A New Kind of Eden
A New Kind of Eden
What would a sustainable future look like? This chapter explores three 50-year scenarios of how we may develop a globally sustainable society and what each might foretell for national parks. Professional foresight, or “futurism,” surveys the dynamics of change across disciplines in order to construct scenarios of future changes to society. Foresight scenarios are not intended to be predictions, but examinations of different ways in which current trends and likely future developments may co-evolve. Such scenarios can illuminate options and highlight unexpected challenges for decision-makers. In this endeavor, scenarios of success can be as useful as scenarios of risk. The narratives in this chapter consider a future for national parks in three scenarios; each attempts to illustrate how we might succeed in overcoming the global sustainability crisis, in direct response to the dominance of apocalyptic narratives in popular discussions of sustainability. The first describes a future in which sustainability emerges from increased control over the economy by global institutions. The second describes a future in which, subsequent to a global climate disaster, civil society creates new institutions through open-source and collaborative tools. The third describes a future in which radical technological developments allow for unprecedented social, economic, and environmental transformation.
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