By 2100, the global human population may reach 9.5 billion with 75% of these people located within urban settlements. Meeting the needs and demands of these people will provide significant challenges to governments and society at large, and the engineering profession in particular.
Four key areas in which population growth and expanding affluence will significantly challenge society are: food, water, urbanisation and energy.
In response to the coming impact of peak oil, John Michael Greer helps us envision the transition from an industrial society to a sustainable “ecotechnic” world—not returning to the past, but creating a society that supports relatively advanced technology on a sustainable resource base. Human societies, like ecosystems, evolve in complex and unpredictable ways, making it futile to try to impose rigid ideological forms on the patterns of evolutionary change. Instead, social change must explore many pathways over which we have no control. The troubling and exhilarating prospect of an open-ended future, he proposes, requires dissensus—a deliberate acceptance of radical diversity that widens the range of potential approaches to infinity.