Amory Lovins is another of our D-type thought leaders that was hard to squeeze into one category. We’ve included him as a Driver because of his lifelong commitment to working with existing corporate and regulatory structures to move toward a more sustainable energy future, but in many ways, he is also a Dreamer, envisioning fundamental changes in social, economic, and energy systems. Still, his sharp focus on how we get there from here is what stands out, and this is the work of those dedicated to pushing our current system into the future. Lovins is the co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, which has pioneered innovative new approaches to automobile design, renewable energy, architectural energy efficiency, and many other key topics.
About Amory Lovins:
Wiki entry on Lovins
RMI bio of Lovins
Book and RMI program: Reinventing Fire
Amory Lovins’ book Reinventing Fire was published in 2012, and makes a case for a future powered with no need for oil, coal or nuclear energy. The book demonstrates a practical path away from our current fossil-fuel based economy, by integrating transportation, buildings, industry and electricity, combined with new business approaches and strategies.
Video: Reinventing Fire
A six-minute introduction from Rocky Mountain Institute
Video lecture: Reinventing Fire, presented at the 2011 Bioneers Conference.
Video: Winning the Oil Endgame. In this TED talk, based on his recent book by the same name, Amory Lovins lays out his plan to wean the US off oil and to revitalize the economy.
Video: Amory Lovins on a 40 year Plan for Energy. In this talk filmed at TED’s offices, Amory Lovins describes his ideas for how to wean the US off of oil and coal by 2050, in a way that is led by business for profit, without requiring congressional acts. Lovins says the key is to integrate all four energy-using sectors, as well as applying four kinds of innovation.
Book: Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolutions
authored by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins
The concept of Natural Capitalism integrates the “triple bottom line” of profitability, environmental, and social responsibility into a single bottom line with an outcome of increased operational efficiency within businesses and organizations. The book is accessible via this website in free, downloadable chapters.
Tags: climate, dreamer, driver, future, renewable energy
In 2001, Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute, with a focus on practical planning for a sustainable future. Now 80, Brown recently announced that EPI would shut down in July 2015, when he retires after the publication of his latest book, The Great Transition. With any luck, their informative website will remain alive.
Book: World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse. This relatively recent book provides a thorough, concise summary of the world’s environmental crises, as well as a comprehensive set of strategies to address them. Available for purchase, or as a free PDF download.
Tags: climate, dreamer, dualist, renewable energy, scenario planning
Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as a historian, political economist, activist, writer, and government official. He is president of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives, and a founding principal of the Democracy Collaborative. His widely-praised book, What Then Must We Do?, looks at how our economic system got to where it is, and why the time is ripe for a new-economy movement to coalesce; it’s already becoming visible, and Alperovitz outlines how we can move it forward.
Gar Alperovitz website. Features current blog and articles, as well as information on his books.
Article: What Then, Can I Do? This article is a precursor to his book of a similar name, and features ten types of activism you can engage in to help the new economy to grow.
Democracy Collaborative. A research and consulting firm developing practical, policy-focused, and systematic paths towards ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change and the democratization of wealth.
Book: What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution. Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy. This next system is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely—and something entirely American.
Video: What Then Must We Do? A forty-minute talk that introduces the key themes of Alperovitz’s book of the same name.
Tags: close to home strategy, community groups, dreamer, evolutionary strategy, local investments, personal assets
Paul Hawken has been cheer leading, and leading, positive social, environmental, and economic change for over fifty years. He’s made his marks early in natural foods and backyard agriculture, and moved on to bigger topics in widely-read books on the economic system (Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism), social change (Blessed Unrest), and next up, removing carbon from the atmosphere (Project Drawdown).
See Paul Hawken’s website; view videos of his talks
Commencement Speech Text: Healing or Stealing?
This 2009 commencement address at the University of Portland has been hailed as “unforgettable” and “one of the best commencement speeches of the past 75 years” (by humanity.org). His speech illustrates with clarity and grace how he lives in both optimism and pessimism about our future, with both social justice and corporate responsibility being vital to our collective future.
Interview regarding scenarios, optimism, and doomers.
Video: Project Drawdown. Introduction to a 2015 initiative to support new (and old) technologies that can reduce the greenhouse gas burden in the atmosphere.
Project Drawdown website. Project Drawdown is a book, a digital platform, and database about how we are and can reduce carbon in the atmosphere over the next thirty years. Detailing and measuring technologies that are already available, Drawdown describes the beneficial financial, social and environmental impact state-of-the-shelf solutions can deliver. By scaling existing solutions, we can mitigate and functionally reverse the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Tags: activism, climate, CO2, dreamer, investments, justice
Jamais Cascio is a futurist, and was a key contributor to our way of thinking about scenario planning. His talks and writings are endlessly fascinating and often inspiring.
Features lots of in-depth posts on topics related to scenario planning and possible futures.
Video: Bots, Bacteria, and Carbon
A good half-hour introduction to Cascio’s thinking; explores the potential course of planet Earth over the next 50 years, painting a picture of what a sustainable, resilient world could look like. Working with multiple future scenarios, he shows the often-unexpected ways in which the choices we make today will shape the decades to come.
Tags: dreamer, driver, evolutionary strategy, future, resilience
Jeremy Rifkin has long tracked our society’s leading edges, and in recent years has written on the rise of empathy, and on the disruptions being caused by technologally-mediated new business structures. He runs the Foundation for Economic Trends.
Jeremy Rifkin’s website for the Foundation of Economic Trends
Book: The Zero Marginal Cost Society. In Rikin’s newest book (2014), he looks ahead to a world in which the lightning-fast rise of a global “Collaborative Commons” leads toward a “zero marginal cost” economic system. He looks ahead and back, at 500 years of history spiraling from an economy based on the Commons, to capitalism, and in his view, an oncoming return to this technology-mediated collaborative commons as the foundation of a new economic system that could solve some of our sustainability challenges.
This article digs into Rifikin’s newest book’s themes of technological advances disrupting entire industries, allowing small producers and players to compete with established players thanks to a trend toward zero marginal costs.
Video: The Empathic Civilization. In this Ted talk based on another relatively recent book, Rifkin delves into how empathy has evolved, profoundly shaping the shape of human development and society. He also looks ahead, asking, “Can we reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse?”
Tags: dreamer, evolutionary strategy, personal assets
In the mid-90’s the Tellus Institute and Stockholm Environmental Institute engaged in some detailed scenario planning, and their three future paths—Barbarism, Conventional Worlds, Great Transition—look very similar to our Breakdown/MuddleThrough/Breakthrough framing. Since then, Tellus has been active as a voice for the Great Transitions scenarios, including recent analysis of whether it remains viable; see the links on the right side of this page for these aspirational writings as well as more recent assessments of all the scenarios. See Tellus’ early scenarios and key articles.
To dig deeper into their current work, see the Great Transition Initiative website.
Tags: dreamer, evolutionary strategy
In mid-2015, this new initiative from members of the Transition Network (global Transition Town group) will launch, with the goal of charting the already-existing pieces of the decentralized economy of the future. In essence, they’ll be charting much of our Evolutionary Strategy, which, as many of you have surely noted, also takes place Close to Home.
Introductory essay by Jules Peck: “…the alternative future is already (partly) here, emerging in pockets of light around the world. Aside from nearly 500 Transition initiatives worldwide, there is a vast and increasing array of practitioning and thinking around what is being called the ‘new economy.’ As Professor Gar Alperovitz has recently said, ‘just below the surface of media attention literally thousands of grass roots institution-changing, wealth-democratizing efforts have been quietly developing.’”
Current site of Jules Peck, one of the initiators of the Real Economy Lab; includes several recent introductory essays.
Get a taste of the resources and active nodes in this new economy that Real Economy Lab will bring together
Tags: close to home strategy, dreamer, evolutionary strategy, financial assets, personal assets
Great Transition Stories is an open source wiki, initiated by Duane Elgin. The purpose of the site is summarized as follows: “The stories we tell shape our view of ourselves and the path we take through this time of collective awakening and global turning. We have the ability to consciously choose narratives that offer realistic beacons of hope to guide our way through the Great Transition. The following stories are drawn from many sources–biology, psychology, cosmology, mythology, and more–and offer a wide menu to choose from in crafting guiding narratives, whether personal or organizational.” There is also a resource list of leading articles, reports, and books giving credence to the idea of a Great Transition.
Tags: dreamer, dualist, evolutionary strategy, learning, personal growth