What futurists can contribute to the battle against climate change

Bart Édes
3 min readNov 26, 2023
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

I write this time from Dubai, where I will be attending the world’s largest annual gathering of futurists. The event is taking place as tens of thousands of delegates descend on the Arabian Peninsula for the next UN Climate Change Conference — COP 28.

Futurists are people who study and imagine the future, predicting and exploring different possible future that could emerge from the present. They are not fortune-tellers or prophets, but rather analysts and visionaries who use data, trends, and creativity to anticipate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Futurists can contribute to efforts to control climate change and to steer the world on to a more sustainable path in several ways.

First, futurists can help raise awareness and inspire action on climate change by creating compelling narratives and images of the future that show the consequences of our current choices and the benefits of alternative solutions. Futurists can use storytelling, art, design, and media to communicate the urgency and complexity of the climate crisis, as well as the potential for innovation and transformation.

The looming threat of climate change can paralyze us with fear and despair. We may feel helpless and hopeless, as if nothing we do can possibly make a significant difference. But futurists show us that the future is not fixed, but fluid. They paint vivid pictures of different futures, not only the dark and dismal ones, but also the bright and beautiful ones. They show us that we have the power and responsibility to shape the future we want by making wise and bold choices today.

Second, futurists can help identify and promote the technological, social, and political innovations that can help mitigate and adapt to climate change. Futurists can scan the horizon for emerging trends and signals of change, and analyze their potential impacts and implications for the future. They can also propose and test new ideas and solutions that address underlying causes and systemic challenges of climate change, such as carbon emissions, energy consumption, resource depletion, and inequality. Some are researching how natural and human systems are changing each other, and what those changes mean for us.

--

--

Bart Édes

Author of Learning from Tomorrow: Using Strategic Foresight to Prepare for the Next Big Disruption