Nick King
September 2023

The Polycrisis – An Introduction

Increasing environmental degradation has caused several complex and interlinked challenges affecting the entire planet, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and widespread environmental pollution. Their interaction has given rise to the term 'Polycrisis' as a way of understanding the potential for the occurrence of multiple simultaneous and linked catastrophes. 

This webinar covered the origin of the term 'Polycrisis' and its definition, the environmental, social, political and economic factors contributing to the Polycrisis, and risks arising from the accumulation, interaction, and worsening of those contributory factors. It also asked how complexity, uncertainty and conflicting priorities are contributing to the Polycrisis, how the Polycrisis may play out in future at different scales, and what realistic mitigations and responses can be expected in the future.

This webinar was part of the IES's Future of ES23 horizon scanning and foresight project, bringing together environmental experts to share their perspectives on the future of the environmental sciences.