In the face of 8 billion people on earth by 2030, Gianluca Comin, Director of External Relations at Enel (left), Italy’s largest energy company and a client of Saatchi & Saatchi Italy, and Donato Speroni, a senior Italian economist, have written a brave, thought-provoking book 2030 The Perfect Storm: How to survive to the big crisis.
The book confronts several issues that are major risk factors to our civilization and which will deeply modify the face of the planet – demographics, migration, economics, climate change and food shortages, all in the face of weak and divided international politics.
I speak frequently about the VUCA world we live in – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. The Perfect Storm certainly lays this out, and as the book points out, we need to start acting for the future this very moment. We seemed to give up on the idea of the future in 2000, but in actuality it's coming roaring at us.
In my superVUCA world – vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding – there is lots of space for radical optimism. The authors cite the aptly named Grin technologies (genetics, robotics, computing, nanotech) as changing the life of the planet by 2050, to the point of creating a new human species "enhanced" by machine implants (with all the risks connected).
Significant inroads in energy, information and sustainability have already been made to address factors influencing the 'perfect storm'. These developments may not be enough to solve the problems of the next 20 years. The critical factors will be in the hands of citizens, businesses, governments and organizations to work on policies and programs that will make a material difference.
At Saatchi & Saatchi we have a sustainability program for individual and group initiatives. We call this DOT, for Do One Thing, then another, and another. The authors feel that the general attitude towards effecting a sustainable planet is already changing.
"There are hundreds of thousands organizations in the world which promote ethical and sustainable growth, cities with the highest concentration of inhabitants are trying to become "intelligent", companies are giving new strength to the often vain speeches on "social responsibility", even working together with not-for-profit agencies. From these seeds, in the fertile environment of global communication, a new "new global" civilization may arise."
The Perfect Storm is one of the most confronting books of 2012, but also one of the most inspiring for the pathways to action it proposes.