Conference 2021

Climate change presents a major challenge for our time. It is expected to greatly increase global temperatures, “natural” disasters, political instability, war, disease, drought, and famine in this century. Its impacts are far-reaching and distributed unequally. In this conference, we aim to make progress toward addressing climate change, both by addressing the philosophical challenges it raises, and by bringing philosophers, practitioners, and organizers together to advocate for sustainable practices in teaching, research, administration, advocacy, and community engagement.

Our main themes are:

      1. Moral and political responses to climate change: challenges pertaining to climate justice, inequality, indigenous rights, migration, individual responsibility, responses to disaster and emergency
      2. The role and responsibility of philosophers in research, teaching and course design, service, and in the public domain: effective teaching about climate change, sustainable practices within philosophy, public philosophy, and the role of philosophers in on- and off-campus advocacy

The conference was virtually via Zoom, and included keynote sessions, pre-read and/or pre-watched talks with live Q&A, live panel discussions, moderated workshops and forums, and informal discussion time.

NOTE: Thank you to everyone for a great conference! It was a wonderful event. You can now view recordings (without Q&A) of the opening remarksBill McKibben’s keynote, Robin Zheng’s panel with philosopher-activists, and the presentation part of the Sunrise Movement workshop, as well as conference materials such as our welcome and followup emails, guidelines for chairs, and our reflections on conference tech by our Technology Coordinator, Sarah (Sadie) Warren. Selected pre-watch videos remain available below. For a longer report on the conference, see the August 2021 article in the APA’s Climate Matters series. 

Conference Schedule

 (All times listed in East Coast USA/Canada time; convert times here)

Note: The three symposia are pre-read / pre-watch with live Q&A (links to videos and PDFs below); all other events are live only.


12pm (EDT) Welcome Remarks (click here for video recording)


12:30-1:45pm (EDT) Symposium: Reconceiving Structural Change (click here to pre-watch for the live Q&A)

    • Chair: Kian Mintz-Woo (University College Cork)
    • “Climate Change, Individualism, and Structuralism” — Michael Brownstein (John Jay College / CUNY Graduate Center), Alex Madva (Cal Poly Pomona) and Dan Kelly (Purdue)
    • “Climate Migration in the Pluriverse” — Romy Opperman (The New School)
    • “Democracy, Justice, and Socially Sustainable Energy” — Eric Godoy (Illinois State University)


2:15-3:30pm (EDT) Symposium: Philosophical Cases for Climate Action (click here to pre-watch for the live Q&A)

    • Chair: Britta Clark (Harvard University)
    • “Philosophers as Advocates for Reparative Climate Justice”– Ben Almassi (Governors State University)
    • “Taking Down-to-Earth and Timely Action: An Axiological Examination of Climate Policymaking” — Li-An Yu (Bielefeld University)
    • “Axis of Betrayal: The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change” — Kathleen Dean Moore (Oregon State University) and Tom Kerns (North Seattle College)


4-5:30pm (EDT) Keynote: Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College), “Climate Change, Climate Action, and Intergenerational Ethics”


5:45-6:30pm (EDT) Post-Conference Hangout (food and drinks welcome) 



10-11:30am (EDT) Panel Discussion: Climate Crisis and the Politics of Scale 


12-1:15pm (EDT) Symposium: Teaching the Climate Crisis (click here to pre-watch for the live Q&A)

    • Chair: Evelyn Brister (Rochester Institute of Technology)
    • “Engaged Philosophy: Switching “On” Student Power” —  Ramona Ilea (Pacific University), Susan Hawthorne (St. Catherine University), and Monica Janzen (Anoka Ramsey Community College) 
    • “How can Philosophy Classes Help Students with Climate Communication?”Stephen Gardiner (University of Washington) and Colin Marshall (University of Washington)


2-3pm (EDT) Minorities and Philosophy Workshop (click here for workshop description)


3:30-4:45 (EDT) Keynote: Bill McKibben ( in Conversation with Eugene Chislenko (Temple University) (click here for video recording)


5:00-6:00pm (EDT) Post-Conference Hangout (food and drinks welcome)



9:00-9:45am (EDT) Pre-Conference Hangout (food and drinks welcome) 


10-11:30am (EDT) Panel Discussion: Should Philosophers be (Climate) Activists? (click here for video recording)


12-1pm (EDT): Workshop: Building a Climate Movement (click here for video recording)


2-3:30pm (EDT) Keynote: Kyle Whyte (University of Michigan), “Roles for Philosophers in Disrupting Climate Crisis Narratives”

4:00-5:15 pm (EDT) Philosophers for Sustainability Strategic Planning Forum: Next Steps for our Field