Back to the Future: A Sea Change Radio Series

Mass Humanities - A Commonwealth of Ideas

What can we learn from the past to help us make the transition to a low carbon future? We explore this question in the six-part radio series, Back to the Future. We look at farming, construction, transportation, energy and ways of organizing communities that can inspire us in meeting the goal of a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.

Massachusetts is rich in sustainability resources and action. From green building initiatives and wind power to low carbon transportation infrastructure like bike trails and sustainable agriculture consortia, the state is a leader in working toward a green economy. Massachusetts is also rich in historical resources that provide many examples of technologies, both material and social, used in earlier, lower carbon-use times.

In six monthly episodes starting October 2009, the series examines the use and re-use of older technologies, materials, and social organization by projects, organizations, businesses and individuals around the state who are seeking ways of creating a more sustainable way to live, one that emphasizes quality of life over quantity of consumption.

We talk with historians who share their insights and discoveries about how people lived, produced, and traded in Massachusetts in the pre-fossil fuel era. We hear from sustainability experts and green entrepreneurs who are exploring ways to use and adapt those older ways to move to a lower energy, lower consumption way of life.

On the page for each episode, you’ll find links to resources to explore the issues further.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.