The Soft-landing : Re-visioning Civilisation's Future

The book

What if our civilisation is at risk?

  • Risks from environment degradation are greater than is widely understood.
  • We misunderstand our place in history.
  • Important ideas we use to manage modern societies have become obsolete.
  • Environment damage has become greater than the world can cope with and continues to increase.
  • Leaders face obstacles that make it difficult for them to lead change to protect and restore the environment.
  • The world’s people are unable to adapt effectively enough, quickly enough.
  • Global civilization collapses because the environment can no longer support the economy.

There is a way out.

  • Understand our place in the world and the risks we face.
  • Identify which ideas - paradigms, theories, beliefs and values – are poorly adapted to our circumstances, and how they should change to deliver better outcomes.
  • Mobilise and equip change agents to encourage widespread adoption of these more adaptive ideas and the goal of a soft-landing.
  • Once a critical mass of people adopt the new ideas, encourage political and business leaders to accelerate responses to environment risks.

Available free

  • The strategy proposed works only if many people adopt the ideas and share the ideas with others.
  • Creative commons license allows readers to extract, adapt and share widely
  • Publishers are encouraged to republish or adapt the book if they find that worthwhile, or wish to contribute by sharing these ideas.

The author


  • Labourer on wharves and factory worker.
  • Research and teaching in the social sciences, consulting statistician.
  • Business founder in computer software and ed-tech.
  • Strategic management consultant advising large commercial and public organisations internationally and in New Zealand.
  • Company director for a leading bank a, life insurer and numerous internationalising technology firms.
  • Leader of a think tank and professional strategist commissioned by leaders of large organisations to advise on navigating interactions among commercial, economic, environment, social, technology, and regulation domains to improve future outcomes.

Passion for environment

  • Grew up well-connected with the natural world.
  • Observed and learned about the ways people are harming the environment.
  • PhD in environment management.
  • Learned that environment issues are usually outcomes from the way we manage the economy, and how societies change or fail to change.
  • Strategy projects include advising on urban form, transport, energy and climate, ports, marine spatial planning, agribusiness, water quality, air monitoring, weed management, and social issues.
  • Learning to live in harmony with the land on a small farm.

"The self-image of most people in today’s civilisation is that our generations are the cleverest people ever. Being clever should extend to being clever enough to avoid civilisation collapse ourselves. Assuming some future people will take care of problems we are creating would be dumb. We might be remembered as the generations that destroyed their own civilisation by reckless and wasteful destruction of the world’s natural capital.”

Rick Boven

You should read this book

It contains:

  • diagnosis of why the world is failing to respond rapidly enough to slow growth of environment damage
  • many ideas that are different and thought-provoking about the world and our place within it
  • a strategy to accelerate responses to environment risks and reduce the risk of civilisation collapse

What you can do

Read the book

Influence others to change their ideas

Share the book