The 2020s: The Most Disruptive Decade in History
This is the title of my latest book, published last week. It is the first of a planned series of books about this new decade… as I believe the 2020s will shape the trajectory of at least the next 40 years, if not the entire century. This decade is one of those historic transitions from what was to what will be.
“The Shift Age”, my first book, was published in 2007. In the years after, when traveling the world giving presentations about this new age, I was asked how long it would last and what might come after. My response was that it would probably last 25 to 30 years and would be the transition from the reality up to 2000 to the new, emergent reality taking root in the 2030s. I now believe that is correct.
Back in 2015 and 2016, I curtailed my speaking engagements to co-author a book about climate change, and to co-found a global nonprofit to address our climate crisis. This included keynotes on “This Spaceship Earth and “crew consciousness” at the World Future Society’s 50th anniversary conference, at the headquarters of the EPA and at NASA. All deeply gratifying, and hopefully impactful in the effort to move the dial on this existential crisis.
One of the key framings to scale up efforts to address our climate catastrophe came from R. Buckminster Fuller, who had written “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” in the late 1960s and “Utopia or Oblivion” in 1970. In the latter book he stated that, in several decades humanity would come to a fork in the road, and would need to choose between utopia or oblivion. He foretold that we would find ourselves traveling down the road to oblivion if we did not change the systems we used to manage our global civilization. We didn’t do that. Fuller’s fork in the road has come and gone and we are advancing blindly on the road to oblivion… certainly relative to our climate catastrophe. This must change in the 2020s. Our goal in this decade is to get back on the road to Utopia. It’s up to us.
“Moving to a Finite Earth Economy – Crew Manual”, co-written with Bob Leonard, was published last year. The book answered, in detail, how humanity at all levels could successfully face the climate threat to civilization by decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels from 77% in 2019 to 30% by 2030. Not 2050, but 2030. The conclusion is obvious: the 2020s is the decade to accomplish the major changes necessary to alter our trajectory.
In 2017, when I resumed speaking full time about the future in general, I was struck by the reality of something forecast back in “The Shift Age”. The speed of change had accelerated so much that it was no longer just an accelerating line. Change had become systemic and environmental. We live in an environment where change is in all aspects of our lives. I remember giving a speech at a technical college in the fall of 2017 when I said that the futurist had become the canary in the mine. That now was the time to exit the lingering reality of pre-2000. The future is happening NOW, not some decades or even years in the future.
Any discussion about the 2030s or 2040s is specious. They will be determined by how we navigate and matriculate the 2020s. That is why I am going to focus on this decade in the books I write and the speeches I give. The goal is to publish a series of books – five to ten – in the next few years under the banner of “The 2020s”. Each book will be short… around 100 pages (and priced accordingly), and focused on a specific challenge or trend of the decade. They will all be high level, easy to read, hopefully thought provoking and helpful, particularly to those running enterprises of any size.
This first book is an introduction to the 2020s. A guidebook for the decade. Please go here to read the editorial reviews and to order the book. In addition, in this time of pandemic, I am holding a series of virtual book tour discussions that you can sign up for at the site. I look forward to seeing you at these discussions.
Lastly, to underscore how disruptive this decade will be, I only have to ask you a simple question: How have the first five months of the decade been for you?