A hub for the growing polycrisis community

Megan Shipman and Scott Janzwood

In the last several years, a nascent polycrisis community—involving researchers, practitioners, journalists, and others—has begun to emerge.

However, this community dedicated to understanding the global polycrisis remains fragmented and disconnected from people who are actively navigating the polycrisis on the ground. The community is also largely detached from groups doing relevant polycrisis work outside of the Global North. Additionally, traditional research domains (such as governance, transport, health, food security, and climate) don’t tend to cover the interdisciplinary overlap inherent in polycrisis. Collaboration among these fields is vital to develop more effective policies, strategies, and governance frameworks to address the polycrisis.

In an attempt to support collaboration, the Cascade Institute has launched a new website, Polycrisis.org to serve as a hub for a more inclusive community to converge around a rough consensus on priorities for research and action.

Polycrisis.org was developed by the Cascade Institute through a consultation process with the attendees of the 2022 workshop “Exploring the Polycrisis” organized by the V. K. Rasmussen Foundation.

The website is organized around three key features: the Learning Journey, the Polycrisis Resource Library, and the Polycrisis Community Map.

The Learning Journey is a self-guided tour intended to help expand the polycrisis community by informing a wide audience of scholars, people in media, and laypeople about essential topics and ideas in the polycrisis discussion. Using key texts from the Polycrisis Resource Library, the Learning Journey covers questions such as, “What does the term polycrisis mean?” “Who is using the term polycrisis today?” and “Why are some people criticizing the topic of polycrisis?” Progressing through the journey, individuals will gain a solid baseline knowledge of polycrisis ideas—and how those ideas are starting to be used in practice.

The Polycrisis Resource Library is a constantly growing collection of journal articles, books, opinion pieces, reports, and videos that help users understand polycrisis, develop strategies to address polycrisis, and build a field of polycrisis analysis. The Resource Library is intended to be an authoritative collection of polycrisis-related resources.

The Polycrisis Community Map charts the emerging community of scholars, practitioners, and institutions working on polycrisis and closely related topics, as well as their connections to one another. Actors can be filtered by topics such as system focus or field. The map allows users to track the growth of the field and facilitate new collaborations.

Material in the Resource Library and actors in the Community Map must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  1. They substantively engage in the discussion of the polycrisis concept.
  2. They address the intersection of crises across three (or more) of the following global systems: built environment; climate; community; economy; ecosystems; education; energy and resources; food; health; policy, planning, and law; politics; security and defense; technology; transportation; and worldviews.
  3. They develop analytical or practical frameworks to understand and address crisis intersections across multiple systems.

The Resource Library and the Community Map are only valuable if they’re regularly updated. Our mission is to accelerate the growth and development of this emerging community of research and practice, and therefore, we’re committed to maintaining polycrisis.org as the authoritative hub of the polycrisis community.

Importantly, the site has been designed to encourage contributions from the growing community. Visitors to polycrisis.org can suggest polycrisis resources to be added to the Resource Library or update/add an actor in the Community Map.

It’s our hope that engagement on polycrisis.org will result in a comprehensive and highly accessible set of resources, and a place for an inclusive, growing, and global polycrisis community to connect.

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