Photo by Thomas Black

By Peter Schlosser, Steven Beschloss, Clea Edwards and Jason Franz

When Jason Franz headed east from Phoenix on February 13, he didn’t plan on providing a first-person account of the catastrophic winter storm that struck Texas. He thought he was just driving his teenage son from Arizona to Texas for a 70-day adventure that was to start in San Antonio on Feb. 15. But he, like millions of others across Texas, saw his life turn upside down.

The first sign of major trouble was not the snowfall in El Paso on Valentine’s Day, the pileups of semi-trucks, or the shuttered…


By Steven Beschloss and Peter Schlosser

San Francisco on September 9, 2020. Photo by By hkalkan (Shutterstock)

This past week in San Francisco, mid-morning, the city was enveloped in darkness, the sky dark orange, the air smoky and acrid. The images reminded some people of Mars, but it was assuredly planet Earth. Video of tornados inside the massive California wildfire did not make comprehension easier for anyone who never imagined it would come to this.

The facts so far, across California, Oregon and Washington, underscore the scale of the conflagration: Nearly 100 fires are still active. More than 4.6 million acres — an area larger than the state of Connecticut —…


Written by the Human Economies Working Group at the ASU Global Futures Laboratory

An informal market place near Ellis Bridge on the bank of river Sabarmati. This bazaar takes place every Sunday. Photo by Pranav Gandhi

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the informal ways in which people often self-organize to meet their basic needs in the wake of a disaster. Take, for example, the predicament of the healthcare worker, who must go to work while the pandemic shut down childcare and other support services that enabled essential workers to go to their jobs. In an effort to ease the burden on some of these workers, University of Minnesota medical students Sara Lederman, Sruthi Shankar, Londyn Robinson and Brianna Engelson formed a volunteer organization…


Watching American repression, 31 years after witnessing Tiananmen Square

Moments of protest, 31 years apart.

By Craig Calhoun, on behalf of the ASU Global Futures Laboratory

On this anniversary of the Tiananmen Square repression in China, it is a shock to see something similar happening in the US. But it really shouldn’t be.

On June 4, 1989, China used massive military and police force to suppress peaceful protests. It was roundly — and rightly — condemned. In the US today, massive military and police force is also being used to suppress peaceful protests. Just as in China, the protests are calls for better treatment by the…


This article is presented by the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, co-authored by Sander van der Leeuw, Manfred Laubichler, and Peter Schlosser

“Indeed, as he heard the cries of delight rising from the city, Rieux remembered that this delight was always threatened. For he knew what this joyous crowd did not, and what you can read in books — that the germ of the plague never dies or disappears, that it can lie dormant for decades in furniture and linens, that it waits patiently in rooms, in basements, in trunks, among handkerchiefs and paperwork, and that perhaps the…


APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

This article is presented by the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, co-authored by Peter Schlosser, Steven Beschloss, Clea Edwards, Nina Berman, Manfred Laubichler, Sander van der Leeuw and Jason Franz

If the 50th anniversary of Earth Day was shaping up to be a celebration, indeed an inspiring reflection, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a sharp jolt to that positive intention. …


This article is presented by the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, co-authored by Peter Schlosser, Manfred Laubichler, Clea Edwards, Steven Beschloss, Nina Berman, Sander van der Leeuw, Joni Adamson, Michael Barton, Mark Bernstein, Shauna BurnSilver, Gary Dirks, Jason Franz, Nico M. Franz, Nancy B. Grimm, Julianna Gwiszcz, Deborah Helitzer, Carrie Lloyd, Kathleen Merrigan, Osvaldo Sala, Christopher Wharton and Dave White.

Vulnerability in a globally connected world

COVID-19 must be seen as the largest shock that has hit global society since World War II, with this globally spreading disease resulting in an accelerating loss of lives and societal and…


Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

By Peter Schlosser, Clea Edwards, Steven Beschloss, Nina Berman and Upmanu Lall

The images look like a war zone: deep red skies, families and wildlife fleeing to the sea, warship rescues, children with makeshift face masks, incinerated bodies of animals unable to escape — death and destruction. Australia is still burning, representing a new level of natural catastrophe. Will this be the calamity that propels organized international action, diverting us from what The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman described as “barreling down the road to hell”? …


By Peter Schlosser, Stephanie Pfirman, Clea Edwards, Nina Berman, Steven Beschloss, Rolf Halden and Manfred Laubichler

Life systems on Earth are complex and interconnected in sometimes surprising ways. While most of us may never visit the Arctic or personally know the people or cultures that reside there, we all will experience the impacts of the Arctic’s dramatic and accelerating changes.

The signs of change are unavoidable. Just recently, Venice experienced historic flooding. People in the eastern U.S. dug their way out of an early snowfall with unprecedented cold weather. Wildfires are raging across Australia and have persisted in Alaska. More…


Students from across Arizona State University conduct a walkout as part of the Global Climate Strikes.

By Peter Schlosser, Steven Beschloss and Nina Berman

This week 16-year-old Greta Thunberg offered a clear, powerful statement and rebuke to the world leaders gathered together at the United Nations. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said, her voice pulsing with anger. “If you choose to fail us, I say: ‘We will never forgive you.’ ”

She was speaking for herself, she was speaking for young people gripped by the awareness of the climate crisis, and she was speaking for everyone who recognizes that the status quo is not acceptable and action is critical.

“For more…

Arizona State University Global Futures Laboratory

Designing and shaping a future in which Earth will thrive.

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