Book chapter (B2)

Open Biofutures: The Challenge of Maintaining Agency for Long-Term Futures

List of AuthorsTaylor Amos T., Balcom Raleigh Nicolas A.

EditorsEmmanuel, Koukios, Anna Sacio-Szymanska


Publication year2021

Book title *Bio#Futures: Foreseeing and Exploring the Bioeconomy

Start page121

End page138





The world is complex, and its developments are always uncertain. In
this context, the bioeconomy represents a framework for innovating solutions which
can enable a global transformation to a sustainable future. However, bioeconomy
developments can also serve to repackage problematic or even unjust economic pat-
terns from the past. This chapter proposes a heuristic of open futures and closed
futures which can be used as lenses useful for ethically evaluating future imagi-
naries such as the bioeconomy. These lenses help actors imagine possible conse-
quences of various developments on ecology or nature. Therefore, open and closed
biofutures can serve as tools for engaging the ethicality of various development tra-
jectories. These lenses also encourage actors to seek wider inclusion when consid-
ering who has agency and transformative agency in the bioeconomy conjecture.
This chapter presents how this tool for thinking has been utilized in the Bioeconomy
and Justice Project (BioEcoJust) to imagine long-range futures that represent par-
ticular complex challenges. As a research tool these lenses have enabled us to en-
visage a diverse range of futures and evaluate what is closing or opening about them.
We conclude that the lenses of opened and closed biofutures can be used by inno-
vators and decisionmakers of all sectors for consideration of the ethicality of the
work they choose to pursue today.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:37