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Our Vision, Our Work

Tellus Institute strives to advance a planetary civilization rooted in justice, well-being, and sustainability. Our work addresses key dimensions of a transformative global praxis—understanding, vision, and action—by fostering scholarship, developing scenarios, and mobilizing networks for change. At this perilous juncture in human affairs, Tellus now more than ever joins engaged thinkers and thinking activists the world over in shaping a global transition, the great challenge of our time.
The world has entered the Planetary Phase of Civilization, a new epoch of accelerated change and heightened risk. Long threads of interdependence—economic, cultural, technological, political, and environmental—are binding the planet’s people and biosphere into a single community of fate. Some form of globalized civilization will take shape in the coming decades, but its ultimate character remains uncertain and contested. The path of world development depends on how we respond collectively to emergent crises and opportunities.

The conventional development paradigm assumes twenty-first-century challenges can be adequately addressed through piecemeal market and policy adjustments. But a system that privileges profit over need, growth over resilience, and state-centrism over global governance would be ill-equipped for coping with looming non-conventional perils. Quite plausibly, Conventional Worlds scenarios could veer rather abruptly toward some form of Barbarization scenario, a descent into anarchic chaos, perhaps, or global repression.

The risk of evolutionary drift and catastrophic decline is all too real, but not inevitable. We still have time and world enough to shape a Great Transition, a civilization where the health of the environment, the breadth of human solidarity, and the quality of lives become the legitimate measures of development. Turning toward such a future depends on our collective capacity as global citizens to gain new insights, embrace new values, and take common actions.

Featured Publications

JTE

Journey to Earthland:

The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization

Paul Raskin

An organic planetary civilization has become both a possibly and a necessity.

Essay

GT Essay

Great Transition:

Paul Raskin, Tariq Banuri, Gilberto Gallopín, Pablo Gutman, Al Hammond, Robert Kates, Rob Swart

Why a planetary civilization of enriched lives, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability is possible

The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead

Essay

Global Mvmt

What's Next for the Global Movement?

Directions for shared strategy and vision

GTI Forum

EMU

Experiments in Movement Unity

Opening Essay by
Ashish Kothari & Shrishtee Bajpai

Landscaping transformative initiatives

GTI Forum

Big History

Big History and Great Transition

What do we learn from taking a long-term view? What is obscured?

GTI Forum

Solidarity with Animals

Solidarity with Animals

Reframing our relationship to other creatures

GTI Forum

Which Future

Which Future Are We Living In?

Reflections on the path of history 2002-2022

GTI Forum

Pop debate

The Population Debate Revisited

The question of overpopulation in the contemporary context

GTI Forum

Conservation Crossroads

Conservation at the Crossroads: Battle Lines and Ways Forward

The urgent search for new models for protecting nature

GTI Forum

Tech Future

Technology and the Future

Emerging innovations will shape the global trajectory—but how?

GTI Forum

Global Solidarity

Can Human Solidarity Globalize?

Can the scope of identity and empathy widen in an interdependent world?

GTI Forum

Pedagogy Transition

The Pedagogy of Transition:
Educating for the Future We Want

How can we align educational systems with new ecological and social imperatives?

GTI Forum

Interrogating Anthropocene

Interrogating the Anthropocene: Truth and Fallacy

If we care about building a decent future, how should we think about "the Anthropocene"?

GTI Forum

Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income: Has the Time Come?

Proponents and critics debate the question

GTI Forum

Planetize the Movement
Planetize-Movement-Graphic.jpg

Planetize the Movement!

We need coordinated global action systemic change. How can we build a unified movement?

GTI Forum

Great Ethics Transition

Toward a Great Ethics Transition: The Earth Charter at Twenty

Ethical foundations for an interdependent world facing a common destiny

GTI Forum

Dollars to Doughnuts

Dollars to Doughnuts:
The Shape of a New Economy

Kate Raworth

The author of Donut Economics describes what mainstream economics gets wrong and how to fix it.

Interview

PlayPause

Great Transition Visions

Learn about global scenarios

Great Transition Ideas

A six minute exposition