Hello! So you’ve heard about signals of change and you want to hone your senses to spot them in the wild. You’re in the right place! Here’s a starter kit that will take you through everything from what a signal is to how to pick them out from the clutter. You’ll be a whizz in no time.

Let’s begin!

What is a signal of change?

A signal of change is like a seed of a possible future. It can be any development, idea or innovation that points to a future possibility different to today’s norms. …

Can the crisis compel us to put care at the heart of family support systems? Anna Simpson reflects on emerging possibilities that could lead to a better balance.

Photo by Foto Phanatic on Unsplash

“What makes the household a family is that each member will care about each other member and be available in time of need with no expiration date on that availability. This includes a commitment to sharing the experience of facing death.”

So wrote the influential peace worker and futurist Elise Boulding in her 1978 pamphlet ‘The Family as a Way into the Future’, seeking a definition beyond blood ties, legal frameworks or…

What does the future of women look like post-COVID? Joy Green explores conflicting emerging trends and signals and says it’s time to call for feminist recovery plans.

We used to have a trend on the previous version of this site called ‘The Female Century’ — referencing the wealth of indicators that nearly all pointed in one direction — towards the steadily increasing emancipation of women. But now, in the wake of COVID-19, that trend has taken a serious hit. …

Here’s a selection of top resources to get you started.

Three Horizons is a popular futures model that helps us contemplate long term change. Source: The Futures Centre

Are you interested in starting (or advancing) your futures journey? Here’s our pick of futures strategy resources to build your capacity for futures practice, including:
- top three futures reads
- a directory of futures tools and resources
- a selection of futures institutions and communities
to follow or join

Futures is a way of thinking in uncertain times. After such a year as 2020, we all know what it’s like to live in uncertainty. We know we can no longer trust in those assumptions upon which we used to…

Our insights on the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C

Ramin Khatibi, Unsplash

The release of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C has, quite rightly, caused much reflection (although insufficient furore) amongst the corporate sustainability community. Here are four insights we took from reading the report, along with our thoughts on the implications for our corporate partners (or, indeed, any company aspiring to be a climate leader).

1) There’s still a chance of staying under 1.5°C, and we have to grab it!

The 2015 Paris Agreement saw the nations of the world agree to keep “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts…

‘What are we actually breathing?’, asks Emily Walsh from Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

‘What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’, or so the saying goes. But it’s not a phrase that holds up in a world of pervasive air pollution.

Particle pollution, more specifically, is a term that describes the mixture of liquid and solid droplets in our air. There are a variety of substances that fit under this term, some of the most common being pollen, metals, soot, and organic compounds. We are breathing in particles every second, whether they are visible or not. The smaller the particles are, the more risk they present for our bodies.

News stories…

Climate Specialist, Iain Watt, on why science based targets alone won’t cut it.

Science-based targets have quickly become de rigueur for companies with aspirations to be leaders on climate change. And quite right too. The idea that corporate targets should be based on what’s required, rather than what feels achievable, is something Forum for the Future has been advocating for some time.

But I’m becoming increasingly cynical about how science-based targets are playing out in practice.

Firstly, the targets that are emerging through the official process aren’t quite as ambitious as they might be. This is partly because the official process is aligned with giving ourselves a 66% chance of staying within 2°C…

How are consumer attitudes towards plant protein changing, and what is driving this shift?

By Mary McCarthy, Senior Strategist at Forum for the Future

Ahead of his most recent appearance as cinematic superhero Thor, Chris Hemsworth sat down with the fitness and nutrition magazine, Men’s Health, to discuss his real-life efforts to reduce his environmental footprint through his transition to a plant-based diet. While he is far from the first celebrity to speak publicly about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet, the significance lies with the two million readers of the mainstream magazine and Hemsworth’s 20-million strong Instagram following, who idolise him for his “superhero shape.” …

We spoke to Mark Hayward, one of the two brothers who owns and operates Dingley Dell Pork, on their efforts to increase biodiversity and feed one million bees this year.

By George Harding-Rolls for The Futures Centre

Recent studies suggest that around one third of the world’s food directly relies on pollination by bees and other insects. But bees, and in particular bumblebees, have seen their populations decline by 70% in the last few decades, with their survival threatened by widespread use of pesticides, climate change, disease and urbanisation. Farmers and farming communities are beginning to take up the mantle of stewardship and proactively protect pollinators in the agricultural landscape.

Why do you want to feed one million bees this year?

Dingley Dell Pork is an example of a new generation of farmers recognising the vitality of biodiversity in ensuring the…

The relationship between civil society and the internet is becoming extremely double-edged. Futures specialist Joy Green outlines the shadow side.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

We seem to be at a point where the relationship between civil society and the internet — particularly social media and algorithms — is becoming extremely double-edged. While the huge enabling power of social media has long been recognised and used by campaigners and grassroots movements to effect change — most dramatically illustrated right now by #MeToo — the last 18 months have also seen a powerful shadow side emerge as algorithms have gained in potency.

I find it useful to think of this in terms of three aspects:

Mass manipulation

The first aspect relates to the manipulation of individuals…

Futures Centre

Join us in tracking and understanding change, to make better decisions for a sustainable world. Powered by Forum for the Future www.thefuturescentre.org

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