Nafeez Ahmed is an academic, systems analyst and investigative journalist. He has been working on transdisciplinary systems to respond to the multiple challenges facing society, humanity and our environment.

After being censored while working as an environmental correspondent at The Guardian, he set up Insurge Intelligence as a crowd-funded independent journalist, and he is now the director of the brand new Future Labs think tank at Unitas Communications, as well as a member of the Transformational Economics Commission of the Club Of Rome.

In this interview, given outside the North London COP on 12 November, he talks about the opportunities presented by a collapsing system and the way in which ‘phase shifts’ can happen very quickly. He thinks that new energy technology can give us the possibility of wrestling power away from huge monopolistic extractivist industries and towards decentralised energy systems at an unexpected speed.

Nafeez sees parallels in various sectors such as food, health and education, and reminds us how quickly new paradigms can emerge as current systems decline.

To push these changes, it needs pressure from outside and from inside. So direct action, protests and strikes create outside pressure, and all of us in our own spheres and work environments, can push for changes from the inside.

Finally, he speaks about our media, which is designed to prop up the existing systems of power. He doesn’t see that changing very swiftly, despite some signs of movement in the corporate and state institutions, and calls for support for new independent platforms (such as Real Media). The growth of the independent sector, promoting journalism that joins up the dots, is yet another pressure point in decentralising power.

Although Nafeez recognises the real possibility of a dystopian future if we don’t move fast, his experience and understanding as a systems analyst, provides a refreshingly positive vision of a possible future.