‘The future is a beautiful, if challenging, partner. Your choice is whether you take the risk in having a first date or whether you are happy to accept a life of regret.’

The book tells the power of Visions and invites the reader to participate in the VISIONS 2100 Project by creating and sharing their own vision of life in 2100. The aim is to get widespread engagement and interest in comparing and telling visions of a better future and to drive 'water-cooler' discussions globally.

The context of the book is around the challenges presented by climate change and environmental issues, but concept is wider and is about how to change community, and then government, perceptions of how to approach long term global problems. Human psychology is not designed to cope with long-dated problems. We are very good at solving immediate crises but often fail to act on gradual, complex challenges - such as climate change - until catastrophe looms. For environmental problems, the standard approach is to try and get people to worry about the looming disaster but that fails to engage the majority of the population. The telling of visions enables people to engage with and be excited by what is possible - by the opportunities that change can provide.


The book balances worries about catastrophe with social and environmental improvements by referencing psychology, management thought, case studies and personal anecdotes. In also references the parallels between the world's journey and coping with the chronic illness of the author's wife.

Having a vision of a better world is likely to result in the world being better.” 



The book is framed around eighty short visions by some of the world’s leading environmental thinkers and influencers including those leading the process of making global agreements on climate change. The visions are all written from viewpoint of the year 2100 looking back over the last century. They consider what life is like in 2100, the uncertain journey to get there, the fears and hopes for human activities and the benefits of their envisioned worlds. This picture of the future provides an important marker to head towards as we navigate the changes to our society that will occur during the coming century.

The narrative weaves the contributions together and provides a coherent picture of how the century will unfold and where we will end up. It ends with a call to action to get readers involved in creating their own future through writing and sharing their own visions for a better world.


John O’Brien is a Partner with Deloitte Australia and leads its renewable energy and cleantech practice.


Previously he founded Australian CleanTech and Sino CleanTech, research and advisory firms that assisted cleantech industry growth across Australia and Asia. John delivered programs on innovation systems, entrepreneurship and authentic leadership.  He published the annual Australian Cleantech Review and Cleantech Indices in both Australia and China. He also founded the Australian CleanTech Cluster and the Australian Technologies Competition.


John has lectured in Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide and was a member of the South Australian Premier’s Climate Change Council. He has held board positions of cleantech companies involved in wind farm development, biosensors, plastics recycling in China and low emission vehicles in the Philippines. Previous roles include being on the Board of Renewables SA and a member of Innovation Australia's Clean Technology Innovation Program Committee.


He has engineering degrees from Oxford and Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from Adelaide. John lives in Adelaide, Australia with his wife, Kate, and two tall teenage sons.




Rational arguments for rapid action abound. We do not need any more of those. What is needed is a different way of communicating that inspires and attracts the widest possible group of humans towards wanting to travel on this same journey. The rational arguments along with pessimists' catastrophes are essential but insufficient to inspire more than a small minority.

Opportunities Beyond Carbon
Looking Forward to a Sustainable World

Opportunities Beyond Carbon presents climate change as potentially the 'best crisis we ever had'. It maps the many opportunities for communities large and small, local and international, making the transition to a low carbon economy. John O'Brien has compiled essays by key politicians, investors, business people, activists and academics on how to make the most of the current predicament. This fresh, lucid and practical optimism for the future offers a foundation for an entirely new and proactive attitude to climate change.


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