Alex Steffen (born c. 1968) is an American futurist who writes and speaks about sustainability and the future of the planet. He emphasizes the importance of imagining persuasive, positive possible futures: “It’s literally true that we can’t build what we can’t imagine,… The fact that we haven’t compellingly imagined a thriving, dynamic, sustainable world is a major reason we don’t already live in one.”
Alex Steffen (born c. 1968) is an American futurist who writes and speaks practically sustainability and the complex of the planet. He emphasizes the importance of imagining persuasive, positive realistic futures: “It’s literally authenticated that we can’t build what we can’t imagine,… The fact that we haven’t compellingly imagined a thriving, dynamic, sustainable world is a major explanation we don’t already flesh and blood in one.”
From 2003 to 2010, Steffen was direction editor at the website Worldchanging. Worldchanging practiced “solutions-based journalism”. The non-profit running announced that the goal of its show was to emphasize new solutions to what the editorial team wise saying as the planet’s most pressing problems, rather than to move ahead news of those problems or critiques of their causes.
The site won or was nominated for a number of awards and prizes, including winning the Utne Independent Press Award (2005), finalist for a Webby for Best Blog (2006), finalist for a Webby for Best Magazine and Bloggie awards for Best Group Weblog and Best Writing for a Weblog (2007), won the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature for its book, won Organic Design Award, Prix Ars Electronica nominee, and in 2008 was named a Webby Official Honoree.
In November 2006, Steffen published a survey of global innovation, Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st century (
ISBN 978-0810930957), with a foreword by Al Gore, design by Stefan Sagmeister and wuth an start by Bruce Sterling. A new, updated edition, with a foreword by Van Jones and an initiation by Bill McKibben, was published in 2011.
In 2012, Steffen released Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities That Can Save the Planet, a photo album which explored the innovations and policy changes that a North American city would habit to make to become carbon neutral.
In 2013, he became “Planetary Futurist in Residence” at the design company IDEO.
In 2016, Steffen successfully ran a crowd-funding toss around for The Heroic Future, a three-part series of documentaries upon how we might imagine a sustainable future. The theme was “you cannot build what you cannot imagine”. The series was filmed in stomach of a live audience exceeding three nights in September 2016 at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.
In 2017, following the election of President Donald Trump, Steffen modified his style to a form of “anticipatory journalism”, taking the thesame themes as The Heroic Future and tone them in the near future, post-Trump. This series of newsletters are titled The Nearly Now.