The new Next Nature book is here! Next Nature fellows, ambassadors, members and newly interested people came together on the 4th of June to celebrate the book launch with a special Next Nature Night at the Rode Hoed in Amsterdam. Moderated by journalist Eva de Valk, it was a night filled with inspiration, conversation and a healthy dose of speculation.
Kicking off the night with a keynote presentation was, naturally, NNN director Koert van Mensvoort, introducing the Next Nature philosophy and, what else, his latest book.
Now that technology has grown so complex and omnipresent that it acts as our next nature, what may our future look like? Koert proposes two possible scenarios: mankind may either go extinct, or will be enclosed into a superorganism.
As team human, Koert prefers the latter scenario and envisions a world in which humans function as the cells of superorganisms. Can we spot the superorganism already?
After the keynote, it was time to officially hand over the first print of the book to 11-year old Belgian climate activist Lilly Platt. With great dedication she has been battling plastic waste and litter with her initiative Lilly’s Plastic PickUp, ever since 2015. Full of energy, Lilly spoke to the audience: “Think about the future!” Her dedication and idealism set a great example for generations to come.
Artist and Next Nature ambassador Floris Kaayk took the audience along to their potential future with a sneak preview of his upcoming project [spoiler alert] Dust. Together with Next Nature Network, Floris is creating a time travelling machine in VR. Stay tuned for more on this project!
After the break, Next Nature fellows Anna Gimbrere and Lonneke Gordijn from Studio Drift joined Koert in a panel conversation.
Science journalist Anna, who recently presented a Dutch tv-program on space travel, explained how astronautics contributes to a new perspective on earth. “From the moment that you are outside of the earth, you realize how extraordinary the earth actually is, and how hostile space is. Earth is a spacecraft in itself, and we have to be very attentive to it.
Designer Lonneke Gordijn considers it to be a challenge to enlarge the perspective of humankind. “As humans, we are not used to think beyond our own lifespan. We can fathom the generations of our kids and grandchildren, but after that it becomes too abstract. How can we look beyond that?”
Throughout the evening, the audience was invited to engage and ask questions. If revolution goes on and technological developments are deemed unstoppable, does it even matter to make deliberate choices and strive for a better future on an individual level?
Koert explains that, unfortunately, he cannot provide a clearcut answer on the longstanding philosophical question of free will and the effect of individual choice. Rather, he chooses to act as if our deeds are able to make change.
That’s why he challenged the audience to do some homework. “If you see a new gadget or development happening, ask yourself: does this contribute to my humanity? And make a conscious choice about your own usage of this technology.”
During the night, it has become clear that optimism is at the core of Koert’s vision. “I hope that there will always be humanity. And when there is humanity, there will be humans. The only question that remains is what those humans will look like.”
An intriguing question to take home.
Excited? Good! You can obtain your copy here. Or simply become a member and get the book for free! Note that the book is currently only available in Dutch. We are currently working hard on the English translation of the book. Subscribe to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the know!