Planetary Designs: Historical Perspectives on the Intersection of Geoengineering and Terraforming


Thursday, March 22, 2018, 6:00pm to Friday, March 23, 2018, 4:05pm


Harvard University Center for the Environment, 26 Oxford St. Cambridge, MA

The objective of this workshop was to connect scholars and think deeply about planetary engineering and increasingly relevant questions that surround it in both geoengineering and terraforming projects. Thus, this workshop brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to consider the shared fictions, histories, and overlapping research questions of terraforming and solar geoengineering. It was our hope to foster a productive discussion that was humanistically-minded and that addressed the science behind planetary engineering. It was our contention that only then could we properly address the ethics and socio-political implications of these techno-scientific projects. By considering the shared history of terraforming and geoengineering we granted ourselves a broad arsenal of scholarly thought, historical lessons, and inspired fiction to think through how to confront the future.

This workshop was led by Daniel Zizzamia, Ziff Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and was funded by Harvard's Solar Geoengineering Research Program.



May 22, 2018

6:00 - 7:30pm

Keynote Address

  • David Keith (introduction)
  • Oliver Morton (keynote)

May 23, 2018

Introductory Remarks


Panel 1: The Science of Engineering Earth and Other Planets

8:45 - 10:15am 

  • Chair: Dan Schrag
  • David Keith
  • Chris McKay [via Skype]
  • Simone Tilmes
  • Robin Wordsworth

Panel 2: HIstory of Terraforming and its Future

10:20 - 11:50am

  • Chair: Carl Abbott
  • Frederick Turner
  • Neil Maher
  • David Nye

11:50am – 1pm: Lunch

Panel 3: History of Geoengineering and its Future

1:00 - 2:30pm

  • Chair: Naomi Oreskes
  • Eli Kintisch
  • Stefan Schäfer
  • Daniel Zizzamia

Panel 4: Ethics of Engineering Earth and Other Planet

2:35 - 4:05pm 

  • Chair: Holly Jean Buck [sub: Daniel Zizzamia]
  • Christopher Preston
  • Lawrence Buell
  • Catherine A. Conley
  • Frank White