The Resilience Project

Facing the Global Polycrisis Together

Resilience Roundtable
The Human Predicament in 2020: Interacting Global Crises and the New Normal
October 23, 2020 9 AM PDT
A roundtable discussion with Christina Conklin, Joan Diamond, Steve Heilig, Samantha Suppiah, Ed Saltzberg, and Jason Groves. Register Here.

See recordings of past webinars on our Events page

The Global Polycrisis

The Global Polycrisis is the sum total of all stressors changing the world today. It affects all of us.

It’s an unprecedented global systems problem that we need to understand and navigate.

COVID-19 is a poster child for the fragility of global systems. Several dozen global stressors have created a “perfect storm” for humanity and the biosphere. The Resilience Project helps us to understand the Global Polycrisis. We can build deep resilience for the storms ahead.

Biosphere stressors

  • Climate change, sea-level rise, and changing weather
  • Biodiversity loss at 10,000 times the normal level
  • Toxification of all life, insect armageddon
  • Ocean acidification, dead zones, plastics, and fish and plankton depletion
  • Declining and polluted fresh water sources
  • Depleted topsoils
  • Vanishing forests
  • COVID and future pandemics
  • Many more

Societal stressors

  • Poverty, racism, and injustice
  • Unsustainable economic growth and global debt
  • Vulnerable financial systems, supply chains, and power grids
  • Population overshoot, refugee migrations, and resource competition
  • Uncontrolled technologies, including artificial intelligence, biotech, nanotech, robotics, and cyber threats
  • Dysfunctional geopolitics, failing states, and outdated institutions
  • War, terrorism, and nuclear threats – excess military expenditures are needed to address the Global Polycrisis

Technology stressors

  • Electromagnetic frequency (EMF) pollution
  • Uncontrolled technologies: artificial intelligence (AI), biotech, nanotech & robotics
  • Displacement of people by robots & AI
  • Cyber threats
  • Big Data threats to democracy, privacy & human rights
  • Modification of human germline and bifurcation of the population
  • Many more

The greatest threat we face

The Global Polycrisis is far greater than any individual stressor. Most institutions—governments, corporations, international institutions, and civil society organizations—avoid thinking about the Global Polycrisis.

They:

  • Don’t see how they can respond
  • Focus on critical sectoral questions
  • Largely ignore future shocks
  • Mostly don’t prepare

Let’s not
think about it

Most people have good reasons not to think about the Global Polycrisis:

  • It’s overwhelming.
  • They don’t see how to make a difference.
  • They want to focus on things they can change.
  • They have more important things to think about.

We understand. We’re not here to argue. We’re here for those who choose to think about it.

Being prepared

If we prepare, future shocks may prove more survivable.

Those who choose to prepare may focus on building:

  • Resilience for themselves and their families
  • Resilient communities and networks
  • Resilient governments, businesses, and civil society
  • Resilient knowledge systems and consciousness

We care about all four forms of resilience work.

Real hope

We have no choice. We must meet the Global Polycrisis. But there are reasons for hope. As we face the Global Polycrisis today:

  • We can meet the climate crisis with deep adaptation.
  • We can prioritize the most vulnerable.
  • We can work on all the interconnected global stressors.
  • We can live simply and build resilience in all its forms.

Our goals and practice

Our goals:

  • Identify people, projects, resources and practices that address the Global Polycrisis
  • Cultivate diverse perspectives across the global spectrum
  • Encourage respectful dialogues across regions and cultures
  • Inspire creative responses to the Global Polycrisis

Our practice:

  • Collaborate in curating searchable resource collections
  • Collaborate in building networks of researchers, reporters, experts and influencers
  • Collaborate in providing opportunities for dialogue and action on the Global Polycrisis
  • Work with partners in civil society, academia, media, business and government in these collaborations