A new Earth Community

A campus-wide climate initiative at Clark University, proposed for fall 2017

The world faces unprecedented challenges… so does higher education.
Our interdependent ecosystem has been de-stabilized by its human inhabitants and the expansion of an industrial economy powered by fossil fuels. The underlying political, economic and social tenets of our world are proving increasingly volatile, destructive and untenable as well.

How do we educate in a time of increasing uncertainty, instability and injustice?
How do we educate now for the world we wish to see?

What if students, on their first day of college, found a campus brimming with the palpable excitement of teams (of students, faculty and staff) exploring, acknowledging and working together to address the slow violence of environmental destruction and climate change? To vision and build a just world, one in both human lives and the natural world are valued? What if those students could work, socialize, and reside together in spaces of reflection, inquiry and action?

In this scenario, the University is a hatchery of ideas grown out of reflection, discernment and practice, incorporated into making new knowledge and thoughtful action. It cultivates planetary citizens. It is A new Earth community. See elements of the NEC here.

A new Earth community expresses the vision of faculty, staff and students, seen through advisory group meetings, faculty TRIO events, two campus-wide Climate Teach-ins, additional public programs, the support of President David Angel, and through the stewardship of a team of NEC co-conveners. See NEC core team here.

The NEC builds on Clark’s strengths and brings work already underway into more intentional relationship. A large number of faculty focus on issues of environment, climate, and social justice; we have a strong track record in convening work across the disciplines through the Higgins School and the Difficult Dialogues initiative. We have remarkable synergy between centers of expertise in the Graduate School of Geography, the IDCE programs, the Higgins School of Humanities, the Marsh Institute and the Mosakowski Institute; this has been strengthened in the work of A new Earth conversation between faculty over the last 18 months.