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A new Earth conversation


A new Earth conversation (NEC) is a campus-wide climate change initiative that offers a space of reckoning, reflection, community, creativity, and discerning action in a time of planetary crisis.

With generous funding from the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, we continue to fulfill and expand the vision for our collective response, generated by the faculty over the last four years. Visit our website for updated information on how you can get involved with NEC.


We hope you will join us for these upcoming conversations and events:

Voices from the Mine
Film screening and conversation with Roy Maconachie

This session will begin with the presentation of a new 33-minute documentary film by Roy Maconachie from the University of Bath’s Centre for Development Studies: Voices from the mine: Artisanal diamonds and resource governance in Sierra Leone. Based on two years of fieldwork in Kono District in Sierra Leone, the film follows the pathway of artisanal diamonds from mine to market, offers an insider's perspective of the challenges of formalizing the sector, and explores why exploitation continues to persist at the bottom of the chain. 

Sponsored by A new Earth conversation (NEC), the Clark University Graduate School of Geography, and The Clark Center for the Study of Natural Resource Extraction and Society (Extractives@Clark).

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21 at 6:00pm | Fireside Lounge, Dana Commons

Genocide. Ecocide. Climate Catastrophe.
Naming it, owning it, going from here
A conversation with Christian Parenti and Roy Scranton

A powerful shift in American collective awareness of the climate crisis has occurred thanks to scientific reports released in fall 2018, a new level of attention in the media, and lived experiences of wildfires, drought, heavy rains, crop failures, severe cold and more.

Yet, as a culture, we live in a state of cognitive dissonance, continuing to behave as if we are not destroying our planetary home, and facing the gravest existential threat humanity has known.

Beyond the ecological dangers, competition for scarce resources and climate-connected intentional human genocides are on the rise – in the short- and long-term, and in both the South and the North. In fact, in some sense the entire climate phenomenon can be seen as an auto-genocide. 

What is it we know? What do we call it? How do we understand an expanding definition of genocide? How do we own that knowledge fully? What does it portend? Where do we go from there? 

We will explore these questions with our guests, who bring broad perspectives to these issues, including journalistic and military experiences in war-torn regions of the world.

Christian Parenti is an author, journalist and Associate Professor of Economics at John Jay College, and Roy Scranton is an author and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.

Sponsored by the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, A new Earth conversation (NEC), Neil Leifer and Ellen Carno.  Made possible in part through the generous funding of the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23 at 4:30 pm | Location TBD

The Big Thaw
Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World with photographer Chris Linder

In The Big Thaw, readers meet scientists and students who have been studying the permafrost and what it contains: a vast store of ancient carbon, more than four times the quantity found in all of today’s forests, a ticking “carbon bomb” releasing carbon dioxide and methane as the permafrost thaws.  In this talk, photographer Chris Linder will share behind-the-scenes stories from his eight field seasons photographing scientists at work in Siberia and Alaska.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 at 7:00pm | Grace Conference Room, Higgins University Center

Listening in Nature 

Listening in Nature is one of the pillars of NEC. This program encourages our community to slow down and experience the natural world, reminding ourselves of the interdependence of all living things.

We invite you to join us for our Fall Day of Listening in NatureA full schedule of offerings will be available before the event. 

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 16, all day | all around campus

NEC Fall Collaboratives

Fall 2019 Collaboratives

This semester, we are offering eight NEC Collaboratives, all launched with an experience of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future. Complete course descriptions are available on our website.

GEOG 119 The Arctic in the Anthropocene (FYI)—Karen Frey
GEOG 196 Development and Environment in Latin America: Difficult Questions, Creative Responses (FYI)—Anthony Bebbington 
ID 254/IDCE 30154 Mega Development: Exploring the nexus between natural resource extraction, infrastructure development and environmentDenise Humphreys Bebbington
IDCE 395/ID 294 Culture, Environment, and DevelopmentCynthia Caron
ID 234/IDCE 30334 Climate Praxis: Reflection and Action for the UnthinkableTim DeChristopher
ID 220 Critical Pedagogy for Social and Environmental Justice: Liberal Arts Education in PracticeJude Fernando
IDND 052 Writing: Sense of Place (FYI)—Jessica-Bane Robert
PHYS 243/PHYS 343 Technologies of Renewable EnergyChuck Agosta
You can learn more about what distinguishes Collaboratives here

Interested in developing an NEC Collaborative course or transforming an existing course into a Collaborative for Spring 2020? We have funding to assist you in course development. Contact Ellen Foley or Michelle Sayles for more information.

NEC Affiliated Courses

In affiliated courses and FYIs, students are encouraged to reflect about how climate change is related to the course subject; they attend public NEC events, and they participate in Listening in Nature (LIN) activities on campus. Some courses may also include a Council for the Uncertain Human Future.

We are delighted that the following courses are affiliated with the NEC this semester:

ARTS 150 Art and MeditationAmy Wynne
ASTR 001 Exploring the UniverseCharles Agosta
EN 101 Environmental Science and Policy: Introductory Case StudiesMorgan Ruelle
EN 120 Discovering Environmental ScienceTimothy Downs
GEOG 017 Environment and SocietyJames McCarthy
GEOG 136 Gender and EnvironmentYoujin Chung
ID 207 Beyond the Population BombEllen Foley
IDCE 30118 Science Meets Policy in Real WorldMorgan Ruelle
IDCE 358 AD TP: International Climate NegotiationsElisabeth Gilmore
PHIL 100 The Good LifeCharles DeMarco

If you are interested in affiliating a course with A new Earth Conversation, please get in touch with us! Contact Ellen Foley or Michelle Sayles for details.


The final gathering of the Spring NEC Council Collaborative (left to right): Sarah Buie, Dimitri Koufis, Walter Wright, Helen Perham, Kortni Wroten, August Welles, Aswira Pasha, Molly Gurney

Students from the Council Collaborative hosted a successful Evening of Council event this past April, bringing faculty, staff, and students together for deep dialogue on the challenges posed by climate change. The event will recur over the Fall semester, with additional Councils being planned for September and October. 

Michelle Sayles is the new Assistant Director for the Council on the Uncertain Human Future and A new Earth conversation. She is a recent M.A. graduate of McMaster University’s Globalization Studies program, holds a B.A. in Geography, and works as a community-engaged artist.


This summer, NEC staff have been busy refreshing our website with featured videos, and a new Getting Involved section. Please continue to visit the site for information on upcoming events, and a new section featuring reports from the field.


Lead Convener  
Ellen Foley IDCE

Core Advisory Group 
Chuck Agosta Physics
Jessica Bane-Robert LEEP Center
Sarah Buie V&PA, Founding Convener CUHF
Ed Carr IDCE
Jenny Isler Sustainable Clark

Steve Levin English
Deb Robertson Biology
Rinku Roy Chowdhury Geography
Core Advisory Group (cont.)
Morgan Ruelle IDCE
Rachael Shea Library
Walter Wright Philosophy

NEC Staff
Michelle Sayles, Assistant Director

Design consultant
Rose Gallogly ‘16

Copyright © 2022 A new Earth Conversation, All rights reserved.

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