20 March 12:30-14:00 CET

Communicating Tipping Points

Join AIMES, the Earth Commission, Future Earth, and the WCRP Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity for a webinar on communicating tipping points as part of a series that aims to advance the knowledge about tipping points, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. (More details to be added shortly)

Round table discussion

  • Roundtable on communicating tipping points with inputs from: Colin Butfield (Studio Silverback), Johanna Hofmann (Harvard University), Anab Jain (Superflux), Tim Kelly (Earth HQ), David Armstrong McKay (Exeter University/Earth Commission), Félix Pharand-Deschênes (Globaia).

Moderated by Maya Rebermark (Earth Commission/Future Earth)

The recording will be available below:

Back to series overview.


David Armstrong McKay
Exeter University/Earth Commission

David is a Climate-Biosphere Scientist, Communicator, & Advocate, working to understand and enhance Earth system & socio-ecological resilience for an age of Climate and Ecological crisis.

He is based in Brighton, England, and is working as a Research Impact Fellow at the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute helping to lead the Global Tipping Points Report and working with the Earth Commission to set safe and just Earth system boundaries. David is also an associated researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre, and does a bit of freelance research consulting and science communication via Georesilience Analytics.

He is fascinated by the co-evolution of the Earth, life, and human societies as complex and dynamic systems, and what this means for our future. Particular topics of focus include climate tipping points and feedbacks, drivers and indicators of ecological resilience, and the sustainability of local to global food systems.

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Colin Butfield
Studio Silverback

Colin is a former executive director, specialising in communications, at the international conservation charity WWF (the Worldwide Fund for Nature). He worked with Silverback to conceive and produce the ground-breaking series Our Planet for Netflix, its accompanying digital Halo project and David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.

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Johanna Hofman
Harvard University

Johanna is a designer, strategist and storyteller helping people and organizations create more adaptive futures. She spends a lot of time thinking about cities, systems and what the world will look like in the year 2200.

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Anab Jain

Anab Jain is a designer, filmmaker and co-founder of Superflux, an award-winning design company. Her work can be viewed at www.superflux.in. Anab is also a Professor for Design Investigations at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.

A designer, filmmaker, futurist and educator, Anab Jain grew up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India within the entangled postcolonial landscapes of a fast-growing nation. Moving to London she gained her Masters at the Royal College of Art, and went on to work on machine intelligence at Microsoft Research, Cambridge.In 2009, Anab, with Jon Ardern, co-founded Superflux, a design studio foregrounding practices of critical foresight, design fiction and experiential futures. Working for a diverse set of clients and commissioners, Superflux imagines and builds future worlds we can experience in the present moment. In 2021,Superflux received the Design Studio of the Year Award. Clients and commissioners include Google AI, DeepMind, Omidyar Foundation, the Cabinet Office, IKEA, UN Development Program and the Government of UAE.Over the last 16 years, Anab has gained international recognition for her work and commentary on imagining plural futures and the radical potential of speculative design, emerging technologies and critical foresight. She has been awarded an **Honorary Doctorate** from the University of the Arts, London and is the recipient of the Award of Excellence ICSID, UNESCO Digital Arts Award, and Grand Prix Geneva Human Rights Festival, as well as awards from Apple and the UK Government’s Innovation Department. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA New York, V&A Museum, Science Gallery Dublin, National Museum of China, Vitra Design Museum, and Tate Modern.Anab has delivered talks and keynotes at several conferences including TED main stage, Skoll World Forum, Human Rights Watch Ideas Festival, MIT Media Lab and MOMA’s first design summit ‘Knotty Objects’, NEXT, LIFT, SIGGRAPH, Global Design Forum, EPIC, Design Engaged and FuturEverything.

In addition, Anab serves as Professor of Design Investigations at the dieAngewandte, University of Applied Arts in Vienna since 2016. She advocates a planetary, more-than-human approach in all aspects of her work.

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Tim Kelly
Earth HQ

Tim Kelly is Executive Director of Earth HQ, the media arm of the Global Commons Alliance, an unprecedented partnership of more than 50 of the world’s most forward-looking organizations in philanthropy, science, business and advocacy. Their goal is to create the most powerful network to scale science-based action to protect people and planet. 

Previously, Tim was a media executive, Emmy Award-winning film producer, and former President of the National Geographic Society. He also serves as Co-founder of Planet3, an game-based EdTech climate solutions platform. In addition, Tim serves on the US Board of IUCN, the Board of the African wilderness reserve Great Plains Conservation Trust, and on the Board of the environmental science journalism organization, Mongabay.org, and on the Board of the American Prairie Reserve helping to build a 3M acre wilderness reserve in Eastern Montana. As President of the National Geographic Society, Tim transitioned the primarily print-based organization to a global multimedia force and engineered the launch of the National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Films, and a wide array of digital media products.

Tim Kelly was appointed President of the National Geographic Society in 2010. Prior to that, he led National Geographic as President and CEO of National Geographic Ventures, and President of National Geographic Television. He became the youngest Trustee of the Society and under his lead, the highly acclaimed National Geographic Television production unit would go on to win over 135 Emmy Awards and create programming that served as the cornerstone for the launch of the National Geographic cable networks. Kelly went on to create National Geographic Films, which won an Academy Award for “March of the Penguins” and earned an all-time documentary box office record of $77 million in 2005. Kelly conceived and developed the National Geographic Channel in 2001, launching first in Europe, and then rapidly expanding distribution around the globe. Today, the Channel is seen in 165 countries, in 35 languages, by 400 million people and has contributed to National Geographic ranking consistently as one of the top five global media brands.

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All you need to know

This event is part of a series of online discussions aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. It supports efforts to increase consistency in treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments and ideas for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

This discussion series is a joint activity of the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) global research project of Future Earth, the Earth Commission Working Group 1 Earth and Human Systems Intercomparison Modelling Project (EHSMIP) under the Global Commons Alliance and the Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP).

Organized by

Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES)

The Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) project is an international network of Earth system scientists and scholars that seek to develop innovative, interdisciplinary ways to understand the complexity of the natural world and its interactions with human activities. AIMES is a global research project of Future Earth.

Earth Commission

The Earth Commission is a major scientific assessment, hosted by Future Earth, to define a safe and just corridor for people and planet. The Commission will inform the creation of science-based targets, the “1.5-degree equivalents”, to help maintain and protect critical global commons – our shared climate, land, biodiversity, freshwater, atmosphere and oceans. The Earth Commission is an international team of leading natural and social scientists and five working groups of additional experts. It forms the scientific cornerstone of the Global Commons Alliance.

Future Earth

Future Earth is a global network of scientists, researchers, and innovators collaborating for a more sustainable planet. Future Earth initiates and supports international collaboration between researchers and stakeholders to identify and generate the integrated knowledge needed for successful transformations towards societies that provide good and fair lives for all within a stable and resilient Earth system. Future Earth is the host of the Earth Commission.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)is an international research institute that advances systems analysis and applies its research methods to identify policy solutions to reduce human footprints, enhance the resilience of natural and socioeconomic systems, and help achieve the sustainable development goals.

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is advancing the frontier of integrated research for global sustainability, and for a safe and just climate future. A member of the Leibniz Association, the institute is based in Potsdam, Brandenburg and connected with the global scientific community. Drawing on excellent research, PIK provides relevant scientific advice for policy decision-making. The institute’s international staff of about 400 is led by a committed interdisciplinary team of Directors.

University of Exeter, Global Systems Institute

The Global Systems Institute (GSI) is thought-leading in understanding global changes, solving global challenges and helping create a flourishing future world together, through transformative research, education and impact. GSI's aim is to work with others to secure a flourishing future for humanity as an integral part of a life-sustaining Earth system. GSI's aim to be a ‘go to’ place for global change researchers from around the world, bringing them together with industry, policymakers, students and other stakeholders to tackle shared problems, and acting as a catalyst that enables translation of this research into applications that deliver tangible and sustainable social and ecological benefit.

WCRP Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity.

The Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity is an exploration of the routes to “safe landing” spaces for human and natural systems. It will explore future pathways that avoid dangerous climate change while at the same time contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those of climate action, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy, and healthy ecosystems above and below water. The relevant time scale is multi-decadal to millennial.

World Climate Research Programme

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) leads the way in addressing frontier scientific questions related to the coupled climate system — questions that are too large and too complex to be tackled by a single nation, agency or scientific discipline. Through international science coordination and partnerships, WCRP contributes to advancing our understanding of the multi-scale dynamic interactions between natural and social systems that affect climate.