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However, the history of the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding , traditionally dated to BCE with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in Central Italy , and ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic in about BCE. The site of Rome had a ford where the Tiber could be crossed. The Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it presented easily defensible positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them. All of these features contributed to the success of the city. The traditional account of Roman history, which has come down to us through Livy , Plutarch , Dionysius of Halicarnassus , and others, is that in Rome's first centuries it was ruled by a succession of seven kings.

The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro , allots years for their reigns, an average of almost 35 years, which, since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr , has been generally discounted by modern scholarship. With no contemporary records of the kingdom existing, all accounts of the kings must be carefully questioned. According to tradition and later writers such as Livy , the Roman Republic was established around BCE, [15] when the last of the seven kings of Rome, Tarquin the Proud , was deposed by Lucius Junius Brutus , and a system based on annually elected magistrates and various representative assemblies was established.

The most important magistrates were the two consuls, who together exercised executive authority as imperium , or military command. The Romans then took up arms and drove the Gauls back, led by Camillus. The Romans gradually subdued the other peoples on the Italian peninsula, including the Etruscans.

In the 3rd century BCE Rome had to face a new and formidable opponent: the powerful Phoenician city-state of Carthage. By this time Rome was a consolidated empire — in the military view — and had no major enemies. The one open sore was Spain Hispania. Roman armies occupied Spain in the early 2nd century BCE but encountered stiff resistance from that time down to the age of Augustus.

In BCE, the Celtiberians still retained enough of their native vigour and ferocity to drive the Cimbri and Teutones from northern Spain, [25] though these had crushed Roman arms in southern Gaul, inflicting 80, casualties on the Roman army which opposed them. The conquest of Hispania was completed in 19 BC—but at heavy cost and severe losses. Towards the end of the 2nd century BCE, a huge migration of Germanic tribes took place, led by the Cimbri and the Teutones. These tribes overwhelmed the peoples with whom they came into contact and posed a real threat to Italy itself. At the Battle of Aquae Sextiae and the Battle of Vercellae the Germans were virtually annihilated, which ended the threat.

In these two battles the Teutones and Ambrones are said to have lost , men , killed and 90, captured ; and the Cimbri , men , killed, and 60, captured. In the mid-1st century BCE, the Republic faced a period of political crisis and social unrest. Into this turbulent scenario emerged the figure of Julius Caesar. Caesar reconciled the two more powerful men in Rome: Marcus Licinius Crassus , his sponsor, and Crassus' rival, Pompey.

The First Triumvirate "three men" , had satisfied the interests of these three men: Crassus, the richest man in Rome, became richer; Pompey exerted more influence in the Senate; and Caesar held consulship and military command in Gaul. Crassus had acted as mediator between Caesar and Pompey, and, without him, the two generals began to fight for power.

After being victorious in the Gallic Wars and earning respect and praise from the legions, Caesar was a clear menace to Pompey, that tried to legally remove Caesar's legions. With his sole preeminence over Rome, Caesar gradually accumulated many offices, eventually being granted a dictatorship for perpetuity. Mark Antony's affair with Cleopatra was seen as an act of treason, since she was queen of a foreign power and Antony was adopting an extravagant and Hellenistic lifestyle that was considered inappropriate for a Roman statesman.

Following Antony's Donations of Alexandria , which gave to Cleopatra the title of "Queen of Kings", and to their children the regal titles to the newly conquered Eastern territories, the war between Octavian and Mark Antony broke out. Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, leaving Octavianus the sole ruler of the Republic. After the Battle of Actium, the period of major naval battles was over and the Romans possessed unchallenged naval supremacy in the North Sea , Atlantic coasts, Mediterranean, Red Sea , and the Black Sea until the emergence of new naval threats in the form of the Franks and the Saxons in the North Sea, and in the form of Borani, Herules and Goths in the Black Sea.

His leadership brought the zenith of the Roman civilization, that lasted for four decades. In that year, he took the name Augustus. That event is usually taken by historians as the beginning of Roman Empire. Officially, the government was republican, but Augustus assumed absolute powers.

The unruly provinces at the borders, where the vast majority of the legions were stationed, were under the control of Augustus. These provinces were classified as imperial provinces. The peaceful senatorial provinces were under the control of the Senate. The Roman legions, which had reached an unprecedented number around 50 because of the civil wars, were reduced to Poets like Vergil , Horace , Ovid and Rufus developed a rich literature, and were close friends of Augustus.

Along with Maecenas , he stimulated patriotic poems, as Vergil's epic Aeneid and also historiographical works, like those of Livy. The works of this literary age lasted through Roman times, and are classics. Augustus also continued the shifts on the calendar promoted by Caesar , and the month of August is named after him. Despite its military strength, the Empire made few efforts to expand its already vast extent; the most notable being the conquest of Britain , begun by emperor Claudius 47 , and emperor Trajan 's conquest of Dacia —, — In the 1st and 2nd century, Roman legions were also employed in intermittent warfare with the Germanic tribes to the north and the Parthian Empire to the east.

Meanwhile, armed insurrections e. The seventy years of Jewish—Roman wars in the second half of the 1st century and the first half of the 2nd century were exceptional in their duration and violence. The Western part faced increasing economic and political crisis and frequent barbarian invasions, so the capital was moved from Mediolanum to Ravenna.

In , the last Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by Odoacer ; for a few years Italy stayed united under the rule of Odoacer, but soon after it was divided between several barbarian kingdoms, and did not reunite under a single ruler until thirteen centuries later. Odoacer's rule came to an end when the Ostrogoths , under the leadership of Theodoric , conquered Italy. This led to the Gothic War against the armies of Byzantine Emperor Justinian , that devastated the whole country with famine and epidemics, ultimately allowing another Germanic tribe, the Lombards , to take control over vast regions of Italy.

In the Lombards seized Ravenna , ending the Byzantine presence in central Italy. Facing a new Lombard offensive, the Papacy appealed to the Franks for aid. In Frankish forces defeated the Lombards and gave the Papacy legal authority over much of central Italy, thus establishing the Papal States.

After the death of Charlemagne , the new empire soon disintegrated under his weak successors. There was a power vacuum in Italy as a result of this. In the North, there was a rising power of communes. In , the Saracens took Bari and founded an emirate there. Islamic rule over Sicily was effective from , and the complete rule of the island lasted from until The turn of the millennium brought about a period of renewed autonomy in Italian history. In the 11th century, trade slowly recovered as the cities started to grow again.

The Papacy regained its authority, and undertook a long struggle against the Holy Roman Empire. The Investiture controversy , a conflict over two radically different views of whether secular authorities such as kings, counts, or dukes, had any legitimate role in appointments to ecclesiastical offices such as bishoprics , was finally resolved by the Concordat of Worms in , although problems continued in many areas of Europe until the end of the medieval era. In the north, a Lombard League of communes launched a successful effort to win autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire, defeating Emperor Frederick Barbarossa at the Battle of Legnano in In the south, the Normans occupied the Lombard and Byzantine possessions, ending the six century old presence of both powers in the peninsula.

The few independent city-states were also subdued. During the same period, the Normans also ended Muslim rule in Sicily. Roger II was the first King of Sicily and had succeeded in uniting all the Norman conquests in Southern Italy into one kingdom with a strong centralized government. The Kingdom of Sicily would last under various dynasties until the 19th century. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, Italy developed a peculiar political pattern, significantly different from feudal Europe north of the Alps.

As no dominant powers emerged as they did in other parts of Europe, the oligarchic city-state became the prevalent form of government. Keeping both direct Church control and Imperial power at arm's length, the many independent city states prospered through commerce, based on early capitalist principles ultimately creating the conditions for the artistic and intellectual changes produced by the Renaissance.

Italian towns had appeared to have exited from Feudalism, so that their society was based on merchants and commerce.

Thanks to their favorable position between East and West, Italian cities such as Venice became international trading and banking hubs and intellectual crossroads. Milan, Florence and Venice, as well as several other Italian city-states, played a crucial innovative role in financial development, devising the main instruments and practices of banking and the emergence of new forms of social and economic organization. From the 10th to the 13th centuries these cities built fleets of ships both for their own protection and to support extensive trade networks across the Mediterranean, leading to an essential role in the Crusades.

Venice and Genoa soon became Europe's main gateways to trade with the East, establishing colonies as far as the Black Sea and often controlling most of the trade with the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Mediterranean world. The county of Savoy expanded its territory into the peninsula in the late Middle Ages , while Florence developed into a highly organized commercial and financial city-state, becoming for many centuries the European capital of silk, wool, banking and jewelry. Italy was the main center of the Renaissance , whose flourishing of the arts, architecture, literature, science, historiography, and political theory influenced all of Europe.

By the late Middle Ages , central and southern Italy, once the heartland of the Roman Empire and Magna Graecia respectively, was far poorer than the north. Rome was a city largely in ruins, and the Papal States were a loosely administered region with little law and order. Partly because of this, the Papacy had relocated to Avignon in France. Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia had for some time been under foreign domination. The Italian trade routes that covered the Mediterranean and beyond were major conduits of culture and knowledge. The city-states of Italy expanded greatly during this period and grew in power to become de facto fully independent of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Black Death in inflicted a terrible blow to Italy, killing perhaps one third of the population. The Renaissance was so called because it was a "rebirth" not only of economy and urbanization, but also of arts and science. It has been argued that this cultural rebirth was fuelled by massive rediscoveries of ancient texts that had been forgotten for centuries by Western civilization, hidden in monastic libraries or in the Islamic world , as well as the translations of Greek and Arabic texts into Latin.

The migration west into Italy of intellectuals fleeing the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire at this time also played a significant part.

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The Italian Renaissance began in Tuscany, centered in the city of Florence. It then spread south, having an especially significant impact on Rome, which was largely rebuilt by the Renaissance popes. The Italian Renaissance peaked in the late 15th century as foreign invasions plunged the region into turmoil. The Renaissance ideals first spread from Florence to the neighbouring states of Tuscany such as Siena and Lucca. Tuscan architecture and painting soon became a model for all the city-states of northern and central Italy, as the Tuscan variety of Italian language came to predominate throughout the region, especially in literature.

Accounts of Renaissance literature usually begin with Petrarch best known for the elegantly polished vernacular sonnet sequence of Il Canzoniere and for the book collecting that he initiated and his friend and contemporary Giovanni Boccaccio author of The Decameron. The works of ancient Greek and Hellenistic writers such as Plato , Aristotle , Euclid , and Ptolemy and Muslim scientists were imported into the Christian world, providing new intellectual material for European scholars.

Other Greek scholars of the period were two monks from the monastery of Seminara in Calabria. Barlaam was a master in Greek and was the initial teacher to Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio of the language. Leonzio Pilato made an almost word for word translation of Homer's works into Latin for Giovanni Boccaccio. It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and scholastic doctrines of the time concerning how to consider politics and ethics. Italian Renaissance painting exercised a dominant influence on subsequent European painting see Western painting for centuries afterwards, with artists such as Giotto di Bondone , Masaccio , Piero della Francesca , Domenico Ghirlandaio , Perugino , Michelangelo , Raphael , Botticelli , Leonardo da Vinci , and Titian.

Their works include Florence Cathedral , St. Finally, the Aldine Press, founded by the printer Aldo Manuzio , active in Venice, developed Italic type and the small, relatively portable and inexpensive printed book that could be carried in one's pocket, as well as being the first to publish editions of books in ancient Greek. Yet cultural contributions notwithstanding, some present-day historians also see the era as one of the beginning of economic regression for Italy due to the opening up of the Atlantic trade routes and repeated foreign invasions and of little progress in experimental science, which made its great leaps forward among Protestant culture in the 17th century.

High Medieval Northern Italy was further divided by the long running battle for supremacy between the forces of the Papacy and of the Holy Roman Empire.


Each city aligned itself with one faction or the other, yet was divided internally between the two warring parties, Guelfs and Ghibellines. Warfare between the states was common, invasion from outside Italy confined to intermittent sorties of Holy Roman Emperors. Renaissance politics developed from this background. Since the 13th century, as armies became primarily composed of mercenaries , prosperous city-states could field considerable forces, despite their low populations. In the course of the 15th century, the most powerful city-states annexed their smaller neighbors.

The first part of the Renaissance saw almost constant warfare on land and sea as the city-states vied for preeminence. On land, these wars were primarily fought by armies of mercenaries known as condottieri , bands of soldiers drawn from around Europe, but especially Germany and Switzerland, led largely by Italian captains. The mercenaries were not willing to risk their lives unduly, and war became one largely of sieges and maneuvering, occasioning few pitched battles. It was also in the interest of mercenaries on both sides to prolong any conflict, to continue their employment.

Mercenaries were also a constant threat to their employers; if not paid, they often turned on their patron. If it became obvious that a state was entirely dependent on mercenaries, the temptation was great for the mercenaries to take over the running of it themselves—this occurred on a number of occasions. At sea, Italian city-states sent many fleets out to do battle.

The main contenders were Pisa, Genoa, and Venice, but after a long conflict the Genoese succeeded in reducing Pisa. Venice proved to be a more powerful adversary, and with the decline of Genoese power during the 15th century Venice became pre-eminent on the seas. In response to threats from the landward side, from the early 15th century Venice developed an increased interest in controlling the terrafirma as the Venetian Renaissance opened. On land, decades of fighting saw Florence, Milan and Venice emerge as the dominant players, and these three powers finally set aside their differences and agreed to the Peace of Lodi in , which saw relative calm brought to the region for the first time in centuries.

This peace would hold for the next forty years, and Venice's unquestioned hegemony over the sea also led to unprecedented peace for much of the rest of the 15th century. The foreign invasions of Italy known as the Italian Wars began with the invasion by France that wreaked widespread devastation on Northern Italy and ended the independence of many of the city-states. Originally arising from dynastic disputes over the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples, the wars rapidly became a general struggle for power and territory among their various participants, marked with an increasing number of alliances, counter-alliances, and betrayals.

Much of Venice's hinterland but not the city itself was devastated by the Turks in and again invaded and plundered by the League of Cambrai in In , most of the towns of Apulia and Abbruzzi had been sacked. Worst of all was the 6 May Sack of Rome by mutinous German mercenaries that all but ended the role of the Papacy as the largest patron of Renaissance art and architecture. The long Siege of Florence — brought the destruction of its suburbs, the ruin of its export business and the confiscation of its citizens' wealth.

Italy's urban population fell in half, ransoms paid to the invaders and emergency taxes drained the finances. The wool and silk industries of Lombardy collapsed when their looms were wrecked by invaders. The defensive tactic of scorched earth only slightly delayed the invaders, and made the recovery much longer and more painful.

The North was under indirect rule of the Austrian Habsburgs in their positions as Holy Roman Emperors , and the south was under direct rule of the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs. Following the European wars of successions of the s, the south passed to a cadet branch of Spanish Bourbons and the north was under control of the Austrian House of Habsburg-Lorraine. During the Napoleonic era , Italy was invaded by France and divided into a number of sister republics later in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and the French Empire. The Congress of Vienna restored the situation of the late 18th century, which was however quickly overturned by the incipient movement of Italian unification.

The 17th century was a tumultuous period in Italian history, marked by deep political and social changes. These included the increase of Papal power in the peninsula and the influence of Roman Catholic Church at the peak of the Counter Reformation , the Catholic reaction against the Protestant Reformation. Despite important artistic and scientific achievements, such as the discoveries of Galileo in the field of astronomy and physics and the flourishing of the Baroque style in architecture and painting, Italy experienced overall economic decline. Effectively, in spite of Italy having given birth to some great explorers such as Christopher Columbus , Amerigo Vespucci and Giovanni da Verrazzano , the discovery of the New World undermined the importance of Venice and other Italian ports as commercial hubs by shifting Europe's center of gravity westward towards the Atlantic.

The Black Death returned to haunt Italy throughout the century. However, Spain attempted again to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne in the War of the Quadruple Alliance — , but was again defeated. At the end of the 18th century, Italy was almost in the same political conditions as in the 16th century; the main differences were that Austria had replaced Spain as the dominant foreign power after the War of Spanish Succession though the War of the Polish Succession resulted in the re-installment of the Spanish in the south, as the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies , and that the dukes of Savoy a mountainous region between Italy and France had become kings of Sardinia by increasing their Italian possessions, which now included Sardinia and the north-western region of Piedmont.

This situation was shaken in , when the French Army of Italy under Napoleon invaded Italy, with the aims of forcing the First Coalition to abandon Sardinia where they had created an anti-revolutionary puppet-ruler and forcing Austria to withdraw from Italy. On 15 May the French general then entered Milan, where he was welcomed as a liberator. Subsequently, beating off Austrian counterattacks and continuing to advance, he arrived in the Veneto in Here occurred the Veronese Easters , an act of rebellion against French oppression, that tied down Napoleon for about a week.

Napoleon conquered most of Italy in the name of the French Revolution in — He consolidated old units and split up Austria's holdings. He set up a series of new republics, complete with new codes of law and abolition of old feudal privileges. Napoleon's Cisalpine Republic was centered on Milan.

Genoa the city became a republic while its hinterland became the Ligurian Republic. The Roman Republic was formed out of the papal holdings while the pope himself was sent to France. The Neapolitan Republic was formed around Naples, but it lasted only five months before the enemy forces of the Coalition recaptured it. In , he formed the Kingdom of Italy , with himself as king and his stepson as viceroy. All these new countries were satellites of France, and had to pay large subsidies to Paris, as well as provide military support for Napoleon's wars.

Their political and administrative systems were modernized, the metric system introduced, and trade barriers reduced. Jewish ghettos were abolished. Belgium and Piedmont became integral parts of France. Also that year a second satellite state, the Ligurian Republic successor to the old Republic of Genoa , was pressured into merging with France.

In , he conquered the Kingdom of Naples and granted it to his brother and then from to Joachim Murat , along with marrying his sisters Elisa and Paolina off to the princes of Massa-Carrara and Guastalla. In , he also annexed Marche and Tuscany to the Kingdom of Italy. In , Bonaparte occupied Rome, for contrasts with the pope, who had excommunicated him, and to maintain his own state efficiently, [67] exiling the Pope first to Savona and then to France.

After Russia, the other states of Europe re-allied themselves and defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig , after which his Italian allied states, with Murat first among them, abandoned him to ally with Austria. The resulting Congress of Vienna restored a situation close to that of , dividing Italy between Austria in the north-east and Lombardy , the Kingdom of Sardinia , the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the south and in Sicily , and Tuscany , the Papal States and other minor states in the centre.

On Napoleon's escape and return to France the Hundred Days , he regained Murat's support, but Murat proved unable to convince the Italians to fight for Napoleon with his Proclamation of Rimini and was beaten and killed. The Italian kingdoms thus fell, and Italy's Restoration period began, with many pre-Napoleonic sovereigns returned to their thrones.

The political and social events in the restoration period of Italy — led to popular uprisings throughout the peninsula and greatly shaped what would become the Italian Wars of Independence. All this led to a new Kingdom of Italy and Italian unification. The Risorgimento was the political and social process that unified different states of the Italian peninsula into the single nation of Italy. As Napoleon's reign began to fail, other national monarchs he had installed tried to keep their thrones by feeding those nationalistic sentiments, setting the stage for the revolutions to come.

In Italy, the Congress restored the pre-Napoleonic patchwork of independent governments, either directly ruled or strongly influenced by the prevailing European powers, particularly Austria. In , Spaniards successfully revolted over disputes about their Constitution, which influenced the development of a similar movement in Italy.

Inspired by the Spaniards who, in , had created their constitution , a regiment in the army of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies , commanded by Guglielmo Pepe , a Carbonaro member of the secret republican organization , [71] mutinied, conquering the peninsular part of Two Sicilies. The king, Ferdinand I , agreed to enact a new constitution. The revolutionaries, though, failed to court popular support and fell to Austrian troops of the Holy Alliance. Ferdinand abolished the constitution and began systematically persecuting known revolutionaries.

Many supporters of revolution in Sicily , including the scholar Michele Amari , were forced into exile during the decades that followed. The leader of the revolutionary movement in Piedmont was Santorre di Santarosa , who wanted to remove the Austrians and unify Italy under the House of Savoy.

The Piedmont revolt started in Alessandria , where troops adopted the green, white, and red tricolore of the Cisalpine Republic. The king's regent, prince Charles Albert , acting while the king Charles Felix was away, approved a new constitution to appease the revolutionaries, but when the king returned he disavowed the constitution and requested assistance from the Holy Alliance.

Di Santarosa's troops were defeated, and the would-be Piedmontese revolutionary fled to Paris. At the time, the struggle for Italian unification was perceived to be waged primarily against the Austrian Empire and the Habsburgs , since they directly controlled the predominantly Italian-speaking northeastern part of present-day Italy and were the single most powerful force against unification.

The Austrian Empire vigorously repressed nationalist sentiment growing on the Italian peninsula, as well as in the other parts of Habsburg domains. Austrian Chancellor Franz Metternich, an influential diplomat at the Congress of Vienna, stated that the word Italy was nothing more than "a geographic expression. Artistic and literary sentiment also turned towards nationalism; and perhaps the most famous of proto-nationalist works was Alessandro Manzoni 's I Promessi Sposi The Betrothed. Some read this novel as a thinly veiled allegorical critique of Austrian rule.

The novel was published in and extensively revised in the following years. The version of I Promessi Sposi used a standardized version of the Tuscan dialect , a conscious effort by the author to provide a language and force people to learn it. Those in favour of unification also faced opposition from the Holy See , particularly after failed attempts to broker a confederation with the Papal States , which would have left the Papacy with some measure of autonomy over the region.

The pope at the time, Pius IX , feared that giving up power in the region could mean the persecution of Italian Catholics. Even among those who wanted to see the peninsula unified into one country, different groups could not agree on what form a unified state would take.

Vincenzo Gioberti , a Piedmontese priest, had suggested a confederation of Italian states under rulership of the Pope. His book, Of the Moral and Civil Primacy of the Italians , was published in and created a link between the Papacy and the Risorgimento. Many leading revolutionaries wanted a republic, but eventually it was a king and his chief minister who had the power to unite the Italian states as a monarchy. One of the most influential revolutionary groups was the Carbonari charcoal-burners , a secret organization formed in southern Italy early in the 19th century.

Inspired by the principles of the French Revolution , its members were mainly drawn from the middle class and intellectuals. The revolutionaries were so feared that the reigning authorities passed an ordinance condemning to death anyone who attended a Carbonari meeting. The society, however, continued to exist and was at the root of many of the political disturbances in Italy from until after unification. The Carbonari condemned Napoleon III to death for failing to unite Italy, and the group almost succeeded in assassinating him in Many leaders of the unification movement were at one time members of this organization.

Two prominent radical figures in the unification movement were Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. The more conservative constitutional monarchic figures included the Count of Cavour and Victor Emmanuel II , who would later become the first king of a united Italy. Mazzini's activity in revolutionary movements caused him to be imprisoned soon after he joined. While in prison, he concluded that Italy could — and therefore should — be unified and formulated his program for establishing a free, independent, and republican nation with Rome as its capital.

After Mazzini's release in , he went to Marseille , where he organized a new political society called La Giovine Italia Young Italy. The new society, whose motto was "God and the People," sought the unification of Italy. The creation of the Kingdom of Italy was the result of concerted efforts by Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire Italian Peninsula.

The Kingdom of Sardinia industrialized from onward. A constitution, the Statuto Albertino was enacted in the year of revolutions, , under liberal pressure. After initial success the war took a turn for the worse and the Kingdom of Sardinia lost.

History of Italy

Garibaldi, a native of Nice then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia , participated in an uprising in Piedmont in , was sentenced to death, and escaped to South America. He spent fourteen years there, taking part in several wars, and returned to Italy in After the Revolutions of , the apparent leader of the Italian unification movement was Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi. He was popular amongst southern Italians. Although the kingdom had no physical connection to Rome deemed the natural capital of Italy , the kingdom had successfully challenged Austria in the Second Italian War of Independence , liberating Lombardy-Venetia from Austrian rule.

The kingdom also had established important alliances which helped it improve the possibility of Italian unification, such as Britain and France in the Crimean War. The transition was not smooth for the south the " Mezzogiorno ". The path to unification and modernization created a divide between Northern and Southern Italy.

People condemned the South for being "backwards" and barbaric, when in truth, compared to Northern Italy, "where there was backwardness, the lag, never excessive, was always more or less compensated by other elements". The entire region south of Naples was afflicted with numerous deep economic and social liabilities.

However, on the other hand, transportation was difficult, soil fertility was low with extensive erosion, deforestation was severe, many businesses could stay open only because of high protective tariffs, large estates were often poorly managed, most peasants had only very small plots, and there was chronic unemployment and high crime rates.

Cavour decided the basic problem was poor government, and believed that could be remedied by strict application of the Piedmonese legal system. The main result was an upsurge in brigandage , which turned into a bloody civil war that lasted almost ten years. The insurrection reached its peak mainly in Basilicata and northern Apulia , headed by the brigands Carmine Crocco and Michele Caruso. With the end of the southern riots, there was a heavy outflow of millions of peasants in the Italian diaspora , especially to the United States and South America.

Others relocated to the northern industrial cities such as Genoa, Milan and Turin, and sent money home. Italy became a nation-state belatedly on 17 March , when most of the states of the peninsula were united under king Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy , which ruled over Piedmont. In exchange Prussia would allow Italy to annex Austrian-controlled Venice.

The victory against Austria allowed Italy to annex Venice. The one major obstacle to Italian unity remained Rome. In , France started the Franco-Prussian War and brought home its soldiers in Rome, where they had kept the pope in power. Italy marched in to take over the Papal State. Italian unification was completed, and the capital was moved from Florence to Rome.

In Northern Italy , industrialisation and modernisation began in the last part of the 19th century. The south , at the same time, was overpopulated, forcing millions of people to search for a better life abroad.

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It is estimated that around one million Italian people moved to other European countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Parliamentary democracy developed considerably in the 19th century. The Sardinian Statuto Albertino of , extended to the whole Kingdom of Italy in , provided for basic freedoms, but the electoral laws excluded the non-propertied and uneducated classes from voting.

Italy's political arena was sharply divided between broad camps of left and right which created frequent deadlock and attempts to preserve governments, which led to instances such as conservative Prime Minister Marco Minghetti enacting economic reforms to appease the opposition such as the nationalization of railways. In , Minghetti lost power and was replaced by the Democrat Agostino Depretis , who began a period of political dominance in the s, but continued attempts to appease the opposition to hold power.

Depretis began his term as Prime Minister by initiating an experimental political idea called Trasformismo transformism. The theory of Trasformismo was that a cabinet should select a variety of moderates and capable politicians from a non-partisan perspective. In practice, trasformismo was authoritarian and corrupt, Depretis pressured districts to vote for his candidates if they wished to gain favourable concessions from Depretis when in power. The results of the election resulted in only four representatives from the right being elected, allowing the government to be dominated by Depretis.

Despotic and corrupt actions are believed to be the key means in which Depretis managed to keep support in southern Italy. Depretis put through authoritarian measures, such as the banning public meetings, placing "dangerous" individuals in internal exile on remote penal islands across Italy and adopting militarist policies. Depretis enacted controversial legislation for the time, such was abolishing arrest for debt, making elementary education free and compulsory while ending compulsory religious teaching in elementary schools.

The first government of Depretis collapsed after his dismissal of his Interior Minister, and ended with his resignation in The second government of Depretis started in Depretis' goals included widening suffrage in and increasing the tax intake from Italians by expanding the minimum requirements of who could pay taxes and the creation of a new electoral system called which resulted in large numbers of inexperienced deputies in the Italian parliament.

Francesco Crispi — was Prime Minister for a total of six years, from until and again from until Historian R. Bosworth says of his foreign policy that Crispi:. Crispi had been in the Depretis cabinet minister and was once a Garibaldi republican. Crispi's major concerns before during —91 was protecting Italy from Austria-Hungary.

Crispi worked to build Italy as a great world power through increased military expenditures, advocation of expansionism, and trying to win Germany's favor even by joining the Triple Alliance which included both Germany and Austria-Hungary in which remained officially intact until While helping Italy develop strategically, he continued trasformismo and was authoritarian, once suggesting the use of martial law to ban opposition parties.

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Despite being authoritarian, Crispi put through liberal policies such as the Public Health Act of and establishing tribunals for redress against abuses by the government. The overwhelming attention paid to foreign policy alienated the agricultural community which needed help.

Both radical and conservative forces in the Italian parliament demanded that the government investigate how to improve agriculture in Italy. There was aggravation by lower class Italians to the break-up of communal lands which benefited only landlords. Most of the workers on the agricultural lands were not peasants but short-term labourers who at best were employed for one year. Peasants without stable income were forced to live off meager food supplies, disease was spreading rapidly, plagues were reported, including a major cholera epidemic which killed at least 55, people.

The Italian government could not deal with the situation effectively due to the mass overspending of the Depretis government that left Italy in huge debt. Italy also suffered economically because of overproduction of grapes for their vineyards in the s and s when France's vineyard industry was suffering from vine disease caused by insects.

Italy during that time prospered as the largest exporter of wine in Europe but following the recovery of France in , southern Italy was overproducing and had to split in two which caused greater unemployment and bankruptcies. The Socialist Party became the main political party, outclassing the traditional liberal and conservative organisations.

Starting from the last two decades of the 19th century, Italy developed its own colonial Empire. It took control of Somalia and Eritrea. In , Giovanni Giolitti 's government sent forces to occupy Libya and declared war on the Ottoman Empire which held Libya. Italy soon conquered and annexed Tripoli and the Dodecanese Islands. Nationalists advocated Italy's domination of the Mediterranean Sea by occupying Greece as well as the Adriatic coastal region of Dalmatia but no attempts were made.

The First World War — was an unexpected development that forced the decision whether to honor the alliance with Germany and Austria. For six months Italy remained neutral, as the Triple Alliance was only for defensive purposes. Italy took the initiative in entering the war in spring , despite strong popular and elite sentiment in favor of neutrality. Italy was a large, poor country whose political system was chaotic, its finances were heavily strained, and its army was very poorly prepared.

They operated in secret, enlisting the king later on, but keeping military and political leaders entirely in the dark. They negotiated with both sides for the best deal, and got one from the Entente, which was quite willing to promise large slices of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the Tyrol and Trieste , as well as making Albania a protectorate. Russia vetoed giving Italy Dalmatia. Britain was willing to pay subsidies and loans to get 36 million Italians as new allies who threatened the southern flank of Austria.

When the Treaty of London was announced in May , there was an uproar from antiwar elements. Salandra resigned but no one could form a majority against him, and he returned to office. Most politicians, and indeed most Italians opposed the war, including most Catholics. Reports from around Italy showed the people feared war, and cared little about territorial gains. Rural folk saw war is a disaster, like drought, famine or plague. Businessmen were generally opposed, fearing heavy-handed government controls and taxes, and loss of foreign markets.

Reversing the decision seemed impossible, for the Triple Alliance did not want Italy back, and the king's throne was at risk. Pro-war supporters mobbed the streets with tens of thousands of shouting by nationalists, Futurists , anti-clericals, and angry young men. Benito Mussolini , an important Socialist Party editor took a leadership role, but he was expelled from the Party and only a minority followed him. Apart from Russia this was the only far left party in Europe that opposed the war.

The fervor for war represented a bitterly hostile reaction against politics as usual, and the failures, frustrations, and stupidities of the ruling class. Italy entered the war with an army of , men, but the army was poorly led and lacked heavy artillery and machine guns, their war supplies having been largely depleted in the war of —12 against Turkey. Italy proved unable to prosecute the war effectively, as fighting raged for three years on a very narrow front along the Isonzo River , where the Austrians held the high ground.

In , Italy declared war on Germany, which provided significant aid to the Austrians. Some , Italian soldiers died and , were wounded, while the economy required large-scale Allied funding to survive. Before the war the government had ignored labor issues, but now it had to intervene to mobilize war production. With the main working-class Socialist party reluctant to support the war effort, strikes were frequent and cooperation was minimal, especially in the Socialist strongholds of Piedmont and Lombardy. The government imposed high wage scales, as well as collective bargaining and insurance schemes.

Many large firms expanded dramatically. The workforce at Ansaldo grew from 6, to , as it manufactures 10, artillery pieces, 3, warplanes, 95 warships and 10 million artillery shells. At Fiat the workforce grew from 4, to 40, Inflation doubled the cost of living. Industrial wages kept pace but not wages for farm workers. Discontent was high in rural areas since so many men were taken for service, industrial jobs were unavailable, wages grew slowly and inflation was just as bad.

Italy participated in the war primarily to gain new territory in the North and the East; it blocked a major Austrian peace proposal in Italy did not receive other territories promised by the Pact of London, so this outcome was denounced as a " Mutilated victory ". Mussolini was a World War I veteran, working for the Socialist newspapers until he broke off and established his new Nationalist organization, Fasci di Combattimento.

In , at the Paris Peace Conference , Italy was denied the execution of wartime secret Treaty of London it had concorded with the Triple Entente ; [] wherein Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and join the enemy, by declaring war against the German Empire and Austria-Hungary , in exchange for territories Istria and Dalmatia , at war's end, upon which the Kingdom of Italy held claims. The disrespect for the promises caused widespread indignation among Italian nationalists, while poet and adventurer Gabriele D'Annunzio led an expedition to occupy ethnic Italian Fiume , assigned to Yugoslavia.

At the same time, the so-called Biennio Rosso red biennium took place in the two years following the first world war in a context of economic crisis, high unemployment and political instability. The —20 period was characterized by mass strikes, worker manifestations as well as self-management experiments through land and factories occupations. In Turin and Milan , workers councils were formed and many factory occupations took place under the leadership of anarcho-syndicalists. The agitations also extended to the agricultural areas of the Padan plain and were accompanied by peasant strikes, rural unrests and guerilla conflicts between left-wing and right-wing militias.

Thenceforth, the Fasci di Combattimento forerunner of the National Fascist Party , of Benito Mussolini successfully exploited the claims of Italian nationalists and the quest for order and normalization of the middle class. In , old Prime Minister Giolitti was reappointed in a desperate attempt to solve Italy's deadlock, but his cabinet was weak and threatened by a growing socialist opposition.

Giolitti believed that the Fascists could be toned down and used to protect the monarchy from the socialists. He decided to include Fascists on his electoral list for elections. The Fascists rejected Giolitti's offers and joined with socialists in bringing down his government. In October , Mussolini took advantage of a general strike to announce his demands to the Italian government to give the Fascist Party political power or face a coup.

With no immediate response, a group of 30, Fascists began a long trek across Italy to Rome the March on Rome , claiming that Fascists were intending to restore law and order. The King was forced to choose which of the two rival movements in Italy would form the government: Mussolini's Fascists, or the marxist Italian Socialist Party. He selected the Fascists. Upon taking power, Mussolini formed a coalition with nationalists and liberals. The Fascist Party used violence and intimidation to achieve the threshold in the election , thus obtaining control of Parliament.

Socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti was assassinated after calling for a nullification of the vote because of the irregularities. Over the next four years, Mussolini eliminated nearly all checks and balances on his power. On 24 December , he passed a law that declared he was responsible to the king alone, making him the sole person able to determine Parliament's agenda. In , all political parties were banned, and parliamentary elections were replaced by plebiscites in which the Grand Council of Fascism nominated a single list of candidates. Duggan , using private diaries and letters, and secret police files, argues that Mussolini enjoyed a strong, wide base of popular support among ordinary people across Italy.

Mussolini elicited emotional responses unique in modern Italian history, and kept his popularity despite the military reverses after Duggan argues that his regime exploited Mussolini's appeal and forged a cult of personality that served as the model that was emulated by dictators of other fascist regimes of the s.

In summary historian Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in Italy was:. In , Mussolini and the Catholic Church came to an agreement that ended a standoff that reached back to and had alienated the Church from the Italian government. The Orlando government had started the process of reconciliation during the World War, and the pope furthered it by cutting ties with the Christian Democrats in The Lateran Accord of was a treaty that recognized the pope as the sovereign of the tiny Vatican City inside Rome, which gave it independent status and made the Vatican an important hub of world diplomacy.

The Concordat of made Catholicism the sole religion of the state although other religions were tolerated , paid salaries to priests and bishops, recognized church marriages previously couples had to have a civil ceremony , and brought religious instruction into the public schools. In turn the bishops swore allegiance to the Italian state, which had a veto power over their selection. The Church was not officially obligated to support the Fascist regime; the strong differences remained but the seething hostility ended.

The Church especially endorsed foreign policies such as support for the anti-Communist side in the Spanish Civil War, and support for the conquest of Ethiopia. Friction continued over the Catholic Action youth network, which Mussolini wanted to merge into his Fascist youth group. Lee identifies three major themes in Mussolini's foreign-policy. The first was a continuation of the foreign-policy objectives of the preceding Liberal regime. Ever since it had been badly defeated in Ethiopia in , there was a strong demand for seizing that country. Second was a profound disillusionment after the heavy losses of the First World War.

The small territorial gains from Austria were not enough to compensate for the war's terrible costs; other countries especially Poland and Yugoslavia received much more and Italy felt cheated. Will governments embrace participatory democracy as a more effective and efficient way of delivering services, and an answer to the democratic deficit? Local governments everywhere can adopt best practice and help to build the capacity of their staff and citizens to develop and participate.

Civil society groups can advocate for the adoption of participatory democracy in the places where they operate. Businesses can look for opportunities to work and engage with emerging systems of governance, perhaps as a means of better understanding the role of business in meeting social needs and aspirations.

There is a strong innovation opportunity here too, for entrepreneurs to develop systems that are as transparent and trustworthy as possible, along the lines of Mudamos, which allows Brazilian citizens to pass national legislation via digital petition style voting. In an initial research phase, commons initiatives were mapped out on wiki.

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The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has adopted blockchain for e-governance to protect data, such as records of who owns certain assets. Similar use of tech could help build transparency and provide a trusted record of decisions being made by local government. In Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish area of northern Syria, communities have adopted a model of participatory self-government at a village level, which is very inclusive of gender and ethnicity.

The city has been using online voting but is shifting to face-to-face consensus building to engender inclusiveness and deepen discussion. The council is also training citizens in debating skills. Cities4Europe is a network of cities aiming to find ways to engage and involve citizens in the democratic process in the run up to the European Parliamentary elections in Consumerism, or the belief that buying goods regardless of need is a good thing for people, society and the economy, has a tenacious hold over a growing number of people around the world.

While the livelihoods and wealth created by consumerism have helped lift millions out of poverty, across the world our resource-sapping, waste-extruding lifestyles are putting unprecedented strain on our fragile planet and ramping up climate change. Holidays, cars, meat-heavy diets, mobile phones and branded goods — each with a heavy greenhouse gas, rare-earth mineral, water and land-use footprint — are pushing us towards critical thresholds.

The irony is not to be missed: by pursuing an endlessly better life, we are diminishing our capacity to have the very basics that make life good. The trajectory overall is concerning. But there are promising signs of a push-back and a deeper shift in mindsets around our consumption. Could Consumerism 2. If it does, we may be witnessing its birth in Asia. A new system, combining circular business models, a next generation of conscious leaders often within family-owned structures, and a niche but growing conscious consumer movement, promises a reappraisal of what, why and when we consume.

Against this landscape, the first sign of a new approach to consumption is a demographic shift forming part of a global phenomenon of conscious consumerism.


Millennials in Asia typically have shallower pockets than the previous generation, so are often more discerning consumers, and are close to the environmental consequences of modern lifestyles, such as toxic air pollution and plastic waste. As such, many are exploring new patterns of consumption and playing with the sharing economy, valuing quality over quantity, access over ownership, and experience over possession. The key question is where the trajectory will go. Using their risk-tolerant capital to invest in new ways of doing things, they can lead the market to deliver more sustainable products and services.

The third piece concerns new and disruptive business models in the sharing and circular economy, enabled by tech and logistical advances. In this China has been a hotbed of sharing economy innovation, where everything from bikes and scooters to umbrellas and phone-chargers can be rented. The trick will be in bringing this new system together in a way that creates meaningful change and offers a new lifestyle for aspirational citizens: net positive and circular by default and combining the virtual, the experiential and the real.

Collaboration and openness will be key. Experimenting, innovating and then sharing your solutions ensures we make faster progress and can quickly elevate brands to pioneers of sustainability. Recognising the nature of the challenge and the dynamism at play is also vital. These beacons of hope are as yet just faint eddies in comparison to the global tide. We cannot ignore that the overall trajectory is one of runaway consumerism of mind-blowing proportions. Controlling over-consumption requires joined-up efforts to address the most deep-rooted of systemic drivers: our mindsets and beliefs.

Consumerism 1. Relying on the gradual and passive flowering of the conscious consumer is not going to cut it. They must see consumers as the citizens they are and engage them in a two-way conversation about the future of materialism in Asia. A recent stunt of conspicuous consumption involved Chinese millennials posing for photographs after pretending to have tripped out of their cars, spilling their luxury possessions — Jimmy Choos, designers goods and even wads of cash — onto the roadside.

The Government of Victoria even issued a warning advising Australians to donate their unwanted goods rather than sending them to landfill. Starbucks revealed its plans to open a new store in China every 15 hours through to As of , it had more than 3, stores in cities, and currently has announced no strategy for managing the vast number of cups and straws that will be generated.

It is spawning innovations across sectors, from agriculture to elderly care, but also brings unintended consequences relating to the vast amounts of personal data collected. In the tropical forests of Puerto Rico, scientists reported that the biomass of insects and bugs has declined fold since the s, while temperatures there rose by two degrees. They also saw similar losses in the wild populations of lizards, frogs and birds.

Do fewer bugs in Puerto Rico really matter to life at large? Biodiversity — the variety of life on earth in all its forms and interactions — represents the mother of all systems and underpins our economic and social wellbeing. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the delicate balance of our atmosphere. Stopping their loss is a precondition for managing climate change, feeding our growing population, and protecting livelihoods.

Out of all the drivers of biodiversity loss, the worst culprit is our food system. It is also responsible for vast quantities of pesticides and fertilisers, destroying food webs, and ruining the very soils and waterways it depends on. Human mobility and development is driving other, unpredictable kinds of change, with nature adapting rapidly to the pressures we are putting on it. Invasive species in New Zealand are now equal to the number of native plant species. Plants and animals are increasingly on the move and shifting their ranges as they respond to the changing environment.

Urbanisation is changing evolutionary processes, speeding them up in some cases, creating new species in others. This extraordinary capacity for adaptation may be our biggest hope: new research indicates that some species of coral may be more resilient to rising ocean temperatures and acidification than previously thought. Regenerative farming approaches are becoming more widespread, offering models of alternative and resilient farming methods. Currently, though, most regeneration and restoration initiatives are piecemeal, disconnected and fall far short of what it is needed.

As our planetary systems move into a state of collapse, urgent action on all fronts and across all sectors will be needed to maintain the equilibrium. It is vital that we stop seeing losses of species as isolated events and understand they are all connected to a picture of imminent collapse. It is clear that we will need to fundamentally reshape our understanding of the natural systems we rely on and how we interact with them.

Incentives are needed to scale up practices that protect and enhance biodiversity, such as regenerative agriculture and deforestation-free supply chains. More immediately, large-scale, heroic measures from corporate activists and visionary governments are needed to protect what remains. In the lead-up to the renegotiation of the Convention on Biological Diversity the global framework that commits national governments to conserving biological diversity , some conservation organisations are exploring a proposal to protect literally half the planet for nature — an idea that would once have been viewed as radical, but that is gaining traction as the scale of the crisis becomes clear.

Can we protect natural resources in a way that reduces rather than entrenches inequality? Will the s be the decade where we engage with the challenge, or will we let it command our future? Climate change will force hundreds of marine species to move ranges in order to stay within tolerable temperatures as seas warm. Species, both marine and terrestrial, are already adapting their behaviour and migration patterns in response to a changing environment. Scientists have proposed a Global Deal for Nature — a companion to the Paris Climate Deal — which would protect half the Earth by to halt the extinction crisis while sustaining human livelihoods.

However, enforcement remains a problem, and the protection of offshore oceans and freshwater ecoregions is lagging behind, according to a UN report. Loss of natural habitat in Kerala, India, led to a fatal outbreak of the Nipah virus. The natural host for this zoonotic virus is fruit bats, whose habitats have been disturbed by rapid urbanization and increased levels of bat-human interaction. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme is investigating loss of natural habitat as a cause of this outbreak and the rise of other zoonotic diseases.

Scientists recently discovered a vast underground ecosystem of billions of microorganisms, some of them many thousands of years old. The findings develop our understanding of the pervasiveness and interconnectedness of life on our planet, and demonstrate how much there is still left to discover. The seven areas of change set out here will play a very significant role in shaping the near future, and the external context for addressing global challenges. These changes are not isolated but interconnected and simultaneous.

This is one of the drivers of the re-emergence of nationalism as a global phenomenon. Nationalism in turn may undermine the response to climate breakdown and migration in a deeply worrying reinforcing loop. Our lives online have also been implicated in the rise of nationalism, and also disconnect us from the natural world and the collapse of biodiversity, which in turn could mean that changes in the natural world are less visible and we are less willing to act. Conversely, nationalism is also creating interest in participatory democracy, as people around the world seek more effective connection and governance, and this in turn opens up prospects for solutions to a range of other challenges.

Change takes place at different levels, from the superficial and temporary, to the deep and lasting. We may observe isolated events or signals of change, and over time these may connect and reinforce each other in various different patterns. Going deeper, trends may strengthen and start to influence structures such as government policy, dominant technologies, business models and so on. And going deeper still, we might observe shifts in beliefs, mental models, and society at large. These deeper changes shape the world we live in. So where do the trends we have identified fit in this model?

Firstly, it seems that many of the changes that we explore are indeed taking place at the level of structures and mental models, and could be making the shift to a more sustainable future much harder. The rise of nationalism is a good example of this — representing a deeper shift in mindsets and attitudes that also affects structures like trade and foreign policy. On the other hand, the positive developments around participatory democracy are, at least for now, superficial; isolated examples showing potential and momentum, but not yet affecting decision making at anywhere near the scale required.

The rapid rise of consumerism in parts of Asia, and the huge shift in focus towards the onlife, are both deep changes affecting outlook and mindsets that could distract from the need for positive global change. Responses to the collapse in biodiversity are, regrettably, still very sporadic with no overarching global response. Similarly, despite the high profile of plastic pollution, responses are mostly not joined up nor do they address the root problem of throwaway mindsets.

Among the trends we explore here, there may be ripples and waves on the surface that are moving towards sustainability, but the deep undercurrents are flowing in the opposite direction. The tide must be turned. Take for example the corporate sustainability movement. We can point to inspiring examples of how a number of leading businesses have transformed themselves and begun to have an impact on the world around them.

At Forum for the Future we have been working with these pioneers to help create transformational strategies to do just that. But, almost 20 years after Corporate Social Responsibility became a buzz term, only a small proportion of businesses have integrated sustainability into their core business strategies and the rules of business remain more or less unchanged. As we enter the turbulent s, this must shift quickly, so that the goals of mainstream capital markets are directed towards, and not away from, sustainability.

In our work we focus on three global challenges where we put our system change theory into practice. We believe solving these challenges will be key to riding the rapids of the next 10 years. For each we look out how the trends are affecting the global challenge, and what this means for action in the area over the next decade.

As our eyes opened to the urgency of climate change in , they inevitably also focused on what this means for our ability to provide for ourselves in years to come. The challenge of sustainable supply chains is to forge ways of creating and distributing goods that get turned into products that people need, in a way that builds social and environmental capital across the producer communities.

There is no question that this will need to transform in the s. While we may be forced to relinquish our reliance on certain commodities as an environmental imperative, a new model can also be forged: one that recasts producing communities and organisations as front-line stewards of the natural environment, delivering a blend of services and products that both enrich ecosystems and livelihoods, and build connection with the end consumer. They go beyond transaction, reaching into every habitat, every citizen and every government. As we look at the other shifts we are anticipating, we see significant impacts for our ability to stay within 1.

The urgency for action is increasing all the time — not just because the climate emergency is intensifying, but because many of the trends that will be shaping the s make concerted and effective action harder. Practical solutions are now gaining traction in these areas, and all have the potential to contribute to a carbon positive economy. In we witnessed continued momentum behind sustainable diets and new farming practice, trends that we have been tracking for some years.

Regenerative agriculture delivers clear multiple wins: soil acts as a carbon sink, increasing soil health delivers productivity and future resilience. We know it works: farmers in Colombia have multiplied their meat and dairy productivity up to tenfold using climate-friendly silvopasture, replanting trees and boosting biodiversity. But it requires fundamentally new thinking about the design of the food system, supporting innovation in production diversity rather than monoculture, and financial incentives to invest in new systems.

All this will need to be underpinned by a shift in mindset that can drive action at scale. We need to step up and skill up: step up our ambition levels, and skill up on how to work systemically. We see this as involving six elements, the need for which is demonstrated through the trends we have explored in this report. Firstly, recognise the true scale of the problem: this is not a blip. The plastics kickback demonstrates how pervasive problems can take a long time to generate awareness and action. We need a sober understanding of how migration, nationalism, living online and tanking biodiversity are here to stay and will form the operating context of the s.

Secondly, faced with trials that threaten to divide us we must build empathy and foster connections beyond our fields. Nationalism ghettoises society and living online exacerbates this while severing our connection to the natural world. To mitigate the climate migration to come, to foster stewardship and restoration of biodiversity, and to break down barriers of misinformation, it is vital to address empathy gaps and social cohesion. Garnering diverse perspectives allows different parts of a solution to come into play, such as the fertile grounds appearing in Asia with the next generation of family owned businesses, innovators and new cultural values coming together.

Next, identify and address root causes. Plastic pollution is ultimately about our convenience mindset and throwaway culture. The rise of nationalism in part springs from emotional needs and taking back for citizens control. Climate change is a failure of market economics and is in turn the root cause of much migration and biodiversity loss.

Efforts should be made to align on goals. The plastics problem shows us the dangers of working at cross purposes. Unless goals are aligned, parallel efforts can cancel each other out. Another critical element is to understand your role in the system and the power you have. Insurance and legal firms, investors, local government, tech companies all can contribute in some way or another.

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Corporate activists like Sky and Patagonia are using their assets and influence way beyond their core business on issues that matter. Brands can use their cultural power to offer value in non-material ways. Civil society can advocate for the uptake of participatory democracy at a local and national level.

Could FedEx become pioneers of innovation for transience? Could Google fast-track environmental stewardship for biodiversity? Finally, experiment, learn, share; be open and collaborate. We are genuinely all in this together. Our challenges came about in a globalised, cross-pollinated world; addressing them calls for globalised, cross-pollinated solutions. We believe we have some of the answers that can help you navigate the s. We can help individuals and organisations skill up by coaching for systems change and learning through the School of System Change.

We can help organisations across all sectors develop transformational strategies designed to transform themselves and the system around them. Together we can reinvent the way to world works. We would like to thank members of our Futures Centre community, whose signal spotting has guided the observations in this report. Intro Chapters The plastics kickback Migration and the climate crisis Nationalism marches again The onlife Rise of participatory democracy Changing consumerism in Asia Biodiversity in free fall Responses Global Challenges Supply chains and livelihoods Staying below 1.

Intro Chapters 1 The plastics kickback 2 Migration and the climate crisis 3 Nationalism marches again 4 The onlife 5 Rise of participatory democracy 6 Changing consumerism in Asia 7 Biodiversity in free fall Responses Global Challenges 1 Supply chains and livelihoods 2 Staying below 1. For decades, people have forecast with trepidation the run-up to as a challenging time for human life on the planet.

Can we change the story of the s before it transforms us? This year we're looking at 7 trends. Introduction Skip to chapter. Chapter 1 The Plastics Kickback Skip to chapter. Chapter 2 Migration and the Climate Crisis Skip to chapter. Chapter 3 Nationalism marches again Skip to chapter. Chapter 4 The Onlife Skip to chapter. Chapter 5 Rise of Participatory Democracy Skip to chapter.

Chapter 6 Changing consumerism in Asia Skip to chapter. Chapter 7 Biodiversity in freefall Skip to chapter. The s are almost here, and they promise to be challenging and uncertain. This has to change Action for sustainability should ultimately target the structures and mindsets that govern the way the world works, but to date we have seen little of this.

We live in a plastic world, and have done for decades. The equivalent of a truck load of plastic enters the oceans every minute We know less about the deleterious effects on human health, but the build up of toxic interference from plastics is well documented in marine life, disrupting reproductive cycles and even causing cancer both in fish and in mammals. Implications Despite this being perhaps the highest profile environmental issue in years, the movement is still in its infancy and has yet to become mainstream. Read More On FuturesCentre. We are at the tipping point for climate change On one side of that point is the ebbing possibility of keeping warming to 1.

Implications We face a massive humanitarian crisis, with no sign that anyone is prepared for the levels of displacement that even 1. Nationalist movements are gaining ground Across the world, nationalist movements are gaining ground, and in this has accelerated. Deep and structural factors There are a number of complex and interconnected cultural and economic factors driving the rise of nationalism around the world. Implications If nationalism is the new paradigm, what will it mean for our capacity to address global issues such as those identified by the Sustainable Development Goals?

How many minutes have you spent on the internet today? Social media platforms are hotbeds for extreme views In Mark Zuckerberg was hauled in front of Congress over mishandling of data and privacy, and we became starkly aware of just how unregulated a space the online world has become. Implications There are many implications for sustainability, but here are three which stand out. A sustainable and inclusive local political and economic system Participatory democracy refers to a system that tries to maximise the involvement of citizens in decision making. Implications Local participatory democracy is an opportunity to build meaningful and productive connections between people of different backgrounds, united by the affinity they feel for where they live.

Could runaway consumerism destabilise our collective future? The complex picture of consumerism in Asia is woven from many threads.