Vermont Humanities

Is the Economic Past Prologue: Will the Industrial Revolution’s Economic Growth Continue?

Image from Midsummer Night's Dream
Fall Conference

For 97% of recorded history, the world economy remained in a largely stationary state—until the Industrial Revolution, which brought significant economic growth. Is that growth sustainable? Professor Mokyr answers that question by analyzing the brakes on economic growth before the Industrial Revolution and the ways they were released. That historical understanding can then inform how we look at the current era and the prospects for continued growth.

Recorded at the Vermont Humanities Council’s Fall Conference 2017: “The Double-Edged Sword of Technology.”

Recent Fall Conference Videos

Young man holding an American flag jumping between rocks in a river

Are “We the People” Up to the Task?

In the United States, all power is derived from the people. While this sounds noble in theory, can we expect the American public to have the wits and self-control to meet the demands of climate change? Constitutional scholar Meg Mott explores the paradox of self-governance when the natural foundations of life itself are changing.

Image of boat under green water with a rope tied around the bow

History in Hot Water: Climate Change and the Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is home to hundreds of well-preserved shipwrecks that help tell the story of our region. But climate change is altering the lake’s underwater cultural heritage. Susan Evans McClure and Christopher Sabick from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum consider the impact of historical objects changing before our eyes.

Person standing on a dock in the rain

NPR’s Eric Westervelt on Bigger Fires, Hotter Days, and Drier Lands

NPR national correspondent Eric Westervelt describes how mega fires, excessive heat and widening drought all underscore how climate change is fueling the routinization of extreme weather, with consequences for all of us.

Climate advocate Elizabeth Yeampierre

The Path to Climate Justice is Local

Puerto Rican climate justice leader Elizabeth Yeampierre has helped pass climate legislation at all levels, including New York’s progressive Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In this talk she describes how intergenerational BIPOC activists are changing the landscape of national climate priorities by speaking up for themselves and their neighborhoods.

Woman walking through a maze beside a seaside cliff

The Zone is Us: Sacrifice in the Space-Time of Climate Change

Gleaning from classical mythology, UVM professor Adrian Ivakhiv suggests three paths for navigating climate-related trauma: those of Chronos (science), of Aion (arts and humanities), and of Kairos (action without guarantee).

Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben. photo by Nancie Battaglia

Thinking Through the Future with Bill McKibben

Author Bill McKibben shares how the humanities can help us understand climate change, the greatest crisis we’ve ever found ourselves in. From the biblical book of Job to the latest science fiction, literature gives us clues to how we might shrink ourselves and our society a little.

Drawing of people fleeing in terror during Midsummer Night's Dream

Vermont Teen Shakespeareans Save the Planet

Get Thee to the Funnery founder Peter Gould and a panel of informed, passionate, articulate, and wise Shakespeare campers describe examining global warming and climate justice through their study of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Vermont Humanities*** December 5, 2017