Policy and Practice

Positive Pathways report

This Cascade Institute report explores how to translate an understanding of polycrises into actionable strategies to alleviate them. It suggests ways in which polycrisis analysis can build on existing approaches to systemic change to help chart positive pathways to better futures, by examining multiple factors — the sorts of systems changes required to avoid, mitigate […]

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WTW Research Network Risk & Resilience Review: Emerging Risks from Geopolitical Shifts

This report by the WTW Research Network “introduces research and opinions that provide new perspectives to support risk management and resilience.” In particular, this report focuses on WTW’s work in geopolitics, topics such as supply chains, national competition, and emerging risks and their interconnectivity. WTW posits that the topics covered “highlight a need for an

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‘Pre-Polycrisis’ Hazard Mitigation

Nick King argues that industrial civilization has created many persistent and severe hazards (such as nuclear waste, methane leaking hydrocarbon infrastructure, contaminated sites, landfills, and deforested land), polycrises in the near future may significantly constrict humanity’s ability to manage these hazards, and therefore societies should prioritize long-term remedial actions now, while they still have the

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How useful is the concept of polycrisis? Lessons from the development of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic

The authors examine domestic policymaking processes amidst polycrisis by tracing the Canadian government’s development of its Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) during the Covid-19 pandemic. They argue that the process embodied three key best practices for national-level policy design in a crisis—policy integration, learning, and agility—and show how these elements evade capture by the polycrisis

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Mitigating Global Warming is Not Our Only Problem: Are We “Sleepwalking” Towards a Global Polycrisis?

William White argues that climate policy around the world is lacking in dimensions of “should” (clear analysis of what must be done), “could” (the power to implement solutions), and “would” (the actual use of that power to address the problem). The even greater challenge, however, is that climate change is not the only global systemic

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Hawaii Wildfires Expose Need for Resilience in a Polycrisis World

Joseph Fiskel argues that the Maui wildfire reveals just how unprepared communities are to face polycrises. In response, he advocates systems thinking and greater resilience: “Rather than simply ‘bouncing back’ from crises, a resilient organization will ‘bounce forward’ by sensing threats, adapting to new conditions, and improving its responsiveness to surprise events. This requires long-term thinking,

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Let’s Avoid ‘Trigger Fixation’

The authors argue that a trigger event can’t start a crisis by itself; some underlying stress or stresses must also be operating. They contend that leaders should pay far more attention to these stresses, because they’re ultimately far more important. The original title of the article was “Let’s Avoid ‘Trigger Fixation.” The Globe and Mail

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Transformation in the Poly-Crisis Age

This policy brief recommends that the European Union must shift from short-term crises responses to the long term systemic transformations required by a polycrisis era. It argues: “Today’s challenges require both anticipatory governance, long-term systems thinking and adaptive, agile decision-making. We must understand the real nature and root causes of the major crises we are

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