Wicked Problems and Wild Ideas

EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE − At the beginning of a new year, there’s lots of talk about “the future,” especially these days as the climate crisis deepens. The Greenzine offers lots of thought about both the climate and the future. We hope we are stimulating imagination into action.

But does imagining get us anywhere when we’re faced with today’s wicked problems? We need solutions right now! Yesterday! The Greenzine says ‘yes,’ imagination is very important. Imagination is the birthplace of the wild ideas that unprecedented times need − whole new ways of thinking. Cars were once unthinkable.

Obviously, what we do now will affect the future. But there’s more to it than that: the work of “futuring” can map out the spaces for action, just as a good topographical map helps guide a traveller. The Greenzine offers a map of the local terrain, its geography, ecology, economy, energy sources, social characteristics, history etc.− always and necessarily set within the “wicked” problems of the global climate crisis.

Imagined futures pull past and present into dialogue with possibilities, not just current realities that often wield the “tyranny of the moment.” And possibilities inspire actions for both present and future situations. In so many ways, the future is already here and now as “emerging potentials.” Youth are leading the way in this endeavour.

Imagined futures pull past and present into dialogue with possibilities, not just current realities that often wield the “tyranny of the moment.” And possibilities inspire actions for both present and future situations. In so many ways, the future is already here and now as “emerging potentials.” Youth are leading the way in this endeavour.

Delving into these potentials, trying them on, studying their impacts is a way of making meaning in the present for the sake of the future. Then we are able to begin actively shaping the future. This gives us a sense of agency and dispels feelings of powerlessness.

We still have choices

Many futures are possible. We have room yet to conceive different pathways to a future that has escaped the clutches of mindless economic growth and ecological overshoot. Artists are especially necessary in this work. We need their songs, pictures, poetry, stories as inspiration and architecture for the way forward.

Nor does it serve us to look only at “likely” futures. Imagination expands thinking and understanding not only into what we can do but what we can desire. Motivation springs from desire, where vision is born, where wild ideas meet wicked problems. Many life-enhancing present ways of being and acting were once “wild ideas” − like human rights and women on bicycles.

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