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by Carolyn Classen, blogger

Exploring Climate Change Using
“The Thing from the Future”


By Hu Chen on Unsplash
“There are many tools that can help us think about the world we want to see. One such tool is “The Thing from the Future,” a game designed by the Situation Lab. The designers describe it this way: “The Thing from The Future is an award-winning imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures.” Our presenter, Nic Richmond, the Chief Strategy Officer for Pima Community College and a certified foresight practitioner, has extended the game to include climate action and sustainability topics, creating a collaborative activity that generates thoughtful discussion and true creativity.
Within the game, participants will be presented with a scenario comprised of:

  • A type of future (e.g., a future resulting from ongoing steady progress or a future impacted by a profound historical change)
  • The climate setting (e.g., the temperature increase was successfully limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius or we cross a climate change tipping point)
  • The context or location where the future object may be found
  • The type of object that is the focus of the round — a specific artifact that reveals something about how the future is different from today
  • The mood that a person may feel while using the object

After the presenter shares an introduction to futures work and presents an example of a possible future object, participants will divide into teams (via break-out rooms) and be assigned a set of cards. They will be charged with developing the specifics of the object and what it means in the specified climate future. After 10 minutes of discussion, each team will present their object and a winner will be selected for the round. We’ll play several rounds, to explore a range of possible futures.

Nic Richmond, Ph.D., is a geophysicist, data scientist, and education leader. Nic has earned a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in geophysics from institutions in the United Kingdom and gained over 25 years of research experience. Her research interests include the analysis and interpretation of orbital magnetometer data of the Moon and Mars, the application of quantum mechanics and solid-state physics to deep Earth
materials, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning methods in higher education. Since 2008, she has worked full time in higher education research, and she currently leads the Strategy, Analytics, and Research team at Pima Community College, where she serves as Chief Strategy Officer. In that role, she is responsible for the College’s sustainability program, and she led the development of the College’s first Climate Action and Sustainability Plan.”

www.sustainabletucson.org

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