Christi Electris is a former Tellus Associate and a founding team member at the Croatan Institute. She has done consulting and research work on a variety of projects in energy, climate, agriculture, well-being, sustainability indicators, and corporate redesign. A computer scientist and quantitative policy analyst by training, she has worked as a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where she designed and built data-driven and knowledge-based probabilistic models, and a research assistant at MIT’s Global System for Sustainable Development group, the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, and the Sloan School of Management. She studied computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, with minors in mathematics and cognitive science, and holds an MS in Technology and Policy from MIT and an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
This study explores possible pathways to sustainability by considering, in quantitative form, four contrasting scenarios for the twenty-first century. The analysis reveals vividly the risks of conventional development approaches and the real danger of socio-ecological descent into a future of diminished human and ecological well-being. Nonetheless, the paper underscores that a Great Transition scenario—turning toward a civilization of enhanced human well-being and environmental resilience—remains an option, and it identifies a suite of changes in strategic policies and human values for getting there.
Originally published in Sustainability