The Moral Arc of the Universe and the Arc of History- Eban Goodstein

The beginning of the semester is, for me, always a time for reflection on my purpose on the planet. Witnessing local communities in collapse—from Syria to Detroit— it can be hard to hang on to Dr. King’s vision of a moral arc of the universe that bends, eventually, towards justice.

The picture on my mind is the literal arc of history:

arc of history


The reconstructed arc of temperature is our best understanding of climate over the last 10,000 years. The entirety of human history is spanned in the arc, from the building of the first city to the I-pad. The red line is where the World Bank says we are headed, in the blink of an eye. Talk about a brick wall.

The definition of leadership we use here at Bard CEP is two-fold: taking people where they otherwise would not go; and inspiring others to lead in the same direction.

Where we are otherwise going is the top of that red line: 8 degrees F when my children are not much older then me. Where we need to go instead is 80% reductions in emissions globally.

So what is our purpose? How do we reengage with the moral arc of the universe? The answer is obvious: we must all lead.

Leadership requires skills that can be learned. Please help us find young people who are hungry for those skills. C2C Fellow is holding five weekend training conferences for under grads and recent grads aspiring to sustainability leadership in business and politics.


MA (Bentley University) | October 25–27, 2013

CA (Bay Area) | November 8–10, 2013

NY (Bard College) | February 14-16, 2014

FL (University of Florida) | March, 2014

IL (TBA) | April, 2014


Students can apply now. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a Bard C2C Fellow here. Cost for the weekend trainings, including food and lodging, is $30. Registration scholarships are available, and students can often apply to their student governments for travel support as well.

Next week, join us in welcoming economist Jon Koomey on The National Climate Seminar. Wednesday at noon eastern, Jon will be talking about his book Cold Cash, Cool Climate: Science-Based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs. The full fall schedule is below and here.