What is a good Anthropocene? How do people describe and what solutions are some solutions they’ve shared?

These definitions of ‘Good Anthropocenes were submitted to goodanthropocene.net in South Africa as part of their worldwide seeds effort.  Reviewing, discussing and adding your perspective is a great activity for groups of any size, down to families, households, congregations, communities and neighborhoods.

Use and management of natural resources occurs at the level, and traditional knowledge on which can build on is often held by local communities. Thus an additional attribute would be a approach: local communities understand their landscapes and consider strategy to improve their landscapes. Considering the interconnectedness among various social and ecological elements that supports sustainability of landscapes, would be also another attribute.

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Collaborative mentality towards generating sustainable solutions to generic issues that make the world a better place to inhabit by enhancing basic human needs without negative impacts on the rest of the Earth system – a kind of ‘team Earth’ or ‘have it all’ inclusive mentality. If this could be achieved, attributes of a good anthropocene would be emergent properties rather than goals to achieve from the outset.

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A Good Anthropocene is one where humans have learned to handle their immense collective power over the planet and all living and non-living things on Earth responsibly. That implies developing very different norms and ideas for our interactions with each other and the non-human world – basically inventing new models for societies, economies and cultures. That process begins with good ideas for alternative models – innovative ways of thinking, esp. thinking about time and values.

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Good Anthropocenes engage social-ecological systems toward simultaneously improving human welfare while reducing environmental pollution and degradation and expanding and improving wildlife habitats. In good Anthropocenes, future generations look back on past generations with appreciation for their environmental management and their investment in the future.

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Equality is central, also to human well-being and a less predatory use of planetary resources. Yet current tendencies is for greater inequality. In a good Anthropocene, decision making is strongly informed and truly participatory and democratic. Information structures need to be changed to limit the influence of elite interests. One way to achieve that may, once again, be through citizen panels.

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Respect other knowledge systems than scientific and technical one, space for expressing emotions (not only rationality), room for other communication tools than voice or writing — use of arts as a tool for driving emotions

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As an institutional scholar, I believe that rules matter a lot. Our capacities to create a “good Anthropocene” are not only dependent on getting the science right, and designing smart enough infrastructure, and technologies. It is also dependent on our abilities to create institutions – local, national, international – that are adaptive, able to address thresholds and surprise, and perceived as legitimate.

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A good Anthropocene harnesses human creativity and passion to see the opportunities in the midst of great challenges. It inspires collaboration towards common fundamental goals (a fair, ethical, sustainable world for everyone) through innovative means- sometimes using fancy technology, and sometimes through simple re-imagination. People are the heart of a good Anthropocene, and to make it work, they must be informed but more importantly, engaged and inspired to act.

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Cross-sector collaboration in pursuit of addressing complex social-ecological problems is key

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A good anthropocene, according to me implies letting hundred flowers bloom, why SSNC in combination with other, possibly more radical organizations play different important contributions. For instance, we need also networks that can act more rapidly the very democratic organizations. So I guess values such as diversity (of cultures, methods, means of communication etc.), speaking openly about values, using art in creative ways (partly to stimulate feelings and intuitive reactions (what is right?), serious philosophical discussions and considerations of life (what do we leave for our children, the meaning of life etc.).

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A planet in which more people live comfortable lives.

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A necessity in times of global change is awareness of uncertainty and surprise. This includes the will to experiment, innovate and learn within and between different knowledge systems and cultures. One of the root causes of our inability to make progress is that we live in a society where academia, media, law and politics cast complex problems as polar opposites.

To help build a shared vision of where our society wants to go and initiate a broad agreement about how to get there, we need an improved dialogue culture across cultures and interests. Good contact between practitioners’ reality, science and policy is required in order to enable successful policy decisions and recommendations and their further implementation at national and local levels.

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As highlighted by the “Oxfam donut”, the challenges of the Anthropocene require integrated solutions to address connected problems. It is a case of scaling innovation, a social-ecological innovation, beyond communities and nation states and creating solutions that have an impact at scales that matter in the Anthropocene. It highlights the need to address social-ecological-technological systems’ interactions and to fundamentally change human-environmental interactions and feedbacks. It shows the need to understand distributed agency and how different ideas are combined and recombined, bricolage, in the scaling process. This includes how agents of change navigate opportunity contexts and use the adjacent possible in order to achieve large-scale, systemic change.

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  • resilient (being able to cope with and reorganize following surprise and disruption)
  • diverse: containing many different ways of valuing, doing and responding to things
  • fun: people should be able to enjoy themselves and imagine enjoying themselves
  • learning: the anthropocene will be surprising and will require continual learning, social support and trust: learning and diversity require extra amounts of social support and trust, to help people learn and recover after failures and to communicate and learn from differences in practices, standards and values

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The preconditions required for a good Anthropocene defined as improved well-being for all and a sustainable planet are: Equality, Democracy, Education. The driver that will do most to achieve this is: connectivity

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A Good Anthropocene would have a:

  • systems orientation
  • multi scalar character
  • strong socio cultural connotations – but also technology and institutional innovations embedded
  • high level of popular support and knowledge in the debate on the issues
  • combinations of bottom-up and top-down approaches

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In a Good Anthropocene, dangerous, limited economic thinking and policies, as well as geopolitical zero-sum strategizing, have been overcome through new forms of education and communication, building on powerful examples that demonstrate alternative futures in the here and now in a way that is experientially powerful and empowering, triggering action and out-scaling. Neuroscience has provided insights that have triggered (often controversial) initiatives to help cultivate more emotional maturity, world-view openness and less status-driven behavior, with the more benign programs, focused on self-initiated, elasticity-based learning feedbacks through brain monitoring, being the most successful, in particular through enabling a culture of more reflexive leadership across many sectors.

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The following are collections of exciting and inspiring solutions to Anthropocene Challenges. If you know of other collections of solutions to global challenges, please contact us.

The Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals UN online platform that collects several thousand initiatives and projects that support the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnerships/

Sustainia – Building the World of Tomorrow Sustainia is a think tank and consultancy headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. We identify readily available sustainability solutions across the world and demonstrate their potential impacts and benefits in our work with cities, companies, and communities. By focusing on innovative breakthroughs, inspiring alternatives and new opportunities, Sustainia is shaping a new narrative of optimism and hope for a sustainable future that seeks to motivate instead of scaring people with gloom and doomsday scenarios. http://www.sustainia.me/

100 city solutions for a greener and fairer future: http://solutions.sustainia.me/cities/

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Beautiful Solutions – This Changes Everything

Beautiful solutions gathers the most promising and contagious strategies for building a more just, democratic and resilient world

https://solutions.thischangeseverything.org/

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#itshappening: real signs of a brighter future

http://www.1010uk.org/itshappening

This is a story of things going right. We’re collecting signs of the shift to a low carbon world: find your favourite and shout it from the rooftops.

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The Story of Solutions

http://storyofstuff.org/movies/the-story-of-solutions/

The Story of Solutions, released in October 2013, explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal. In the current ‘Game of More’, we’re told to cheer a growing economy – more roads, more malls, more Stuff! – even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting. But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn’t more, but better – better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet? Shouldn’t that be what winning means?

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Solutions for a sustainable and desirable future

http://thesolutionsjournal.org/

Solutions is a non-profit print and online publication devoted to showcasing bold and innovative ideas for solving the world’s integrated ecological, social, and economic problems.

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Buckminster Fuller Institute Idea Index

http://challenge-old.bfi-internal.org/ideaindex

The Idea Index serves as a tool to educate, network, and help solve problems. As an educational tool, the Index is full of hopeful, exciting ideas and solutions to pressing global problems. As a networking tool, the Index allows site visitors to contact the project leaders, leave a constructive and/or encouraging comment and connect with one another. It presents a fully searchable database of socially-responsible initiatives, in all stages of development, in need of further funding and support.

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AskNature Collections

http://www.asknature.org/collections#menuPopup

AskNature Collections are collections of solutions to global design problems based on biomimicry. AskNature Collections feature content that is curated thematically, often addressing one of our greatest 21st century design challenges. Explore this library to learn how natural Strategies or biomimetic Products that may at first seem unrelated can collectively inspire you to create a new life-friendly solution.

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The Eco-Tipping Points Project

http://www.ecotippingpoints.org/index.html

EcoTipping Points are levers for restoring sustainability to our imperiled environment – small actions that tip the balance from decline to restoration by tapping the inborn power of nature and human societies to heal themselves. Many environmental and social problems are so complex and overwhelming it’s hard to know where to begin. But pioneering communities around the world are showing what it takes to succeed. This project assembles their stories.

The scientific goal of the EcoTipping Points Project is to better understand what made them successful. The pragmatic goal is to help people identify “tipping point” levers right at home – concrete actions that they and their community can act upon. The EcoTipping Points Project is dedicated to making the stories and their lessons known through the media, workshops, and direct collaboration with community groups.

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Panorama – Inspiring Protected Area Solutions (IPAS)

http://www.panorama.solutions/explore_solutions

The Panorama is an effort to collate case studies that showcase how protected areas provide solutions to some of the world’s challenges – we call these case studies Inspiring Protected Areas Solutions (IPAS).  The Panorama allows practitioners to share their stories and to learn about how others have tackled problems related to protected areas across the globe.  An initial portfolio of solution case studies was launched at the IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) 2014 in Sydney, together with the first prototype of the online platform.  The congress was leveraged as an opportunity to complement this portfolio with a multitude of “solution stories” from participants.

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ShareCity100 Database

Food sharing, is increasingly being identified as one transformative mechanism for sustainable cities: reducing consumption; conserving resources, preventing waste and providing new forms of socio-economic relations.  The SHARECITY project has created a database of food sharing projects from around the world.

http://sharecity.ie/research/sharecity100-database/

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Forum for the Future

Forum for the future is an international non-profit working with business, government and civil society to solve complex sustainability challenges

https://www.forumforthefuture.org/

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Sustainable Communities

Examples of community based sustainability initiatives from Europe.

http://www.sustainable-communities.eu/blog/

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