Climate change is here, and we’re going to live with it, even in the best scenarios. So are we destined for a future devoid of humor, joy, and connection? Nope, and we’re here to prove it. Join leaders from the climate literacy initiative Probable Futures and Climate Comedy Cohort comedians for a unique presentation blending science, comedy, and meaningful discussion as we explore detailed climate maps and discuss our future, minus the anxiety.
About The Speakers
Alison Smart - Executive Director, Probable Futures
When Alison joined the Woodwell Climate Research Center as Vice President for Strategy and Advancement in 2015, she realized that her experience in the arts gave her a distinctive ability to help climate scientists translate their work for public audiences. In her role there, Alison helped transform the organization’s funding model, branding, and communications strategy.
Today, as Executive Director of Probable Futures, she is committed to providing opportunities for people around the world to deeply understand climate change and take actions to prepare for and mitigate its impacts. In her role, she convenes leaders across science, design, technology, business, and culture, to develop useful, resonant, and beautiful climate change tools and resources.
Alison’s previous roles have included Vice President for Development and Marketing at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where she oversaw a massive capital expansion and helped broaden the Museum’s programs and exhibitions to promote ocean science and whale conservation. She has also served in several fundraising and community-building roles in south Florida: the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Ballet Gamonet in Miami, and the Jerry Herman Ring Theater in Coral Gables. Alison earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Arts Management from the University of Miami (FL).
In addition to her Executive Director position at Probable Futures, Alison is a Senior Fellow for Communications at Woodwell Climate Research Center, serves as Vice Chair of the Zeiterion Theater, an historic performing arts center in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is an active member of the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network.
Alison lives on the South Coast of Massachusetts with her husband, two children, and their beagle, Evie. When she isn’t helping people to imagine their climate futures, she enjoys listening to and singing along with music, running and hiking, and practicing yoga.
Spencer Glendon - Founder, Probable Futures
Spencer is dedicated to making climate science more accessible, useful, and intuitive so that everyone on Earth can build their climate literacy and mindfully prepare for the consequences that climate change is likely to bring.
Spencer earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, where he focused on the history of urbanization and industrialization. He has extensive training and experience in finance, history, and languages and has worked and lived in Michigan, Chicago, Germany, Russia, China, and Boston.
For 18 years, Spencer was a Macroanalyst, Partner, and Director of Investment Research at Wellington Management, a firm with more than $1 trillion in client assets. In that role, he endeavored to understand issues that could affect markets, but that fell outside of the typical silos in finance, such as the modernization of China, the consequences of ubiquitous information and computing, political risk, inequality, and eventually, climate change.
In 2017, Spencer began collaborating with scientists, business leaders, designers, technologists, and educators to research the effects of climate change and to share those findings publicly. This work helped underpin initiatives such as a first-of-its-kind partnership between Wellington Management and the Woodwell Climate Research Center, as well as McKinsey & Co.’s 2020 Climate Risk and Response report. Inspired by these collaborations, he founded Probable Futures in 2020 to help democratize climate science and build bridges between climate science and many other disciplines.
In addition to his role at Probable Futures, Spencer serves as a senior fellow at Woodwell Climate and spends time as a pro bono consultant and public speaker across industries and communities. In 2023, Spencer joined Harvard Business School as an Executive Fellow, where he works in collaboration with Michael Toffel and Peter Tufano on research and education around climate risk.
Spencer lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife, Lisa, and enjoys cooking, listening to and telling stories, and exploring the natural world.
Esteban Gast - Comedian-in-Residence, Generation180
Esteban Gast is a former educator turned entertainer and comedian. He is Colombian, was raised in Puerto Rico and Illinois, and lives in LA. He is co-creator and co-host of Identity at Play, a Spotify Original podcast. He was the host of Hyundai Highways, a travel series using only an electric car. He was the star of Jungletown, a TV show airing on VICELAND. He has been profiled in WBEZ, Huffington Post, and VoyageLA.
Pratima Mani - Comedian and Writer