Climate Change and Destiny Studies

"I can imagine that scholars, quite soon, will create a new academic field to help us think coherently about future time and the planetary vulnerabilities that will constrain what we are able to do. This discipline might be called DestinyStudies. ... The world will be well served if a slew of universities worldwide have programs in Destiny Studies in 10years---and high enrollments in their core courses on climate change."
- Robert Socolow, Climate change and DestinyStudies: Creating our near and far futures, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 71, Issue 6, 2015

Is there a moral argument for some threshold of environmental conditions that we must preserve for future generations?

This would be a cornerstone question in destiny studies. I moderated a conversation on this question and the rest of the lecture with Schrag and Elke U. Weber of Columbia University. I hope you can spare some time to watch.

There are plenty of efforts to build such a field, including Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University and the Arizona State University effort I described in this post: “Building Visions of Humanity’s Climate Future – in Fiction and on Campus.”

Here are other relevant past pieces:

2015 – “Avoiding a Climate Inferno”

2013 – “Could Climate Campaigners’ Focus on Current Events be Counterproductive?”

2011 – “Pedal to the Metal”

2010 – “Which Comes First – Peak Everything or Peak Us?”

2009 – “Puberty on the Scale of a Planet”

- Andrew Revkin, Oxford’s Halley Professor on How the Climate Challenge Could Derail a Brilliant Human Destiny, NYT, Feb 15, 2016

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