Seeds of good anthropocenes: Developing sustainability scenarios for Northern Europe

As we look to the future of the planet, we are confronted with a complex set of intertwined sustainability challenges and high uncertainty. The anthropocene is characterized by rapidly changing, interconnected global systems and social-ecological complexity that make it difficult to anticipate and respond to evolving and emerging issues (Liu et al. 2015).

Because of the large uncertainty about how these complex challenges and potential solutions will play out, scenarios are often used as a tool to investigate assumptions, uncertainties, and outcomes associated with alternative trajectories for our planet and societies.

In this study, C. Raudsepp-Hearne and colleagues, describe an approach, pioneered in Southern Africa and tested here in a new context in Northern Europe, to developing scenarios using existing bottom-up transformative initiatives to examine plausible transitions towards positive, sustainable futures.

By starting from existing, but marginal initiatives, as well as current trends, the research team was able to identify system characteristics that may play a key role in sustainability transitions (e.g., gender issues, inequity, governance, behavioral change) that are currently under-explored in global environmental scenarios

Through discussions at the workshop, participants identified the need for ecologists and sustainability scientists to collaborate with behavioral scientists and other experts to look into how transitions towards sustainability can occur in a peaceful and deep way.

Seeds of good anthropocenes: developing sustainability scenarios for Northern Europe

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