About Age of Transformation

Welcome to Age of Transformation, a platform and newsletter founded by Nafeez Ahmed to empower us to create a new system and a new paradigm for the coming post-carbon era.

Over the last 20 years, I've been ahead of the curve time and again. I've forecasted many of the biggest events in recent history - from the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan to the 2008 global banking collapse; from worsening droughts and heatwaves in Asia in 2021, to the most recent global financial crisis.

I've used a unique and proven systems framework to do this. I'm creating this newsletter to help you use cutting-edge systems thinking to make better decisions for the future.

We are in the midst of the biggest and most disruptive civilisational transformation in human history. I call it, the 'global phase-shift'. All our systems are in flux. The prevailing industrial paradigm is dying, as a new system is being born. Both the risks and the opportunities are unprecedented.

Do you want to understand the real drivers of change? Do you want to make sense of the patterns behind the headlines? Do you want the tools to recognise the biggest risks and opportunities in your industry, sector, country and community? Do you want you and your organisation to move from reactively playing catch-up, to forging ahead with building the systems that will change the world? If so, sign up.

An evolutionary choice

When you stop to look around, the speed of change, and the scale of crisis, feels overwhelming. Sometimes it feels terrifying. In recent years, it's felt like things have been accelerating. What you're experiencing is not just a figment of our imaginations, or a construct of social media.

This sense of acceleration is picking up on something big: that our global civilisation is moving through a period of fundamental transformation that could lead to either regressive collapse or revolutionary renewal (not to mention several scenarios in between). We face an evolutionary choice. This newsletter is about helping humanity to move into a new life-cycle, as the old patterns fall away: to empower you to recognise the levers of system change, disruptive innovation, and mindset shift that can accelerate pathways to abundance, while mitigating the risks of collapse.

Waking up

Humanity is experiencing an extraordinary convergence: an unprecedented escalation of global crises across the earth system and our human systems - some call it a 'polycrisis', others a 'permacrisis' (in 2010, I called it the 'Crisis of Civilization'). And, simultaneously, an unprecedented eruption of disruptive technologies which are rapidly changing every area of our lives.

These new tools might help us solve our deepest challenges, or create even more complex problems. What are these technologies? How do they work, and what will there impacts be? What are the costs, risks and benefits?

We also need new ideas, rules and approaches to harness them in the best way. We need new structures, and new strategies. We need new ways of seeing and engaging with the world, a new level of consciousness.

To get through the coming years and decades, we need to harness both sides of our brain, and all layers of our beings - the most advanced forms of systems analysis combined with emotional awareness; all the physical, psychological, spiritual and social dimensions of our existence.

Because system change is not simply about tinkering with external structures and rules out there. It's, even more so, about transforming our relationships with ourselves and each other. In this Age of Transformation, we will need to ramp up our capabilities to do these things together.

I created this newsletter to explore these themes and empower you to navigate this extraordinary era, in which the old incumbent system is dying as a new system comes into being. Sign up to get original insights, reporting, analysis, tools and frameworks to help you and your friends, family, colleagues, community and organisation(s) make better decisions in the context of the global phase-shift.

Praise for Nafeez Ahmed

"One of the most courageous and interesting investigative reporters of our time"
British Journalism Review

“Yes, yes, I know he is one of Them. But they often know things that we don’t – particularly about what we are up to”
Gore Vidal

“Lucid and persuasive"
Sunday Times

“Disturbing and clearly evidenced"
The Independent

"Forceful and well-sourced"
The Guardian

"Nafeez is developing a unique form of what he calls systems journalism, intended to throw light on the true scale of the planetary crisis, how this crisis demonstrates the inevitability of the demise of the prevailing system, and what true systems change inside and out might look like"
Tom Pegram, UCL Global Governance Institute

About Nafeez

I'm an award-winning 20+year systems theorist, transdisciplinary academic, investigative journalist and strategy consultant. I'm also a bestselling author, communications specialist and film-maker. I use these different hats and skills to understand and drive systems transformation in response to humanity’s biggest global challenges.

I'm currently Director of the Futures Lab at Unitas Communications Ltd, where I lead on systems transformation advisory services to governments, businesses and charities, and am founder of the System Shift Lab, a nonprofit systems transformation consultancy.

In 2010, I created the first peer-reviewed transdisciplinary systems framework scoping the interconnections of climate, energy, food, conflict, terrorism and state-militarisation, published through my book A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization. In 2011, I wrote and co-produced an award-winning feature documentary film based on the book, The Crisis of Civilization, which has been watched online by nearly a million people.

I advanced my systems framework in 2017 with Failing States, Collapsing Systems, a scientific monograph published by global science publisher Springer Nature as part of the Springer Energy Briefs series.

Using this evolving systems lens throughout my career, I've been able to predict some of the most pivotal events in recent history, including the 2001 war in Afghanistan, the 2008 global financial crisis, the post-2015 rise of the far-right across the West, the 2018 stock market dive, unprecedented droughts in Asia in 2021, and the current global economic crisis, to name just a few.

For the last decade, I've warned that human civilisation is at a historic turning point which could lead to the emergence of a new era of prosperity and innovation within planetary boundaries - or a dangerous regression into a new dark age that could even result in collapse. This newsletter is about helping us increase the chances of the former.

I've worked with some of the biggest and most influential organisations in the world, including: Aviva Investors, which holds £357 billion in assets under management and is part of the Aviva Group, the largest insurer in the UK; Ubisoft, one of the top ten biggest gaming companies in the world; the International Security Management Association, which represents the chief security officers of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies; the Biodiversity Funders Group representing the biggest philanthropic foundations in the US such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, USAID, the William and Flora Hewett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and many others; the UK Defence Academy, the executive think-tank of the UK Ministry of Defence; and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst; to name just a few.

My work has reached hundreds of millions of people across the planet. I've reported on global systems as a science and technology journalist for VICE, worked as one of "the world's top environment bloggers" for The Guardian covering the intersections of energy, environment and economics, and most recently served as Special Investigations & Global Trends Reporter for the fiercely independent British newspaper Byline Times. My reporting has been used and cited in various major official inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic, including the 9/11 Commission, the 7/7 Coroner's Inquest, and various parliamentary select committee inquiries.

My journalism has been published in places like The Atlantic, The Independent, The Times, Sunday Times, The Age, Foreign Policy, Quartz, New York Observer, Boston Globe, Toronto Star, The New Statesman, Prospect, Le Monde diplomatique, The Correspondent, Yes! Magazine, and many other platforms. I've appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC's The Big Questions, BBC News 24, BBC World Today, BBC World News with George Alagiah, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Asian Network, Channel 4 News, Sky News, CNN, ABC News (Australia), FOX News with Sean Hannity, Bloomberg, PBS Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, Radio New Zealand, and many others worldwide.

From 2020-2022, I was Director of Global Research Communications at RethinkX, a technology forecasting think-tank based in San Francisco and London. At RethinkX, I was lead editor of the report Rethinking Climate Change: How Humanity Can Choose to Reduce Emissions 90% by 2035 through the Disruption of Energy, Transportation, and Food with Existing Technologies, co-author and lead editor of policy primer Germany's Path to 'Freedom Energy' by 2030, and co-producing writer of the Rethinking Humanity documentary film series based on the book of the same name by Tony Seba and James Arbib.

From 2020-2021, I was Systems Change Advisor to the Global Citizens Assembly which represented the global population at the United Nations COP26 climate summit. I serve as a Commissioner at the Transformational Economics Commission of the Club of Rome, where I was a contributor to the Club's flagship 2022 Earth4All report launched at the UN General Assembly. I also sit on the advisory board of the Biophysical Economics Institute, am a Distinguished Fellow at the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems, and a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts.

You can found out more about me here.