'Thinking far beyond the Critical Decades, and long after Century XXI'
Observe Impacts. Forecast Legacies. Educate Generations. Archive Essentials. Conserve for Posterity.
At this moment in history, it is widely recognised that the immediate future of our shared biome and common heritage is now governed by the actions of Earth's principle geological agents; humanity. Our near-future is profoundly intertwined with the moral decisions we enact today on behalf of generations not yet in the room, and our capacity to forecast emergent, longer-term impacts that will cascade down throughout the ages for all terrestrial life.
Pivotal to this deep-time planetary stewardship is our ability to identify, and adequately document, the unfolding inheritance of the Anthropocene, while also ensuring comprehension of these indelible legacies for future entities that we may not recognise as 'human'. Understanding, for ourselves, the causality of our ‘waste’ and related material legacies, is crucial for our attempts to convey this ‘essential’ information across an unknown, temporal horizon — much less attempting to redress these anthropogenic concerns in our times. This 'essential information' is inherently documenting our 'alternative heritage' across vast timelines.
The foundation is a decadal research initiative and educational-outreach institute, established to investigate the breadth of these enduring anthropogenic legacies, while also studying the semiosis dilemma of intelligible communication over deep-time intervals. We aim to promote social discourse on the long-term archaeological impact of our technological interactions, value judgements and intergenerational decisions, that will far outlast our near-future conceptualisation of ‘Earth’. Our interdisciplinary work simply aspires to be of some measurable help to humanity and our emergent deep-time legacies, largely for the benefit of posterity who cannot readily ‘have a say’ over today’s choices.
THINKING 'BEYOND THE EARTH'
Thinking ‘beyond the Earth’ from a deep-time perspective — or ‘cathedral thinking’ across intergenerational timescales — is a tradition familiar to many disciplinary orientations, especially within the fields of environmental ethics, risk management, astrobiology, heritage conservation and stewardship praxis, that varyingly operate on geological, cosmic or ‘long-now’ timescales.
However, this circumspection infrequently translates across the realms of our short-term planning in socio-political interactions, material culture practices and technological proliferation — all of which collectively re-shapes our modern-day civilisations within this narrowly focused ‘age of the now’. We hope to challenge this short-termism, and help place long-term sustainable decision making at the forefront of deep-time stewardship planning, while ensuring documentation for more protracted legacies is committed to memory as part of a pre-emptive, mitigation strategy that may pay off in the long-long run.
A sure sign of human sapience, is our ability to decouple our lives from this short-termism of immediate seconds, minutes, hours, days and years we habitually measure our life spans within, and instead focus on cultivating a very long-term historical perspective, and protracted planning for those generations yet to be born. Acknowledging the ‘big history’ of past life on Earth, naturally leads us to recognise the ‘long futurity’ that will inevitably follow from ‘today’, and how present anthropogenic interactions will culminate deep-time implications beyond our tomorrow.
The foundation is an international collective of astrobiologists, ethicists, anthropologists, artists, futurists, scientists, academics and other professionals who possess an enduring concern for the future habitability of the Earth system. We aspire to responsibly ensure that the preservation and commensurability of essential information is maintained for future generations — to give posterity a factual opportunity to commit informed decisions on behalf of their inherited world. There are many crucial stewardship resolutions yet to be made — many by the present, but many more by the great, silent majority of future generations who will inherit and experience unfolding legacies for our eras.