by Joshua Floyd
The Millennium Project poses the question “How can growing energy demand be met safely and efficiently?” From a perspective grounded in critical and epistemological futures inquiry, this subsumes three further questions: 1) what is the nature of our changing energy demand; 2) what might it mean to meet this ‘safely’; and 3) what might it mean to meet our demand ‘efficiently’? These issues must be grappled with if we wish to address the framing question comprehensively. This leads beyond an instrumental approach to our energetic challenges focused on energy sources and conversion technologies, by sweeping these within a higher-order approach based on developing the institutions through which we mediate between human aspirations and energy use. From this institutional viewpoint, we may well serve our collective interests better by making the design principles of safety and efficiency subsidiary to those of resilience and sufficiency.