Alternative scenarios for goa over the next 100 years

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Address delivered on occasion of the Foundation Day of the Goa University on 30th June 2013

Address delivered on occasion of the Foundation Day of the Goa University on 30th June 2013

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  • 1. Scenarios  for  Goa  over  the  next  100  years               1   Scenarios  for  Goa  over  the  next  100  years   Address  delivered  on  occasion  of  the  Foundation  Day  of  the  Goa  University  on   30th  June  2013   Prof.  Anupam  Saraph,  Ph.D.,  Future  Designer1   Purpose   It  is  not  my  purpose  to  deliver  scenarios  for  Goa  over  the  next  100  years.   Rather  it  is  my  case  to  worry  about  the  absence  of  such  scenarios  stretching   beyond  the  here  and  now.  It  is  my  case  to  worry  about  the  lack  of  any  serious   discussion,  debate  to  look  at  alternate  futures  beyond  the  present.  It  is  my  case   to  worry  about  the  absence  of  focus  and  capacity  for  designing  the  future.  We  are   content  with  the  future  just  happening  on  us.  Our  designs  if  any  lack  not  just  the   time  axis  but  also  the  idea  of  dynamics,  change  and  life.  It  is  my  focus  to  worry   about  the  increasingly  complex  state  in  an  ever-­‐complex  world  that  we  are  a  part   of.  It  is  my  case  to  worry  about  our  failing  to  assume  leadership  of  the  future.     Scenarios   Many  of  us  grow  up  learning  to  create  realities  by  first  imagining  them,  by  first   experiencing  them  in  our  minds.  George  Bernard  Shaw’s  Pygmalion  created  a   princess  out  of  a  flower  girl.  Be  careful  of  what  you  think,  warn  the  sages,  for  it   may  turn  out  to  become  real.  The  future  then  is  not  pre-­‐determined  or   unalterable.   Scenarios  are  alternate  possible  sequences  of  future  events.  Scenarios  remind  us   that  the  future  is  not  fixed.  Scenarios  remind  us  that  there  are  many  alternate   futures  that  are  possible.  Scenarios  remind  us  that  the  choices  we  make,  the   decisions  we  endorse,  the  goals  we  arrive  at,  the  indicators  and  events  that  drive   us  to  action,  the  missions  we  pursue,  the  relationships  we  live  in,  the   communities  we  build,  the  purposes  we  live  for  and  the  visions  we  aspire  for   shape  our  futures.     Scenarios  are  not  predictions.  They  do  not  condemn  a  community  to  their  fate;   rather  they  liberate  communities  to  understand  the  alternates  between  utopias   and  dystopias  that  may  emerge  as  a  consequence  of  their  actions.     Scenarios  are  not  like  the  legendry  predictions  of  the  beautiful  Greek  priestess   Cassandra  –  accurate  yet  unbelievable.  Scenarios  are  not  daydreams  or  castles   built  in  the  air.  Most  scenarios  are  believable  alternates  based  on  the  models  and   perceptions  of  those  who  build  them.  Some  scenarios  are  based  on  formal   models  simulated  by  computers;  others  are  based  on  analysis  of  data.  Some   scenarios  address  important,  immediate  choices  and  their  consequences;  others   address  all  choices  that  affect  the  purposes  and  visions  of  the  communities.  Good   scenarios  provide  opportunities  to  examine  and  question  our  mental  models   about  the  complex  systems  that  we  are  a  part  of.  They  provide  opportunities  to   navigate  our  way  into  creating  livable  and  even  enjoyable  futures.                                                                                                                   1  Anupam  Saraph  is  a  Future  Designer  and  Professor  of  Systems,  Decision   Sciences  and  Environment  
  • 2. Scenarios  for  Goa  over  the  next  100  years               2   Scenarios  are  invaluable  when  they  form  the  basis  for  public  discourse  on  the   future  of  communities.  They  help  identify  the  scenarios  that  are  dystopias  or   utopias  to  different  stakeholders  in  the  community.  They  provide  a  pre-­‐sense  to   the  pains  and  pleasures  each  scenario  promises  to  inflict  upon  the  stakeholders   in  the  future.  Scenarios  provide  tremendous  value  in  helping  each  person   recognize  the  impact  of  their  choices  they  make,  the  decisions  they  endorse,  the   goals  they  set,  the  indicators  they  use  to  drive  action,  the  missions  they  choose,   the  purposes  they  want  to  live  for  and  the  visions  they  aspire  to  realize.   When  used  as  a  part  of  public  discourse  scenarios  build  communities.  They  help   pre-­‐sense  the  pleasures  and  pains  of  all  who  are  part  of  the  scenarios.  They   create  a  community  well-­‐being  through  alignment  of  action,  continuity  in   choices,  sharing  of  visions  and  respect  for  diverse  purposes.   While  the  scenarios  for  Nassiruddin  cutting  the  branch  he  is  sitting  on  may  look   simple,  the  scenarios  for  getting  a  energy  starved  Apollo  13  and  its  crew  safely   back  to  earth  are  not.  The  scenarios  for  spaceship  Goa  are  even  more  complex.   Long  Now   "Now",  says  Stewart  Brand,  is  the  period  in  which  people  feel,  live,  act  and  have   responsibility.  For  most  of  us,  "now"  is  about  a  week,  sometimes  a  year.  For   some  traditional  tribes  in  the  American  northeast  and  Australia,  "now"  is  seven   generations  back  and  forward  (350  years).     We  live  in  a  fast  world  where  companies  are  increasingly  shorter  lived,   enormous  buildings  come  and  go,  scams  are  forgotten  faster  than  new  ones   appear,  relationships  last  only  as  long  as  interests,  political  regimes  appear  and   vanish  in  months,  careers  rise  and  crash  in  weeks.  Our  governments  are  limited   to  next-­‐election  thinking  and  our  corporations  to  next-­‐quarter  perspectives.  As   we  come  closer  to  a  “2020”  or  a  “2035”  or  even  our  future  shrinks  a  year  at  a   time.  Our  “now”  is  increasingly  shorter  and  shorter.     In  our  information  age  we  look  for  excitement,  fast,  “my-­‐term”,  current,  and   temporary.  British  musician  and  artist  Brian  Eno  highlights  that  you  rarely  get   the  feeling  that  anyone  has  the  time  to  think  two  years  ahead,  let  alone  ten  or  a   hundred.  He  points  out  that  such  a  world  may  seem  undeniably  lively,  but  the   downside  was  that  it  seemed  selfish,  irresponsible  and  randomly  dangerous.  He   came  to  think  of  this  as  "The  Short  Now",  and  this  suggested  the  possibility  of  its   opposite  -­‐  "The  Long  Now".   In  Goa  our  the  change  of  governments,  the  faster  change  in  policies,  the  impacts   of  the  stay  on  mining,  the  tourist  flows,  the  price  of  petrol,  the  availability  of   parking,  the  fish  and  vegetable  prices  occupy  our  “short  now”.  Understandably   we  pay  most  attention  to  the  fast-­‐changing  elements.   As  Brian  Eno  asks,  can  we  become  inspired  by  the  prospect  of  contributing  to  the   future?  Can  we  shame  ourselves  into  thinking  that  we  really  do  owe  those  who   follow  us  some  sort  of  consideration,  just  as  the  people  of  the  nineteenth  century   shamed  themselves  out  of  slavery?  Can  we  extend  our  empathy  to  the  lives   beyond  ours?  Can  we  look  at  the  lifetime  of  the  child  born  now?  Can  we  look  at   the  transformations  that  will  matter  over  the  next  1000  or  at  least  the  next  100   years  of  Goa?    
  • 3. Scenarios  for  Goa  over  the  next  100  years               3   Scenarios  for  Goa   In  2000  I  was  part  of  a  team  that  looked  at  100-­‐year  scenarios  for  “greater”   Panaji.  Our  mandate  was  to  look  at  scenarios  for  renewable  energy,  particularly   gas  as  a  transition  fuel  as  the  world  moves  to  renewables  from  oil  over  the  next   100  years.  I  developed  a  model  that  looked  at  the  dynamics  of  demographics  to   explore  scenarios  of  resource  use  and  waste  management.  We  won  an   International  award  for  the  work.  The  model,  as  yet,  remains  to  have  contibuted   in  educating,  shaping  or  even  debating  the  future  designs  of  Goa.   12  years  later  we  are  in  an  ever  more  complex  world.  Our  leadership  has  no   models  of  the  state  or  the  country  they  attempt  to  transform.  They  have  no   scenarios  to  share  other  than  an  assurance  of  a  single  fixed,  unchangeable  future.   Besides  a  leap  of  faith  there  is  little  to  believe  that  the  choices  we  make,  the   decisions  we  endorse,  the  goals  we  arrive  at,  the  indicators  and  events  that  drive   us  to  action,  the  missions  we  pursue,  the  relationships  we  live  in,  the   communities  we  build,  the  purposes  we  live  for  will  yield  the  visions  we  aspire   for  or  shape  our  futures  for  the  better.     If  alternate  possibilities  are  not  recognized,  understood  or  designed  for  there  is   no  way  they  can  be  addressed.  It  is  therefore  no  wonder  that  the  absence  of   scenarios  results  in  a  design  failure  of  governance.  With  the  huge  failure  of   governance  across  the  country,  there  is  a  crying  need  for  dynamic  models  and   scenarios  not  only  for  each  state  but  also  for  the  entire  country.     The  many  things  on  which  our  future  well-­‐being  and  prosperity  depend  are  in   dire  jeopardy:  the  resilience  and  productivity  of  systems,  the  beauty  of  the   world,  biological  diversity  and  climate  stability.   Just  a  few  years  ago  no  one  even  imagined  a  mine-­‐free  Goa.  Today  the  scenario   could  be  a  reality.  Over  the  next  100  years  that  could  be  a  very  real  scenario.   The  scenarios  that  result  from  dynamics  of  land-­‐use  can  help  recognize  choices   necessary  to  create  a  sustainable  state  or  the  causes  of  the  dystopian   urbanization  that  seems  to  plague  Goa  as  much  as  most  other  states.     The  scenarios  that  result  from  the  dynamics  of  global  climate-­‐change  can  help   plan  for  a  possible  “Isles  of  Goa”  as  sea  level  rises  by  0.8  to  2  meters  by  2100.   The  scenarios  that  result  from  the  dynamics  of  fisheries  and  agriculture  can  help   find  choices  that  would  ensure  over-­‐exploitation  or  pollution  do  not  destroy   these  sectors.     The  tourism  scenarios  of  Goa  can  help  Goa  ensure  that  a  hundred  years  from   now  Goa  will  not  be  the  crime  tourism  capital.     The  scenarios  resulting  from  the  industrial  dynamics  of  Goa  can  provide  insight   into  industrial  choices  that  result  into  utopias  or  dystopias.   The  scenarios  resulting  from  the  demographic  dynamics  can  help  Goa  design   ways  to  increase  the  knowledge  worker  density,  transition  from  a  mere  0.57%   workers  being  university  educated,  to  deal  with  the  declining  workforce  as  the   population  ages.  
  • 4. Scenarios  for  Goa  over  the  next  100  years               4   The  scenarios  that  result  from  ecological  dynamics  can  help  Goa  design  ways  to   preserve  its  biodiversity,  ensure  clean  environment  and  maintain  healthy  bio-­‐ geo-­‐chemical  cycles.   Conclusions   During  his  tenure  as  the  President  of  the  United  States  Jimmy  Carter   commissioned  Dr.  Gerald  Barney  to  capture,  compile  and  share  the  models  used   by  different  government  agencies  to  undertake  their  business.  The  resulting   effort  helped  bring  out  the  diverse  assumptions  and  the  huge  gap  in   understanding  that  existed  about  the  impact  the  choices  of  each  department  had   on  the  USA  and  the  world.  It  highlighted  the  absence  of  scenarios  in  most  cases  in   dealing  with  the  challenges.     In  Goa  we  need  to  build  scenarios  for  each  sector  and  for  Goa  over  the  “long   now”.  The  university  has  a  big  role  to  play  in  not  only  creating  the  scenarios  but   also  in  building  Goa’s  capacity  to  design  futures  with  the  help  of  the  scenarios.   Real  transformation  lies  in  deep,  slow  change.    A  university  is  the  temple  of   wisdom  that  has  tremendous  capacity  to  create  deep  slow  change  that  has  the   power  to  transform  the  future.  The  “long  now”  of  Goa  resides  not  with  the   economy  or  government  but  squarely  with  the  University.  If  education  cannot   design  the  future  wisely,  what  is  education  for?