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Climate Change and Ecologies of Value

Increasingly, scholars of global warming stress that by becoming geological agents, humans have disturbed the essential conditions (such as the temperature zone in which the planet exists) that they need to survive. Humans have arrived at this juncture through their drive towards "progress" ever since the Industrial Revolution and the widespread introduction of fossil fuels. Humanity's greed and competitive drive that brought us to our current plight continues, preventing us from fully taking on board the psychological, spiritual and ethical toll of dramatic changes to the well-being of many around the globe, and of many more in the near future. In order to deal with the human crises that are in the offing (if not already here, as Timothy Morton believes), we need to address the enormous anxieties and losses involved and the ongoing distress to humans suffering from them. HISB's "Ecologies of Value" project addresses what it means to be human in a time like this when challenges to daily life seem unsurmountable. We aim to address the culture of denial that hinders bringing people into awareness of what awaits them. Working with our colleagues at the Higgins School of Humanities at Clarke University, HISB hopes to replicate local "councils" modeled on the ones already taking place at the Clarke Institute. As the Director of the Higgins School put it, the councils will "begin to address our circumstances by both integrating and transcending the specific environmental, moral, political, and intellectual dilemmas posed by them." She continues to note that "Such a conversation may take participants into fearsome aspects of imagination and psyche, through questions requiring both intellectual and spiritual courage." We look forward to engaging in such an attempt to illuminate the human condition in our historical moment.

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