50 years after the publication of The Limits to Growth, the first report to the Club of Rome, humanity is in dire straits.This originates from a wider landscape of self-inflicted existential threats: growing inequality and social fractures; climate warming on a devastating scale; the ongoing destruction of ecosystems; and the misapplication of finance and technology increasing the probability of dystopian futures.
The Limits to Growth intended to open the space of possibilities for humanity to decide its course. Many of the future scenarios presented in the report showed the probability of collapse due to the combined effects of pollution and the exhaustion of resources.
However, its scenarios also showed the possibility of a balance between “development” and Earth’s limits.The Club of Rome suggested that human development could be substantially redefined towards equitable human wellbeing for a healthy planet.
Today, existing frameworks such as the UN Agenda 2030, designed to address the complex challenges we face, are not meeting expectations. There is a sense of stuckness, as if we were incapable of getting out of an extractive and exploitative model which, as pointed out by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, wages war on life and will lead to the suicide of humanity.
The concept of The Fifth Element emanates the determination to safeguard Life. It has dreams that are built on life-inspired learning, drawing equally from indigenous science and cutting-edge research. People of all ages and backgrounds are invited to collaborate to learn how to approach humanity’s existential concerns in their own unique ways as learners and teachers, citizens and experts.
The Fifth Element aims to shift focus from stakeholders to people as human beings, from teaching to learning, from colonial mindsets to self-organisation, from scarcity, competition, and dispossession, to abundance, collaboration and emergence. It aims to foster new meanings and dissonance rather than being limited to problem and solution – oriented mindsets.
Anything is possible
We humans are explorers. If we reconnect with the web of Life and our own humanity, the space of possibilities reopens. It can lead to the emergence of a multitude of self-organised ways to be in the world, at peace with ourselves and the biosphere.
We place our trust in humanity because humanity’s transformation is happening in unexpected places; people are self-organising. The Fifth Element’s vision is to explore and facilitate the recognition of blind spots and learn from each other, so that together with humanity, we can catalyse the emergence of a human revolution.