The effects of climate change and species extinction is already being felt around the world. The number and severity of radical environmental changes will increase over the next several decades, regardless of the measures we take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address environmental damage. James Lovelock, called “the great scientific visionary of our age,” is the originator of the Gaia Theory —the self-regulating earth system. We will be using Lovelock’s book A Rough Ride to the Future (The Overlook Press, or Penguin, 2015) in which he states that the human species is “crucially important” now as we prepare for and adapt to the inevitable changes that are coming. He describes the concept of “accelerated evolution” over the last 300 years that humankind has brought about, and his belief that humanity has the capacity to become the intelligent part of Gaia. He offers hope that life on earth can be preserved in some form and assigns responsibility for ensuring this to humans, the first species ever to harvest massive amounts of information and use it to transform planet earth. This is an online study group, which has obvious appeal during the winter term in Chicago and also provides advantages that may be less obvious, such as: you can participate without adding to your carbon footprint, you can be as informal as you wish during class as long as you are presentable enough for your computer’s camera, and you can drink your own coffee the way you like it during class. Please join us to discuss humanity’s recent role in the accelerating changes on Earth and the challenges we face moving forward. Note: this is a virtual study group conducted online using Zoom software. It is limited to 12 participants. Basic Zoom training is recommended for those who have not taken an OLLI study group using Zoom, and this will be conducted online before the study group starts. All participants should be comfortable using the audio and video capabilities of their personal computers before signing up for this group.