notes from
the 
long crisis

We Still Have a Dream

We Still Have a Dream

Where I work, the stories of past traumas from racist experiences have come pouring out from both staff and young people. And as I heard their experiences, my initial anger turned into an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. But this sense of heaviness also began to change, as I understood the opportunity for people to speak their truth. And that Dr King’s dream of equality can still be realised in the generations to come.

Justice in a Global Emergency

Justice in a Global Emergency

A cry for justice is echoing around the world. In the US millions of people are marching to demand changes to the failures of the American justice system. In Mali, crowds gathered to demand change to a justice system that is considered corrupt. The cry for an independent judiciary was loud on the streets of Beirut last weekend. And the demand for justice will continue to grow. But there is a better way. Here are our recommended next steps.

Shades of Black

Shades of Black

In Turkey, those who had these opportunities because they were born in the ‘right’ part of the country feel superior to the others and discriminate against those who didn’t have the same luck. We need visionary leadership that tackles intra-race racism as well as the hatred that festers between races, so that we are no longer defined by the colour of our skin.

A World in Which Many Worlds Fit

A World in Which Many Worlds Fit

In our dreams for a post-COVID world, what should we demand of our international relations and international public good institutions? What does it mean to de-colonise and transform development and humanitarian enterprise so that it is anti-racist within and without? We want to offer some thoughts.

Making Allies and Burning Bridges

Making Allies and Burning Bridges

The killing of George Floyd became a problem for all of us. What would it take for this no longer to be seen as a US problem, a black problem, a ghetto problem, a problem for the poor? There is something different happening this time. The protests around the world and the interconnectedness of the young gives this moment an urgency.

Scenarios Week Round-Up

Scenarios Week Round-Up

Last month, we launch the #LongCrisisScenarios in partnership with the Local Trust. The four scenarios describe COVID-19 futures where the response is polarised or where collective action predominates, and where decision-making is centralised or distributed. For the past week, we’ve been inviting contributors to share their perspectives on a what COVID-19 future might look like. From education to cities, from citizenship to future foreign secretaries, you’ll find all the articles here.

An Independent Panel on COVID-19, Science, Uncertainty and Policy

An Independent Panel on COVID-19, Science, Uncertainty and Policy

There is a communications challenge around COVID-19. Messages about what we know, and what we should do, are not clearly shared and reproduced. We propose that WHO should immediately set up an Independent Panel on COVID-19, Uncertainty, Science and Policy (CUSP – everything needs a good acronym), and its main job would be to talk to publics.

How COVID-19 may be as significant as 9/11 for global migration policy

How COVID-19 may be as significant as 9/11 for global migration policy

This time last year, we were living in a different world. Now over 400,000 people have died of COVID-19 and we are staring down the barrel at the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the many challenges that lockdowns have surfaced: unemployment, domestic violence, racial and economic divides, inequalities in access to health and education, and poor international co-operation.

Towards More Equal and Resilient Cities Post-COVID-19

Towards More Equal and Resilient Cities Post-COVID-19

What path we take post-COVID-19 will depend in large part on how the world’s cities change. The Long Crisis scenarios are a timely and helpful reminder that nothing is settled: our future is up for grabs. A better future can only be won by equipping and empowering cities to drive a green, inclusive recovery post-COVID-19.

The Fall of the Big Men

The Fall of the Big Men

We have known for generations that our old models of leadership are not fit for purpose. A once in a multi-generation pandemic offers a global leadership control experiment and we’ve seen what we like, and what we don’t. The winners are rising to the top – the losers are showing the limitations of their Big Men style.

After COVID, Where Will We Be?

After COVID, Where Will We Be?

Yesterday afternoon, representatives from the Long Crisis Network, Local Trust, and The Alternative UK came together to explore the implications of the Long Crisis Scenarios for the future of communities.

The Long Crisis Scenarios are a Call to Citizen Thinking

The Long Crisis Scenarios are a Call to Citizen Thinking

The Long Crisis Scenarios are a tremendous gift to us all. Considered and calm, they offer a way to make sense of events that can otherwise seem so great in magnitude that, for myself at least, there is a real risk of feeling completely overwhelmed. But more than that, in the form of the Winning Ugly scenario, in particular, they offer both a call to action and a reassurance that action can and will be meaningful.

2030: Which Path Will We Take?

2030: Which Path Will We Take?

Scenarios for our post-COVID future kept coming up in discussions over at the Red Button Club. So we teleported ourselves into the year 2030 and took a seat at the desk of a recently retired foreign secretary, getting ready to pour his/her heart into an honest end of the year op-ed.

Winning Ugly: Five Lessons From Managing a School Shutdown

Winning Ugly: Five Lessons From Managing a School Shutdown

On 28 February, Lebanon confirmed its fourth case of COVID-19, closing all schools with immediate effect on the same day. Fadi Yarak, the Director General of Education in the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), shares some lessons from over a decade of leading a school system through difficult times.

Four Scenarios and a Future for Communities

Four Scenarios and a Future for Communities

To think through the changes we need to make, it makes sense first to try to understand the new landscape, even as it is still unfolding. To help answer that question, we asked Alex Evans and David Steven, founders of the Long Crisis Network, to develop some scenarios, each describing a different future that could emerge from the events happening around us now.

Scenarios Week on Global Dashboard

Scenarios Week on Global Dashboard

Today, we’re kicking off Scenarios Week, a week of articles from leading thinkers who have formed their own responses to the Long Crisis Scenarios, perspectives on what our world might soon look like, or insights on how we can prepare for an uncertain future.

Our COVID Future: The Long Crisis Scenarios

Our COVID Future: The Long Crisis Scenarios

COVID-19 marks a turning point in the 21st century.​ Levels of uncertainty are off the chart, making predictions impossible. ​But if we can create plausible stories about different futures, we create a foundation for decision makers, campaigners, and communities to influence the process of change.​

The Debts We Now Owe Each Other – and How to Pay Them Back

The Debts We Now Owe Each Other – and How to Pay Them Back

In Our Other National Debt, we have tried to make practical proposals for how to start turning gratitude or warm sentiment into real-world action that will make a meaningful difference. Nothing about this is easy, but it’s nonetheless profoundly important. How can we encourage good things to flourish even in rough and damaged soil?

The True Cost of COVID-19 School Closures

The True Cost of COVID-19 School Closures

According to our model, just four months of school and university closures across the United States could result in a $2.5 trillion total loss in future earnings. At a global level, these new data suggest that the current generation of students could lose up to $10 trillion as a result of COVID-19 closures over the course of their careers.

Foxes vs Hedgehogs: The Importance of ‘Followership’ in the Age of COVID-19

Foxes vs Hedgehogs: The Importance of ‘Followership’ in the Age of COVID-19

In recent weeks, the wider internet has felt awash with people who are certain of their expertise in epidemiology, despite weeks earlier being experts in something only tangentially related. When basic errors are pointed out to them, they double down. Admitting you were wrong or simply don’t know is not something humans are very good at doing or rewarding.

#BuildaBridgetoBetter: Recommendations to Drive Pandemic Responses

#BuildaBridgetoBetter: Recommendations to Drive Pandemic Responses

Disasters have a way of focusing the mind, focusing our energies, and harnessing attention. The unfolding disaster that is the coronavirus pandemic is no different: the world is united in our focus on this singular enemy. What is different is that this pandemic is not a one-off event; this is not a storm that we will easily ‘ride out’. There is no clear blue sky on the horizon.

High Five: Building Back Better Children’s Services

High Five: Building Back Better Children’s Services

We have previously highlighted the enormous sacrifice the world’s children are being asked to make to help protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19. Now, we’re outlining five actions we should start working on today to ensure children’s services are back up and running as soon as possible, and that they return strengthened and improved.

Resources for Tackling the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19

Resources for Tackling the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19

Before the spread of the coronavirus, almost 600 million people worldwide were estimated to be suffering from anxiety or depression. Suicide took the lives of 800,000 people a year, and was the second leading cause of death among those aged 15–29. These figures are now likely to rise.

Wrapping Up Local Week

Wrapping Up Local Week

The initial call for collective action has taken on new life during our Local Week series. Throughout the week, we’ve shared insights from leading thinkers on public health, policy, community empowerment, local politics, urban planning, and more, each exploring the effects of the unfolding coronavirus pandemic at a local level – you’ll find them all here.

Typologies of Change

Typologies of Change

As we begin to look forward to the world that emerges out of this crisis, there are three types of changes to consider. Each will need to be approached in a different way, using different tools and techniques.

Feed the World

Feed the World

There is not enough attention being paid to the basic questions: what can the world do to ensure that we don’t miss planting season and spread a global food crisis on top of COVID-19?

More on the Coronavirus and Slums

More on the Coronavirus and Slums

“The answers are going to come from within communities themselves. The community is the first line of defence, but governments can’t just wash their hands of this.”

How to Tackle Coronavirus in Slums

How to Tackle Coronavirus in Slums

Western governments, following the example of China, have adopted broadly similar approaches to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. After initial hesitation, and...

You’re Not Being Bold Enough

You’re Not Being Bold Enough

You're not being bold enough. I don't mean that you should be going out. Stay at home, covidiots! I'm writing this from home in Italy - and just as it is said...

Public interest in the SDGs

I got curious about what’s happened to global interest in the SDGs since they were agreed in 2015, so I ran a Google Trends analysis on it. Top line: turns...