In 2014, a circle of twelve distinguished women sat together with the intention of opening the silence around planetary breakdown…

While the scientific consensus on the environmental crisis was clear, there was growing awareness that as a society we were failing to acknowledge it, as well as its root causes and implications. Together, these knowledgeable, creative and courageous women shifted gears from their commitments—coming to presence, sharing what they knew and felt about these collective threats, and listening between themselves for how they might respond. Their insights, documented in the film Listening for Signal, became the ground for what has followed.

That original National Council circle—originally hosted at Clark University and funded through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—remains the heart of a growing international CUHF network. It is now one of six CUHF Steady Councils which meet regularly.

Seven years later, more than 500 members have participated in CUHF Councils internationally, both in person and over Zoom.

Situated in universities, non-profit organizations, in regional circles as far-reaching as Boston, the Bay Area, Kathmandu, and Santa Fe, and within other affiliated groups, Councils develop in a variety of ways, and are then supported with the skillful guidance and facilitation of a CUHF convener. Their integrity relies on Council practice, and a set of specific agendas developed by the CUHF Core Team. The work is now funded by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.

Higher-ed continues to be a steady focus….

The reckoning made possible through the CUHF is sparking a reimagination of the roles and responsibilities of higher education for these times.

Clark University has developed a campus-wide curriculum initiative with CUHF at its foundation, A new Earth conversation. The CUHF initiative is spreading on the Swarthmore campus, with a team of ten conveners taking this practice to the community as a whole. And at MIT, in collaboration with the ESI and SHASS, seventy faculty and staff have participated in the full CUHF process over the last two years (2020-22). A new network for those in higher ed involved with CUHF work is currently being formed (fall 2022).

The CUHF Practice Stream emerges…

The CUHF Practice Stream has since grown from its foundation, the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, to offer additional councils formed in response to timely concerns; quarterly CUHF International Zoom Events open to members across the entire international network; and a Seedbed of members’ activities. Through the Practice Stream, the project aims to enrich and expand on the questions and concerns of the CUHF overall, and to further community among members.

In 2022, a group of CUHF Affiliates has emerged including the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHASS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Swarthmore College, Natural Dharma Fellowship, Mind & Life Institute, and Post Carbon Institute.