About the Climate Action Lab

We are entering an era of permanent, compounding environmental crises. Signs of climate cataclysm are legion, from wildfires in the Arctic to devastating hurricanes to dwindling agricultural yields. As we watch the present go up in flames it is more imperative than ever to imagine alternative futures.  

The scale of the climate crisis is such that no nation or person is safe. And yet political and economic elites the world over remain mired in complacency and feckless consumption. Averting planetary ecocide consequently requires popular, democratic planning for a just transition. Forging alternative futures will require a global socioeconomic transformation that brings the impact of humanity within safe limits and that adapts societies to environmental shocks and breakdowns.  

The human condition is now a predominantly urban one, and cities are consequently key sites for imagining a just transition. The Climate Action Lab (CAL) focuses on the practices of New York City-based grassroots social movements to address climate crisis. CAL puts CUNY faculty and graduate students in dialogue with activists, artists, journalists and other academics working on diverse, dynamic, self-organized responses to climate change. Pivotal to CAL’s work is engagement with various experiments with bottom-up carbon mitigation and climate adaptation.

Climate Action encompasses the myriad changes in urban infrastructures necessary to cut carbon emissions dramatically and to adapt cities to the many stresses that climate change will inflict on them. Climate action therefore can include everything from detailed plans for a rapid transition to a fossil free society to local restoration of wetlands. Whatever shape and scale it takes, however, climate action should be inspired by a justice-based vision in which all members of urban communities live good lives by being in just and fair relationships with one another within healthy, interdependent ecosystems. Climate action thus recognizes that struggles against climate chaos and social inequality are intimately intertwined.

The Climate Action Lab is developed through a collaboration between the Art, Activism, and the Environment research group from the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at the Center for the Humanities (CUNY Graduate Center), the Occupy Climate Change! Project of the Environmental Humanities Lab at the Royal Technology Institute of Sweden, and the Climate Action Research Cluster of the Social Text Collective.   


Click here to return to the Climate Action Lab homepage.

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Co-sponsored by the Art, Activism, and the Environment research group as part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY; the Occupy Climate Change! Project of the Environmental Humanities Lab at the Royal Technology Institute of Sweden; and the Climate Action Research Cluster of the Social Text Collective

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