Sunday, July 17, 2016

Indian climate activist Amitav Ghosh ponders the 'unthinkable' in new grand essay on climate change

 

From the book, page 9 - 1471
 
UPDATE: IPS book review here:
http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/07/%E2%80%8Bindian-climate-activist-ponders-the-unthinkable/

Indian climate activist ponders the 'unthinkable'



by Dan Bloom [THUMBS UP 5 STAR REVIEW!!!!!]
 


UPDATE 1: A tweet summary of 'live-tweet' event #TGDLaunch in India on July 19 w Amitav Ghosh and Sunita Narain
http://northwardho.blogspot.tw/2016/07/note-for-academics-keeping-track-of.html


UPDATE 2: There *are* 'cli-fi' novels in India!  Details of 2015 novel from Indian writer Nilesh Chople titled "Together With You Forever": -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5ketRzlCuQ


 UPDATE 3 -- http://northwardho.blogspot.tw/2016/07/amitav-ghoshs-new-derangement-book.html - A source in the U.S. book industry tells this blog that Amitav Ghosh's new THE GREAT DERANGEMENT book does mention 'cli-fi.' Briefly, In passing. But his target was specifically the realism of mainstream literary fiction, not the rise of the cli-fi genre.

 UPDATE 4: from INDIA TODAY review of THE GREAT DERANGEMENT: "The rest are in the genre of science fiction, with a berth reserved for
'cli-fi,' or climate fiction...
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/amitav-ghosh-the-great-derangement-climate-change/1/720002.html

UPDATE 5:  The 'cli-fi' name came to me as I was thinking of ways to raise
awareness of novels and movies about climate change issues. I toyed
with using such terms as ''climafic'' or ''climfic'' or ''clific,''
for the longer term of "climate fiction." But I wanted an even shorter
term that could fit easily  into newspaper and magazine headlines. So
using the rhyming sounds of ''sci-fi,'' I decided to go with the
short, simple to say and simple to write "cli-fi". And the short term
caught on worldwide, beginning on April 20, 2013 when NPR radio did a
five-minute radio segment about ''cli-fi.'' That was the beginning of
its global outreach and popularity among academics, literary critics,
journalists and headline writers.


***"Curious, empathetic, compassionate: What we should be as human beings."***

SEE THE ''Cli-Fi ''REPORT:
50+ academic and media links:
http://cli-fi.net

 


For acclaimed Indian novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh, the future of humankind as global warming impact events spread worldwide looks grim. So grim that the 60-year-old literary pamphleteer has titled his new book of three climate-related essays "The Great Derangement."

The way we humans are dealing with, or not dealing with, climate change appears to be deranged. What will future generations in say, 2116 or 2216,  think of those of us in 2016?
Ghosh, a cosmopolitan, globe-trotting public intellectual, is worried. So worried that his hair has turned brilliantly white,
while his eyes burn with a probing yet affable intensity.

There's a reason his book has been subtitled "Climate Change and the Unthinkable," and it's not a pretty picture.
Looking at how novelists and literary circles, geopolitics and academics are reacting to climate change now in the early part of the 21st century, Ghosh has written a brilliant and fearless "wake up call" on global warming that he hopes will reach world leaders and  politicians. 






​Himself ​
a​

​n​

​acclaimed ​
novelist, Ghosh looks at how poets and storytellers are putting climate themes into their published works, from Margaret Atwood to Kim Stanley Robinson. He even gives a shout out to the rising new genre of "cli-fi" (short for climate fiction) while also looking at Indian litera
​ry​
and cinema greats like

Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray. 




In the realm of geopolitics, Ghosh looks at last year's global  climate "agreement" signed in Paris and calls foul. Read the fine print, he says. Connect the dots,


he says.
 Are we deranged, he asks?



 


There's much to contemplate in this "made in India"
​alarm-bell ​
warning
​flare ​
to the world, but it's written in
​an ​
easy-to-digest style

​.
East or West
​,​
we are all in this together now.




For a

​longtime ​
Indian climate activist living in New Zealand, Ghosh's distinctive approach of speaking truth to power packs a punch.
"Coming from a leading Indian author who is widely-read in the West, this book will likely have a major impact in shining  a  spotlight on global warming issues before a much wider audience," he

​told this blog in a recent email
. "In addition, a book such as this has the potential to bring together the stories of global warming and climate change from a combination of  Indian, South Asian and Western perspectives. So it's invaluable in bridging the gap among nations and why I think the essays need a global audience beyond the India edition."
Originally commissioned by the University of Chicago Press, the essays will be published in a U.S. edition in September with a slightly different cover for Western readers. Until then, the book is in India's hands this summer and is getting plaudits left and right in dozens of the country's newspapers and magazines.




Ghosh, in his 60s with a handsome shock of white hair gracing a usually smiling face, is married to the American writer Deborah Baker. The couple have two grown children and live part of the year in New York and part of the year in India.



With "The Great Derangement," Ghosh has shown himself to be an international climate activist of the literary kind, fearless in attacking both "the powers that be" in his own country and the "business as usual" mantra of the West.




How the book will be received in North America in the fall will be critical in breaking through the fog of climate denialism.


​​In India, where climate denialists don't actually exist,  Ghosh's book has been received with high praise. However, in America and Britain, where denialists are legion and have spit on the truth with unbridled, deranged venom for years, it might be a different story.​


Someone might even write a 'cli-fi' novel one day about this "great derangement." It could be explosive.​

================================

COMMENT FROM ONE READER IN USA: ''It's sad that Dr Ghosh wants to be proscriptive about what kinds of fiction should be deployed for talking about this subject. ''

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

THE RIGHTWING ARMY OF CLIMATE DENIALISTS ATTACKS ON DR GHOSH BEGAN TODAY ON TWITTER, July 18 --

Sachi Mohanty (@sachi_bbsr) tweeted at 10:03 PM on Mon, Jul 18, 2016:
''Writer dude thinks the Pope is going to help us with climate change. Good luck with that!'' https://t.co/Y3HZYzsMqz
(https://twitter.com/sachi_bbsr/status/755040373953540096?s=03)

DANIELBLOOM said...

THE RIGHTWING ARMY OF CLIMATE DENIALISTS ATTACKS ON DR GHOSH BEGAN TODAY ON TWITTER, July 18

mick yellow (@my66) tweeted at 10:05 PM on Mon, Jul 18, 2016:

''There isn't a single present weather-event that hasn't occurred over Earth's 4.5B-yrs;but there ARE Climate Crappers''

https://t.co/SvGkMYn4Hj
(https://twitter.com/my66/status/755040894135341056?s=03)

DANIELBLOOM said...

THE RIGHTWING , this time a letter to this blog from USA book critic:

"Hi Sir,
Exactly what are the climate denialists accused of denying? Certainly not climate change, since that would be tantamount to denying climate, which is characterized by a non-linear dynamic, otherwise known as a chaotic system, the nature of which is continuous change. It is also worth noting that whatever direction the climate is said to be taking at any given time — I am old enough to remember ''Newsweek'''s cooling world article, and yes it has been walked back since then — the solution to the problem is always the same: more power to government, that wondrous instrument of human advancement. I am unaware of Ghosh's scientific bona fides, but Henrik Svensmark, who co-authored The Chilling Stars, does actually run the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center. The earth is also actually a planet subject to forces governing the solar system. While it is obvious that human activity — indeed the activity of all organisms (ever see a major gypsy moth infestation?) — affect the environment, that such is the decisive factor driving climate. is best described as cosmic parochialism. I suspect Ghosh is just another bien-pensant."

DANIELBLOOM said...

THE RIGHTWING ARMY OF CLIMATE DENIALIST ATTACS ON DR GHOSH BEGAN TODAY ON TWITTER, July 18 and writes to this blog about why there are NO CLIMATE DENIALISTS IN INDIA and other ASIAN NATIONS:

''Dear Sir,
There are no climate denialists in India because well, maybe because India and Taiwan and Japan are countries where people tend to believe in authority — the worst argument for anything — rather than thinking matters through for themselves on the basis of evidence. Sheeple, in other words. But how can one take anyone seriously who uses the term "denialist" for this issue? I have my doubts about the science in this matter and I am scientifically literate enough for those doubts to be taken seriously. To compare me to someone who denies that the Holocaust took place is not only insulting, it is intellectually dishonest, a cheap rhetorical ploy by those who really don't have the facts to back up their policy proposals (because no one does), which is what we're really talking about. These are, after all, people who deplore large carbon footprints while flying all around the world in private jets, who refer to carbon dioxide as a pollutant, ignoring its necessity for a little thing called photosynthesis.''

DANIELBLOOM said...

Joanna Lobo (@djoiiii) tweeted at 10:55 PM on Wed, Jul 20, 2016:
''An Indian man in the audience in Delhi at the Delhi Centre who's written a cli-fi book (love story) on the Bombay floods. 'Sir I want to give you the book, complimentary.' #amitavghosh
(https://twitter.com/djoiiii/status/755778214434332672?s=03)

DANIELBLOOM said...

discovered that there *are* cli-fi novels in India! A debut novelist named Nilesh Chogle wrote a cli-fi novel in 2015 and avail now at amazon.in for 199 Rs, titled ''Together with You Forever'' set during the 2005 Mumbai floods. This contradicts essayist Amitav Ghosh who maintains in his new book "The Great Derangement" out now in India and due to be released in USA in September that arists and novelists have *not* responded to the climate emergency we are in, either in the West or in the East, and Dr Ghosh, despite his expertise on all things literary, is so wrong. See Nilesh Chogle book details via Google:

Anonymous said...

"The rest are in the genre of sci-fi, with a berth reserved for
'cli-fi,' or climate fiction
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/amitav-ghosh-the-great-derangement-climate-change/1/720002.html
#CliFi

Anonymous said...

​Research ‏@GenreResearch 9m9 minutes ago

.@fairtrade_india @do_you_cli_fi_ @GhoshAmitav So: a genre makes a thing distinct, recognizable and THUS engaging. Genres are rhetorical.

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Genre Research ‏@GenreResearch 11m11 minutes ago

@fairtrade_india @do_you_cli_fi_ @GhoshAmitav Thus what I comment on is the question concerning genre: They are always "engaged".

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Genre Research ‏@GenreResearch 12m12 minutes ago



@fairtrade_india @do_you_cli_fi_ @GhoshAmitav Genres are never seperate, they are always engaged in and depending on surroundings.

DANIELBLOOM said...

USA edition pub date - September 22, 2016

Anonymous said...


Just came across this today. He says:

"Indeed, it could even be said that fiction that deals with climate change is almost by definition not of the kind that is taken seriously by serious literary journals; the mere mention of the subject is often enough to relegate a novel or a short story to the genre of science fiction. It is as though in the literary imagination climate change were somehow akin to extraterrestrials or interplanetary travel."

With that statement, what about Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Kim Stanley Robinson, and so on and so on, many award-winning authors who tackle issues of climate change? Maybe they do not call their novels "climate fiction"--for their novels deal with other issues too that are seen in the mainstream as literary or political or science fiction. So what? Is something wrong with science fiction? I summon Ursula K. Le Guin who would argue it is socially and environmentally relevant to our times, our culture, and our imagination.

I do agree that not one thing may be able to tackle climate change in the big picture. As has been posted here often with the idea of hyperobject, fiction that can give Big Inspiration is often fiction that must break down a huge idea to a something smaller that we can relate to.

Anonymous said...

It does seem that there are more authors writing about climate change subjects than imagined, but I agree with him in a way. First, novels are measured successfully by being great stories, no matter the subject. Second, most popular novelists even with a hint of climate change in their stories do not use the term climate fiction--they use literary or political or science fiction as descriptors for their own work. They do this because they are staying with familiar, known genres and know that the story is what will stay with their readers, first and foremost. It is not a new label to try to sway readers. If a political or scientific lesson follows, so be it, but that is not what will attract the reader at the get-go. Especially if the story is to convert or something, which may turn readers right off. I totally agree with you about nothing being wrong with science fiction--in that it can be literary if the author intends it.




Anonymous said...

It's sad Dr Ghosh wants to be proscriptive about what kinds of fiction should be deployed for talking about this subject.

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