Article – Future of Terranascient Futures Studies & Foresight

Welcome to a Future of Terranascient Futures Studies & Foresight by Teresa Inés Cruz

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Futurist Alvin Toffler famously said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” It is time for the foresight community to take Toffler’s sage advice, starting with one basic assumption of the Western futurist perspective that dates back to the Victorians: progress.

As we move towards a precipice of life destroying planetary and human limitations, we are proposing a shift in our approach to creating future scenarios by transitioning from dominant colonized structures of process and output and turn towards an awakened sense where we imagine new possibilities for our future ancestors and engage in nature-based and Indigenous sensemaking.

The first theme is sustainability and re-generativity. Having reached several thresholds for ecological stability, we are at a “do or die” juncture in terms of sustaining life on earth.

The second theme is diversity and inclusion.

Futurism has promoted primarily white, male voices for nearly a century and has become a self-limiting element in the world of foresight that quashes competing visions that challenge the status quo. Diversity and Inclusion needs to incorporate not only different knowledge systems including Indigenous worldviews based on collective intelligence, but it also needs to integrate a new range of contributors of different geographies and ages.

The futurists of the world struggle to convey positive and optimistic scenarios that encourage humane action. Too much of the foresight profession is concerned with generating profits at the expense of worldwide mental and biological health. To move past the dark shadows of existential threats such as COVID-19, climate crises, and economic inequality, futurists must embrace an obligation to insist that things can get better.

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