Catastrophic collapse is not inevitable.
Important stories need to be told.
Hard decisions need to be made.
The FAN Initiative is a set of colleagues deeply concerned about what we see as breakdowns in bio-physical and societal systems. Science can and should guide our response to this predicament. Others with their hands on the levers of governance, education, economy, and worldview shaping belief systems should at least have the scientific information readily available. We collect and contribute information to this site. This site is our contribution.
The FAN helps us navigate the threat of catastrophic collapse even as deep fissures and fractures become evident.
Two hundred years of economic and complexity growth have added immensely to human welfare and security. It has shaped our world-views and expectations of the future. Yet there is widening concern that the conditions that have underpinned this growth and the socio-economic stability that we have habituated to, and are dependent upon, is being increasingly undermined. Societies are currently or are soon likely to experience mounting socio-economic stresses from which there is no recovery, declining resilience, and rising risks of rapid large-scale breakdowns in global integration. The envisioned consequences are challenging and quite possibly catastrophic.
There is no single factor to explain our vulnerability. At issue is not just climate change or soil loss, water supplies, the depletion of fisheries or the acidification of oceans, oil production constraints, biodiversity loss, toxification, credit hyper-expansion, fraying socio-political trust and legitimacy, or the vulnerability of complex interdependent global infrastructures. It is all of this and more – with convergence, acceleration and interactions.
It is within this context that the FAN Initiative was created with the primary aim of generating informed, wise, and action-oriented responses as we enter the beginning of a long winter for our species. The FAN’s concern is less with how do we change course / become sustainable / convince everybody / transform established systems – these are noble but perhaps unrealistic goals given the complexity, momentum and interlocked nature of today’s socio-economic systems. Rather, our focus is to catalyze comprehension in order to ameliorate, or avoid the worst consequences of a sweeping humanitarian crisis.
The FAN brings a general systems perspective: systems analysis, coupled with advanced communications to inform adequate responses within governments, critical private and non-profit institutions, and ultimately the public. This is done through engagement with institutions, and the provision of expertise drawing upon our networks, on-site courses, scenario planning, and war-gaming.
The FAN is driven by the resolve that utmost importance is given to social cohesion.
It is the only way to counter the blind and destructive human forces that can emerge in such times. We believe it is a prerequisite for protecting populations, securing basic infrastructural services and resilience, and avoiding extreme damage to the essential services provided by the natural world.
From this perspective, the FAN seeks to provide astute integrated systemic risk management, and is thus a potential insurance policy for an era of growing socio-political-economic-ecological stress, shocks, and volatility. It offers a navigation nexus for times when out-dated expectations, narratives and policy inadvertently exacerbate growing stress, rising uncertainties and fundamental threats to the foundations of our welfare. As the clock is ticking, opportunity favours the prepared.
The FAN, conceived by Margaret Calantzopoulos and JP Meyers, was created as a result of many meetings, discussions, and consultations with some of the most accomplished writers, thinkers and experts. Even though the results and views expressed by the FAN are from the FAN alone, we would like to thank all those who took the trouble to read the initial project description, provide many valuable suggestions, give us moral and intellectual support. All these conversations helped us to develop this project into its present form.
We would like to thank especially:
Project Director:Production Director:
Joan DiamondKirk Fanning
Inspired by works of:
Jared DiamondPaul EhrlichThomas Homer-DixonWilliam Ophuls
Martin ScheringerJane MunckeCorey Goodman
Advice / Consultation:
Michael AntoniouThomas BackhausUgo BardiAnthony BarnoskyBruce BlumbergRoss BrockwellDes BrowneTyrone CashmanGonzalo CastroGerardo CeballosZoe ChafeNoam ChomskyTerrence CollinsPartha DasguptaHerman DalyBarbara DenemeixJared DiamondMiriam DiamondDenis DimickAnne EhrlichTimothy GarrettJohn GowdyPhilippe GrandjeanAlicia GravesNathan HagensLeslie HarrounJohn HartePeter HayesRandy HayesRichard HeinbergAngelika HilbeckPatrick HoldenPatricia HuntPhilip JensenRichard JacksonIrene KrarupAmy KostantSteven KostantDavid Korowicz
Kalee KreiderSheldon KrimskyHannes KunzBruce LanphearAndrea LarsonMichael LernerHunter LewisThomas LovejoyMichael MannAsher MillerDavid MontgomeryJP MyersIwona OlczakWilliam OphulsDmitry OrlovDaniel PaulyWilliam PerryMalcolm PottsPedro PrietoPeter RavenMartin ReesWilliam ReesUrs RueggCarl SafinaRobert SocolowKirk SmithJack SpenglerGustav SpethDavid SuzukiTadahiro SuzukiErnest TollersonFrederick vom SaalWhendee SilverLeonardo TrassandeXenia TrierMary Evelyn TuckerJi-Qiang ZhangThomas Zoeller
Karol Wasilewski, Zero Studio
Nina White, Adrian Polanczuk, AI Online
Network architecture:Concept design:
Marty KearnsMargaret Bergen
The FAN Initiative brings to one place powerful narratives describing the system vulnerabilities; reflections by leading thinkers on the power to meet the challenge; and the ways some are responding to shift us from collapse to a compelling future.