The Long Now

The Long Now Foundation, founded by the writer and thinker Stewart Brand and others, aims to challenge the short-term thinking all too often embedded in aspects of our modern life, such as business reporting cycles, electoral terms and even the concept of the financial year !

They argue focusing too much on the short term can be costly – making true sustainability more difficult to achieve.

Many of the world’s larger problems: climate change, poverty, population pressure, habitat loss, environmental pollution etc can often seem huge and potentially unsolvable in the here and now – but if we change our perception of what ‘now’ is, and try to work towards longer term solutions over many decades, or even lifetimes, then addressing even the most difficult problems could be within our grasp.

Overcoming our innate barriers to long term thinking will be an important part of building a better future.

To try and highlight this shift in mindset, the Foundation are undertaking a number of key projects, the most well known being construction of a Clock of the Long Now: a huge mechanical clock embedded within a mountain, designed to last ten thousand years, and that will tick just once per year.


Image from zemlinki, via Flickr


  1. Gareth Richards says:

    Never forget the key to long terms survival is short term survival.

    • It’s a balance isn’t it ?

      John Keynes famously said ‘In the long run we’re all dead’ – I suspect he meant individually, rather than as a species, but either way the trick is balancing the needs of the now against the needs of the future . . .

      . . . which of course is exactly what sustainability is all about – developing systems and societies that ‘can be sustained’.

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