101 Conversations About Climate

State of the Project: June 2023

So far, we’ve spoken with 90 of you — experts from every corner of climate action, from city sustainability directors to researchers on sea-level rise. We’ve organized the conversations into 42 different categories. (Let us know if there are categories we’re missing.)

You are the stewards and standard-bearers of dozens of different efforts to understand, repair, and realign ourselves with a changing climate. Many of you are giants at the top of your fields, but just as many are working in the trenches as students, teachers, artists, activists, administrators, and researchers.

Collectively, you know an astonishing range of things about climate change, from the details of its terrible damage to the details of its most daring solutions. In every conversation, your answers to our questions have broadened our views, rearranged our assumptions, and put our understanding on firmer ground.

The conversations have often been emotional. Some of you are in mourning. Some of you refuse to mourn or mourning doesn’t cross your minds. None of you has given up.

With ten conversations to go, we still don’t know what sort of artwork will do justice to the time, expertise, and inner thoughts you’ve shared with us. It won’t be enough to do a podcast or a bunch of blog posts. We’ve considered a traveling exhibit, a new theater play, or even a whole new community founded on your ideas and insights. Maybe most tantalizing is the idea that (with your permission) we’d start to introduce you to each other, in the hope of spawning new conversations and collaborations across this incredible group.

For now, our focus is getting from 90 to 100. Thank you again for helping us get this far. It’s already been an incredible honor.

Very best,


Who is “we”?
Leading the project is Physical Plant Artistic Director Steve Moore, with instrumental support and guidance along the way from Lena Barnard and Hap Timber.
Which conversations remain to do?
Our final batch of conversations will dive into economics and funding for solutions, hydroelectric power, insurance, international policy, and victims and survivors. The victims and survivors category is the most important category and we’re saving it for last. Having talked with dozens of experts on climate change, we’ll reach out to people in the US and around the world whose lives are already ravaged by disruption, damage, and uncertainty.
Why has it been so long since the last update?
We sent our last update on December 20, 2022 — almost six months ago. That’s much longer than our typically 6-week interval, but in that time Steve has taken a full-time job in the climate space. Conversations are now happening on nights and weekends.
Is it true that Steve's become obsessed with nuclear energy?
It is. Starting with a climate conversation with Professor Jacopo Buongiorno of MIT, nuclear energy has become a passion, in particular the promise it holds for addressing climate change and global energy poverty. In fact, Physical Plant has launched a separate endeavor called the River Reactor Project to help tell the story of advanced nuclear energy.
What happened to the 'Questions We're Asking' blog?
For a while we were doing regular blog posts to give a sense of the questions we were putting to experts. It was an experiment but didn’t seem to strike people as particularly interesting, so we’ve discontinued it. (This kind of work is all about experiments; some fail.) Thanks again to all of you who gave permission for us to post the questions.

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