Archive for May, 2021

UN Initiative “We the Peoples”

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf took part in the “We the Peoples” digital consultation of the United Nations. 

Building on the UN75 global conversation, the consultation invites stakeholders from different sectors to develop practical recommendations to: accelerate delivery of the commitments made in the UN75 Declaration, together with the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement; and to respond to new and emerging challenges.

He made two specific contributions:

Addressing Challenge 1: How can decision-making take more account of the future?, he suggested to “Enhance the capacity for futures thinking (futures literacy) among decision-makers.” 

Much decision-making about the present assumes unexamined that conditions will remain the same in the future. But based on all past human experience, this is not going to be the case. We can improve people’s ability to imagine alternative futures and design new strategies to act in the present in order to bring about novel futures.

Addressing Challenge 5: How can we build trust between people and institutions?, he suggested that “We need to learn more about people’s cultural meanings and values as they determine trust in society.”

Trust between people and institutions is an outcome of specific cultural meanings and values. It is easier to trust people and institutions that make sense in what they do and whose values you share.
Strangely, the realm of culture is vastly underappreciated in society, maybe because ethnology and social/cultural anthropology are very small subjects and not many decision-makers have much understanding of how human culture works.

Futures Literacy and Nuclear Waste

Monday, May 10th, 2021

Anders Högberg presented at the first capacity-building workshop of the Expert Group on Awareness Presentation, which is part of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management at the OECD. Even Cornelius Holtorf participated.

The session, held on 10 May 2021, was dedicated to Futures Literacy and featured even a keynote lecture by Richard Sandford (UCL) who concluded with the following slide:

During the session, the 37 participants began to realise how they were using the future in various ways to inform specific actions and started to examine their own anticipatory assumptions regarding long-term communication of nuclear waste disposal sites. They also started to understand that the uncertainty of the future is not something that can or must be controlled but that it is instead important to learn how to embrace uncertainty in our present in order to reduce future uncertainty.

A next step is acquiring the capability of how to imagine alternative futures, and so the discussion will continue…