MIT's Council on the Uncertain Human Future

Participate in an upcoming Council. Are you an MIT faculty member, researcher, student or staff member? We invite you to join a conversation among members of the MIT community that heightens our collective awareness of the climate crisis and creates momentum for what is possible from here.

A series of conversations about the future

The Council on the Uncertain Human Future (CUHF) is a series of small, intentional conversations to consider and reflect on the climate crisis and its implications for our lives, our work, our relationships, and our commitments. Without predetermined outcomes or product, the emergent nature of the conversation brings forth new solidarity, momentum, creative insights and collaborations.

At the outset of a CUHF session, we frame the conversation within the contemporary social and political context. We review the natural and societal symptoms of the collapse, and explore its root causes – cultural, political, economic, psychological and spiritual. From there, we face together the implications of what is taking place, lean into the loss and uncertainty, and feel out possibilities for our individual and collective behavior. Finally, we ask ourselves: given what we know, how do we live now?

Launched at Clark University in 2014 with a national circle of environmental leaders, the Council on the Uncertain Human Future is now an international network, with circles at MIT, Clark, the University of Edinburgh, NCAR, Kathmandu, the Bay Area, UC Berkeley, Santa Fe, Swarthmore College, Bard’s MBA program, University of Hawaii and more. Learn more about the CUHF network and process.

Councils for the MIT Community

To foster an environment of deep reflection, creativity, and possibility about climate change within the MIT community, the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) and the Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) have opened a CUHF circle at MIT.

In summer 2020, twenty-three faculty members from across all five schools met in weekly two-hour virtual sessions in two Councils over five weeks. This format was replicated for twenty-two staff members in winter/spring 2021. Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, ESI and SHASS are planning additional Councils for staff and faculty in 2021.

For more about the CUHF at MIT, contact Laur Hesse Fisher (ESI) and Emily Hiestand (SHASS) at cuhf@mit.edu

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash