What would it sound like to live in a future in which beavers were now considered an essential part of our now rapidly-rewilding landscapes? If flooding in towns and cities across the UK was now hugely reduced thanks to the remarkable hydrological reengineering of the landscape done by these hard-working mammals higher up in the catchments for those watersheds? If their reintroduction had led to an explosion of biodiversity? Curious as always, last summer I once again hopped into my Time Machine and set off to find out.
I keep coming back to how vitally important it is to create space for the imagination, what I call ‘What If spaces’, whether in our own lives, our organisations or our communities. In this article, I want to share some examples of what this can unlock, and some thoughts from people doing this work on the ground on how to do it well.
I am always on the lookout for new tools to use in helping people to imagine a different future, in helping people to cultivate nostalgia for a future that turned out as well as it possibly could have done. It’s not easy, as we so often get stuck in what’s in front of us, unable to see beyond it. As Mariame Kaba puts it, “we live in a system that has been locked into a false sense of inevitability”. How then to break out of that? Perhaps one way could be through the skilled use of the humble pencil?
When getting it ready for time travelling, first of all, I need to check that the disbelief suspenders are all good, and that the Cynicism Overriders and the Discombobulation Bypassing circuits are working fine. Once that’s done, it’s a remarkably powerful machine. I use it to take friends, guests on my podcast or on one memorable occasion 1500 people in a hall near Brussels, to 2030.
In my ongoing search for the actual sounds of a successfully realised radically lower carbon future, a more just, fair, equal, beautiful world, I’ve been off adventuring once more in my Time Machine™. I’d just had it serviced, so this time I wanted to experience, and to be able to share with you, what a pedal-powered city would sound like, in particular what bicycle rush hour would sound like in a city where the huge majority of journeys are made by bicycle.
This piece represents a return to my roots, to the origins of the word that has defined my life and work for the last 15 years, ‘Transition’. It’s a word I have, understandably, a considerable affection for. It’s the word, I very much hope, that first comes to mind when you think of me. But recently I have seen some egregious examples of it being roundly abused, and I want to use this piece to put it back on the table, to reassert why it matters that it means something.
Sometimes the very best ideas need to bide their time before they get picked up and adopted. I want to share one such idea which I was reminded about the other day and which I really think deserves renewed attention and focus. I think it could be one of the seminal and transformative ideas of […]
We had been talking about doing a tour with the Reseau Transition Suisse Romande for about 3 years, but every time we had it sorted, Covid would pop by and ruin the party. Finally though it was possible, and so the ‘Imagine Tour’ was ready to get started. It started in Geneva. I arrived into […]
It’s exciting then to be able to announce that this week I actually managed a spectacular feat of time travel to visit the future they dream of in that exercise, immersing myself in its magic and its deliciousness, with all my senses. It was incredible and life-affirming. And all I had to do was buy a train ticket to Freiburg in Germany.
It’s time to introduce you to a rather exciting new project I’m doing. Here is a conversation with the wonderful Kit Wilmans Fegradoe, who makes music as Mr Kit, about a new project we’re working on called ‘Field Recordings from the Future’.
Kids have almost entirely vanished from our streets. Retreating indoors in the face of the car’s domination of our city spaces, and a perception of the lack of safety, kids are all too often starved of play. ‘No ball games here’ signs. Horrible noises only audible to teenagers to chase them away from sitting near certain buildings. The privatisation of public space. Cities are increasingly being designed around the needs of adults and capital rather than kids. So what might we do about it?
Join the discussion