Roots

Climate Interactive was founded by Drew Jones and Beth Sawin at Sustainability Institute (now the Donella Meadows Institute) in 2005.

Five roots undergird this Climate Interactive effort.

1. The vision of Dana Meadows. Prof. Meadows was a longtime mentor to several our staff and an advocate for the approach at the core of Climate Interactive: combine scientifically-grounded analysis with advanced learning technologies and a positive vision for a sustainable world.

2. System Dynamics simulation modeling at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.  Much of our staff are MIT-trained system dynamicists. Our work builds on the global modeling work at MIT in the early 1970s, John Sterman’s ~1979 MIT PHD dissertation on energy dynamics, and Tom Fiddaman’s (now of Ventana Systems) 1997 MIT PhD dissertation on his integrated assessment model, NICE.

  1. Commitment to “open architecture sharing.” As described here, Marv Adams, Mike Richards, Peter Senge (MIT/SoL), Michelle Erickson (Erickson Strategies), Chris Johnson (ifPeople), Drew Jones (Climate Interactive), John Sterman (MIT) and others envisioned a way to impact the world with accessible simulation models by making them available for adaptation and extension.

  2. Investment in contexts and settings for learning. Work at MIT, Sustainability Institute (now the Donella Meadows Institute), and other institutions has built our capacity to create simulation interfaces, role-playing policy exercises, and workshop approaches that help people generate actionable insights from their interaction with simulations and other thinking tools. More specifically, simulation exercises such as the Beer Game, Strategem, and FishBanks Ltd. by Jay ForresterDennis Meadows, John Sterman and others, have set us up to design the World Climate Exercise. Further, advancements in how to channel grief and despair about climate futures into productive action by Beth Sawin and Phil Rice in Sustainability Institute’s “Our Climate Ourselves” program has informed our approaches.

  3. Engagement in climate, sustainability, energy, and resilience strategy at national and international levels.