The Last Humans Project

Creating Local Sustainable Refuges

A Plan the Size of Rhode Island

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Re-framing the Idea of Learning . . . 

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The Ten Premises of The Last Humans Project:

  • We humans have passed the tipping point for climate disaster; it is not in the future but is now.

  • We allowed the drive for wealth and power determine how massive and powerful our machines would become during the industrial revolution resulting in wars and the despoiling of our earth.

  • We can shift from big technology (huge polluting power plants, for example) to small technology -- renewable energies -- and create a sustainable civilization.  From big and destructive to small and sustainable.

  • Politics and the governments run by politics will not make this shift or will not make it in time (with some exceptions); instead civil society and local society will do so.  

  • The institution most able to lead this shift is education, primary, secondary and post-secondary.  Higher education in the world has 250,000,000 students enrolled on average at any one time.  If each of the 19,400 institutions of higher learning help to create sustainable climate refuges in their locality, then people living in those localities have a better chance of surviving the mass extinction occurring now.  

  • The shift to a sustainable local society offers the most powerful learning experience possible for learners at all levels of education:  it is a process that is urgent, multi-faceted (that is, interdisciplinary), ongoing, real-life, and engaging.  

  • We use the model provided by The Wind for Schools Project created by the U. S. Department of Energy in 2008 and, specifically, the case in Rhode Island, as it moves to become the 13th U. S. state in the Wind for Schools cohort.  

  • Many trends are moving society toward survival, but not quickly enough.  We have no more window of opportunity in which to prevent disasters:  the covid-19 pandemic is among the disasters already happening.  Engaging all of education in the world in the project to preserve civilization would bring hundreds of millions of young people into the effort and, at the same time, build the workforce necessary to keep the new sustainable economy running.  

  • Young people are already engaged in climate action and racial justice and have been for years.  The energy and commitment is there.  (The Last Humans Project is also committed to “climate justice.”)

  • Renewable energy technology has evolved to include not only solar panels for homes but small wind turbines for homes that are safe, vertical (no big blades), and relatively affordable.  We humans are now at the point of returning our homes to self-sustaining for energy without the need for a wood pile.  


And the 11th:  “we can do it.”

January 8, 2020

The greatest strength humans have and have always had is forming cooperative groups.  We humans took a big leap toward forming large societies when we invented language 2.6 million years ago.  Having language allowed us to create larger societies that always include cu...

January 8, 2020

Can our kids play with sticks in ponds 30 or 50 years from now?  Greta Thunberg has become the image of the generation most directly affected by the threats to human survival.  The Last Humans Project proposes a permanent change to one mission for global higher educati...

January 8, 2020

This Project provides a template for global higher education, as a whole, to work toward saving human society starting immediately.  To prevent disruption of society's lifelines -- our global financial, transportation, supply systems and so on that humans depend on --...

January 8, 2020

One of many parks in Warwick, RI, Goddard Park has a stand of 120 year-old white pines and a mix of other native trees.  As I walked this park for 20 years, often with my dog, I felt grateful to those who planted the trees shortly after 1900.  In parks such as Goddard,...

January 6, 2020

Walking at Rocky Point, now being restored as a natural setting, after decades as an amusement park, I think how this park is above the flood line as the seas rise.  However, access to this raised point with the perfect view down Narraganset Bay, will be restricted as...

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