Conference Presentation “Waking sleeping giants; Engaging Futures of the bioeconomy”

This year’s Futures Conference organized by Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, focused on the futures of sustainable development and energy. In this conference, Project Researcher Amos Taylor gave a presentation entitled “Waking sleeping giants; Engaging Futures of the bioeconomy”

Futures Conference 2018: ENERGIZING FUTURES – Sustainable Development and Energy in Transition, 13–14 June 2018, Tampere, Finland.

In his presentation, Taylor argued that there are Sleeping Giants that we are about to wake in the unfolding paradigm shift to a bio-based economy. That can be seen as a multifaceted diaspora of interconnected energy possibilities that traverse the fine balance between stored and collected carbon sinks and earths bio resources.

This process can be seen as Waking Sleeping Giants, a term and constructed methodology utilised in our futures project Bioeconomy and Justice at the FFRC. We illustrate the industrial desire to unleash and wake an abundant beast from deep within nature and the ethical issues that involves. We explore the ramifications of ‘waking’ such various energy abundant giants, those successfully woken and those that should definitely best be left in deep sleep. Strange and wonderfully innovative methods are promising to be applied to wake these Giants of the Bioeconomy that offer many scenarios and alternative futures that reveal crucial decision points and causal consequences.

The Giant metaphor is very useful as a way to approach bio-based economies, especially connecting issues of nature and society, climate change and more radical transformative innovations. The hope is that this is a useful futures approach to make sense of the multiple future potentials and dangers that the next transformation suggests.

Presented in this paper is the exploration and construction of the Giant metaphor for our futures methodology, utilised to engage and construct scenarios for long range futures of the bio-based economy, especially to expose ethical confrontations and decision points. Literature review, horizon scanning and expert interviews have formed the content for this sense-making discourse. Three transformational giant metaphor scenarios are offered that engage bio-technology, bioresource and bio-ecology perspectives.

This thesis is further described in Taylor’s article “How To Wake A Sleeping Finnish Forest Giant: Perspectives On the Finnish Bioeconomy” which is one chapter of the book “The Emergence of Bio-Economy: Opportunities and Risks: A Forward-Looking Study(2017) Editors: Emmanouil Koukios and Adam Mazurkiewicz.

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