Different shades of green, yellow, blue, white and orange paint move in thick brush strokes across the frame to create an image that calls to mind the natural world, but blurred.

Imagining Climates

Welcome to Imagining Climates, a multidisciplinary collaborative and creative response to the climate crisis, exploring the role of imagination in understanding our world today and creating the world of tomorrow.

“Imagination is one of our most powerful tools. What we imagine, we can become.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

Imagination remains one of the most compelling instruments that humanity possesses to shape the realities in which we live. Through creative writing, interdisciplinary conversations, and a place-based audio walk, we will engage in the work of imagining the climates of our present and our future together. Imagining Climates brings together diverse practices, perspectives and cultures to explore how we might individually and collectively give voice to our relationship to the Earth, other life forms and each other, working through ecological loss, shame and grief to re-vision possible futures, communities and pleasures.

In order to create a future that is brighter than our present, we must first imagine it.

These interdisciplinary conversations bring together leading thinkers and creators from the University of Guelph’s Environmental Science and Arts communities to discuss the role of the imagination in their practice as they engage with ecological and climate crisis.   

Told in 150 words or less, these Micro-Climate stories, poems, dialogues and essays voice our relationship to the Earth, the climate emergency, and the ways in which we grapple with a changing world on a human or local scale. Imagined by noted writers and scientists, all members of the University of Guelph community, these micro-climates offer charged glimpses into altered and transformative worlds. Add your voice and submit your own Micro-Climate Story.

This downloadable audio walk guides listeners through a contemplative, place-based walk along paths in the Guelph Arboretum, deepening our scientific understanding of the area and calling us to attend to the natural world while tapping into our imagination. The walk allows listeners to engage generatively with other locales as well. 

Imagining Climates is funded by the GIER Small Grants Program. Our Team Leaders are Catherine Bush and Liane Miedema Brown, in collaboration with Graduate Assistant Natasha Greenblatt. 

Imagination is necessary for my work both as a global change ecologist and as a writer. GIER is proud of  Imagining Climates, which was inspired, in part, by my early 2020 visit to the Imagining Climate Change initiative at the University of Florida. I’m convinced that bringing the many disciplines of climate change into greater conversation will navigate us humanely through the climate emergency.”

Madhur Anand, Inaugural Director of the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research, environmental scientist, and writer.

Find out more about our team

For more information on Imagining Climates or to submit your own Micro-Climate story contact imaginingclimates@uoguelph.ca

Banner photo credit: Emma Sultmanis, Keep Scanning the Environment, 2020.

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