Why the #forkintheroadproject ?

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Many of the people who have heard about the #forkintheroadproject have asked why we have initiated it. The statement most frequently made goes something like this: “Why are you guys trying to reinvent the wheel? There are many global groups that are already working on the need for massive global change.”

As one of the initiators of the fork project I would like to clarify this misconception about redundancy. First the three initiators, and a good number of initial signers and first members of the #forkintheroadproject collective are futurists. We all see into the future. We all understand the longer-term consequences. We all see that if humanity wants a future that is positive, places humanity first, faces the immediate to long-term threat of the climate crisis and undertakes an inclusive discussion about the future of technological intelligence, genetic modification, the reinvention of capitalism to align with the realities of the 21st century, we must act with urgency between now and 2030.

We admire and acknowledge all that such organizations as the U.N, the World Economic Forum, the B Team, Singularity University and the Millennium Project [whose Executive Director is an initial signer of our Manifesto] that see the need for massive reorganization of how economics and humanity currently exists on Earth as soon as possible. We cheer them on and see many well-intentioned efforts underway. Many of these groups are well-funded, staffed with brilliant people who see all the current problems and endeavor to fix them. Our approach is both different and complimentary.

We see the #forkintheroadproject as a call to action, an understood metaphor, a story to be told and a meme that can raise awareness that in the 2020s humanity is at the fork in the road on every major issue facing humanity. As futurists we are about seeing the trends, the dynamics, the forces at play that are ahead of us all. We see that humanity is in one of its’ most critical junctures in history. As people who look at the arcs of history and project them into the future, we see that this decade, these nine years to 2030 is the time when the decision will be made — consciously or ignorantly.

An example of well-intentions not being translated into necessary — survival necessity in some cases — actions is this article from the New York Times

“New climate pledges submitted to the United Nations would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by less than 1 percent, the world body announced. The global scientific consensus is clear: Emissions of planet-warming gases must be cut by nearly half by 2030 if the world is to have a good shot at averting the worst climate catastrophes. The global political response has been underwhelming so far”.

It continues:

“The head of the United Nations climate agency, Patricia Espinosa, said the figures compiled by her office showed that “current levels of climate ambition are very far from putting us on a pathway that will meet our Paris Agreement goals.”

The Paris Agreement was a wonderful document of intention. It was a lowest-common denominator document created to get all nations to sign on. The problem with it is that none of the committed intentions by the 20 largest polluting countries are close to being met. In fact, many of these countries have backed down from their 2015 commitments. Further, the U.N. can’t enforce it, they can just speak alarm at the situation.

The #forkintheroadproject collective sees this as an example of why we need to act. In the U.S., with the election of Joe Biden, American environmentalists heaved a big sigh of relieve as the country is back as a signer of the Paris Agreement. As though this was, in itself, a forward action to face the climate crisis. False optimism that we/they have changed the game. Nope, not so. It remains to be seen whether the U.S. will admit current failure against its 2015 commitments so far or not. These commitments were not nearly enough to begin with, so what needs to be done is to make even greater reductions of GHG emissions.

This example is about the climate crisis as that was what the article is about. Most of the other key global concerns the #forkintheroadproject have such as exponential technological growth, rapidly accelerating growth in the power of artificial or technological intelligence, genetic engineering and a humanistic reinvention of capitalism are all being addressed but without widespread awareness and participation.

We see that the across-the-board need to design and redesign how humanity lives on the planet in the 21st century is not being addressed with the urgency we see necessary as futurists. Our goal is not to copy the great work of others, but to elevate the awareness of their work. In addition, we see that most are moving forward with a process that is too incremental and a lack of urgency.

Humanity is at a fork in the road this decade and the #forkintheroadproject intends to create awareness about that. Join us by going here, signing up for our newsletter, read our soon to launch blog and if you agree with the Manifesto, become an initial signer. There is also a form to fill out if you or your group wants to get more involved with the collective. Please start to use the hash tag #forkintheroadproject. Thank you!

Originally published on Medium March 3rd, 2021 by David Houle