Teaching to Cultivate a Better Anthropocene: From Failure to Nurture

Imagine a thoughtful student. Imagine their distress when confronted with some of our most urgent challenges: climate change, species extinction, plastic pollution, food insecurity, and climate-driven conflict. In short: a bad Anthropocene. They ask: “It’s all so overwhelming, what can I do that will actually make a difference?”

How would you answer?

Nearly a decade ago, a student asked Trevor Durbin this question, and he was stumped. That profound failure sent him on a quest to help students imagine how they might overcome inaction and do something meaningful in the face of planetary crisis. This talk re-tells some of his pedagogical journey, including its failures and partial successes. He suggests no panacea but offers something rich in potential, an invitation to plant and nurture, with our students, seeds for a better Anthropocene. Following the talk, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue with Trevor and with each other.