The future climate is just one component of a larger, complex system including people and their practices as well as the physical and bio-geochemical aspects of the Earth. This chapter places our future climate in this ‘bigger picture’ that has many names including Gaia and Earth system science. We recognize that climate has been used frequently as a way of illustrating emergent Earth system behaviour and so we explore how future climates are integral to this whole-of-Earth system. Recognizing that future climate and Earth system challenges have to be communicated clearly and effectively to the public (who demand or refuse policy direction changes), we choose to illuminate aspects of our narrative by metaphor and format some diagrams as cartoons. Such readily accessible modes of sharing are in keeping with the clear communications goal of Stephen Schneider, to whom this book is dedicated, and also the aim of James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis around which this chapter is organized.