The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead An introduction to Tellus’ typology of scenarios — Conventional Worlds, Barbarization, and Great Transitions.
The Great Transition Today:
A Report from the Future Written from the perspective of a historian in 2084, this paper reflects upon life in a Great Transition society.
A Framework for Exploring Global Pathways A theory of world development, systemic crisis, human choice, and the global trajectory.
The Century Ahead: Searching for Sustainability Simulations of four contrasting futures.
Principles for a New Economy
Written by a Working Group of the New Economy Network, the Principles guide actions for a transition to a sustainable New Economy.
Visions of Regional Economies in a Great Transition World
Explores approaches for Reinventing economies in the twenty-first century.
Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren: Progress and Prospects After 75 years Revisits John Maynard Keynes essay speculating on the prospects for a post-scarcity society in the twenty-first century context
The quest for a sustainable civilization challenges us to stretch our imaginations and enrich our understanding. It invites a systemic, long-range, and multi-scale perspective for weaving together social and environmental themes, arching over decades to connect “now” with “then”, and bringing global, regional, and local realities into focus. Conventional analysis delves deeply into discrete aspects of this integrated problem but often is too fragmented for holistic assessments of the development possibilities of integrated human and environmental systems.
Tellus Institute has pioneered integrated scenario analysis by blending vision and science, the qualitative and the quantitative. We have conducted hundreds of scenario studies in partnership with stakeholders in communities, river basins, regions, and nations throughout the world. These projects bring rigorous methods to a normative task: exploring plausible futures of greater environmental stewardship and social equity, identifying strategies for redirecting development, and motivating action for sustainable futures. Scenarios, narratives and quantifications encourage collective consideration of fundamental questions: Where are we going? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
With the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Tellus Institute convened the influential Global Scenario Group in 1995 to examine alternative futures and the requirements for a transition to sustainability, a process that continues on an expanded scale through the Institute’s Great Transition Initiative network. This path-breaking effort continues through enhancement of scenario narratives and updates of quantitative results.
Click graphic for scenario descriptions.
By the Numbers
Tellus has quantified four of these scenarios in great detail: Market Forces, Policy Reform, Fortress World and Great Transitions.
Click graphics below to explore scenario results:
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The scenario quantifications utilize our PoleStar System. Where conventional projections offer only a narrow aperture on the terrain of the future, PoleStar widens the lens by including discontinuous developments and revised notions of human well-being. PoleStar invites the user to imagine alternative social visions and explore paths that lead there.