living close by a huge coal-burning power plant pumping smoke and soot into the play park where I and other mothers watched our infants.

Fast forward to 2014, and I’m still a card-carrying futurist and on the Planning Committee of the millennium project which tracks our human family’s 15 Global Challenges.  Our latest State of the Future Report 2014 tracks where we are progressing and where we are falling short in addressing these challenges: sustainable development and climate change; water; population and resources; democratisation; long-term policy making; globalisation of information technology; rich-poor gap; health; decision-making capacities; conflict resolution; improving the status of women; transnational organised crime; energy; science and technology, and global ethics.  This millennium project has participants from academia, government, civic society and businesses in fifty countries.