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Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 222-247;

Citizens’ Views of Australia’s Future to 2050

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Floreat WA 6014, Australia
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia
CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
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In four focus group exercises involving both forecasting and backcasting approaches, we gave approximately 100 Australian citizens the opportunity to discuss likely, desirable and feared futures to 2050. The image they paint is both coherent and consistent. Education, governance, personal attitudes and societal trends, rather than specific events, are drivers of a future which is perceived as being largely shaped by human choices. Innovation is believed to be more necessary in novel social arrangements than in further technology. The most feared futures arise from an amplification of trends already at play in the present: economic growth at the expense of the environment and quality of life, lack of equity, poor government, corporate greed, commercialism and erosion of social values. Economic and material growth does not feature in the most desired futures which are local, inclusive, peaceful, equitable and in some cases frugal. The visions and scenarios developed find a place within established foresight frameworks and global political narratives, but seem to lie at the fringe of current media and short-term political discourse. These results should not be interpreted as representative of the overall Australian population, but suggest that extending the analysis to the broader community could provide significant insights and enrich the discussion of important societal choices. View Full-Text
Keywords: future studies; sustainability; australia’s future; future archetypes; narrative analysis; climate change; economic growth future studies; sustainability; australia’s future; future archetypes; narrative analysis; climate change; economic growth

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Boschetti, F.; Fulton, E.A.; Grigg, N.J. Citizens’ Views of Australia’s Future to 2050. Sustainability 2015, 7, 222-247.

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