Reader for these COVID-19 times


CUHF in these COVID-19 times

The coronavirus pandemic is transforming our human world in almost every dimension.

As we live into this unprecedented time of threat, loss and uncertainty, many writers, thinkers and activists are considering how the pandemic relates to the larger planetary threats of climate and environmental collapse.

Through the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, we reckon with the climate crisis and what it asks of us. Many of the essays included here address that challenge as interwoven with, and amplified by, the pandemic.

What is COVID revealing? Who are we now, and where might we go from here?

With this collection we invite you to pause, reflect and consider what is becoming possible.

The readings are in chronological order by publication date.


Why read this?

George Prochnik

An eloquent essay bringing voices from 1832 to speak urgently to us today…

Beth Gardiner & Elizabeth Sawin

Promising strategies solving big problems in combination…

Deena Metzger

Fertile lessons in the passages through illness and death…

Meehan Crist

Fateful political choices at this global inflection point…

Roger Cohen

A “mystic murmuring voice” pleading for decency

— before it’s too late…

Aisha S. Ahmad

We can learn from a great teacher—calamity– to give ourselves a break…

Vijay Kolinjivadi

Warnings from abroad on the predations of neo-liberalism…

John Bailes

Embracing grief

as a source of wisdom…

Jeremy Lent

What we must do now

to secure a future of “sustainable flourishing”…

Marina Koren

Confirming our impression

that the natural world feels different now…

Arundhati Roy

From India a brilliant writer imagines “another world”…

Rebecca Burgess

An ecologically- and economically-sustainable production system…

Rebecca Solnit

Profound insights

into how disasters change us, and our world…

Kate Brown

A scientist’s lyrical musings on the microbial web in which we swim together…

Charles Yu

Clearing away dangerous illusions of separateness

and safety…

Jane Goodall

A 60-year perspective

on the kinship of humans and other animals…

Emily Witt

An inside look at the

awakening of an iconic

climate change activist…

William E. Rees

The alarming consequences

of rising population and consumption…

David Wallace-Wells

A harrowing projection of pandemics to come …

Sherri Mitchell

Native American wisdom

on the origins and demands of the new virus…

Achille Mbembe

The Universal Right to Breathe

Mary Evelyn Tucker & John Grim

We need a new ethics

that integrates ecology,

justice, and peace…

David Korten

A compact and compelling

call for the U.S. to correct course now…

L. Rafael Reif

How the lessons of COVID can help heal a “fevered planet”…

Kathleen Dean Moore

Years that Ask Questions,

Years that Answer Them

Kim Stanley Robinson

A science fiction giant

on the urgency of the lessons COVID has on offer…

William Powers & Helena Norberg-Hodge

A life of wiser and happier alternatives to globalization…

Petra Lentz-Snow

Can there be sanctuary akin to a global vision quest during a pandemic?…

Adrian Villaseñor-Galarza

Finding the refuge we need at this time of transition…

Gretel Ehrlich

When we all hold our

breath together, what do we see, and know?…

Kathleen Dean Moore

Living Like Birds

Rob Hopkins

“The Sun will Never Shine as it Does Today” – Some Reflections from Lockdown

Henry Wismayer

A travel writer contemplates a less mobile future

Sonia Shah

It’s Time to Tell a New Story About Coronavirus—Our Lives Depend on It

Bill McKibben

130 Degrees

Wade Davis

The Unraveling of America