Robert Kates

Robert Kates

Bob Kates was an independent scholar in Trenton, Maine; Senior Research Associate at Harvard University; Presidential Professor of Sustainability Science at the University Of Maine; and University Professor (Emeritus) at Brown University. Trained as a geographer, he led interdisciplinary programs addressing environment and development at the University of Dar as Salaam in Tanzania, Clark University, and the World Hunger Program at Brown University. He was co-chair for the 1999 National Academy of Sciences report, Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability and co-convener of the Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability. He co-authored or edited foundational studies on natural hazards, climate impact assessment, and transformational adaptation to climate change.

GTI Contributions
Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead
Other Key Docs
Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead

April 2002

The planetary phase of history has begun, but the future shape of global society remains profoundly uncertain. Though perhaps improbable, a shift toward a planetary civilization of enriched lives, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability is still possible. This treatise examines the historic roots of this fateful crossroads, analyzes alternative scenarios that can emerge from contemporary forces and contradictions, and points to strategies and choices for advancing a Great Transition. It synthesizes the insights of the Global Scenario Group, convened in 1995 by the Tellus Institute and Stockholm Environment Institute to explore the requirements for a sustainable and desirable future.

The pdf is available in English, Español, and Deutsch.

Great Transition Values: Present Attitudes, Future Changes
Paper Series
Great Transition Values: Present Attitudes, Future Changes

Anthony Leiserowitz, Robert Kates, and Thomas Parris analyze current public attitudes toward the three key values of a Great Transition: quality of life, human solidarity, and ecological sensibility. They discuss how the forces of population growth, globalization, technological innovation, climate change, and—importantly—surprise will influence such values along the path toward a Great Transition future.