Creating a new Earth community

The elements of A new Earth community (NEC) are as follows:


Collaboratives are a central and distinctive process of the NEC; innovative and interdisciplinary, they create expanding networks of creative exchange on campus and with affiliates locally and beyond. They are question-based, dynamic, and flexible, and embody a flow of reflection, exploration, discernment, visioning and action. They interrupt habitual thinking, engender genuine inquiry and a collective search for insight, and depend on horizontal relationships between faculty and students, and between students.

Collaboratives aim less at mastery of a certain body of knowledge than at reaching a deeper understanding of a significant issue through collective practices of listening, respect, empathy and exploration – cultivating an authentic arc between seeking to know and choosing to act.


Council on the Uncertain Human Future is a foundational practice of the NEC. The Council practice is an intentional conversation through which we acknowledge our planetary situation, and seek vision and direction for next steps from that place of reckoning. In a gradual collective way, new creative insights and collaborations become possible. The initial Council questions are What is taking place on the planet, and why? What are the implications for humans, the Earth and all living things? How do we choose to conduct ourselves in the face of grave danger and uncertainty?

Students will enter the NEC by participating in a UHF Council. Thus the work of Collaboratives and other curriculum and programs will draw from this depth of reckoning and insight. Learn more at


Mindful Choices courses create a space of reflection for undergraduates as they consider their education and vocation. A number of MC sections focus on the human / nature relationship as a context for students’ choices for their lives and work.


TRIO conversations bring common questions and concerns to the fore. These public events are sparked by a common climate-related question offered by the TRIO members. They will be a regular aspect of the NEC, and include faculty and students.


Climate Change Teach-ins have galvanized the awareness of our community around the climate issue and related topics. In two very successful Teach-ins (2015, 2016) nearly 45 faculty members offered sessions or sat on panels, and between 500 and 700 members of the community participated. Teach-ins will continue to take place at least every two years.


Clark has great strength in faculty research and teaching related to issues of environment, climate and social justice; there are a wide range of existing courses and research projects in related areas. A set of FYIs around an expansive set of topics related to the climate challenge both exist and will be cultivated for students interested in participating in the NEC.

For more information and other aspects of A new Earth community, please see the full NEC proposal here.