Monday, March 27, 2017

Meet Mark Mann, author of the cli fi YA novel THE STONE GATE

Meet Mark Mann, author of the cli fi YA novel THE STONE GATE

I've also written a YA novel about climate change so I've given this some thought ... and I think there is a key lesson here for climate activists.

Most people now 'believe' in climate change intellectually yet still essentially ignore it (it doesn't rank as an election issue for most, for instance).

The reason, I suspect, is most people can't actually imagine climate change.

What will this warmed world be like? So it's just abstract facts and figures with no emotional impact or engagement. The argument may be won (no credible scientist doubts warming) but we also need to engage people's imaginations, because humans fundamentally don't care about things they can't imagine.

That may be through fiction, or imaginative non-fiction, such as the brilliant ''Climate Wars'' by Gwynne Dyer, or in general finding more emotionally engaging ways to talk about warming and what it will mean.

( SEE ''The Stone Gate'', Mark Mann,


 I love cli-fi. It scares the pants off me because it buys into my deepest fears, but most cli-fi also has messages of hope. Given my deep seated anxieties around what climate change will mean for children's, and my children's children's futures, that message of hope is one I need to hear. Particularly given I'm blessed with a Prime Minister who believes climate change is "utter crap" (that's a real quote, by the way), and is steadily undoing all progress made by the previous government. Anyway, enough of my politics.

This book has a wonderful concept. Two kids come across a portal that takes them into three alternate realities. The first being a reality where indigenous Australians are living traditional lifestyles, and maintain their deep connection to the land. In the second, our main characters are transported to a dystopian, but likely realistic, vision of what our future will be should immediate action on climate change not be taken. The third and final alternate reality is a utopian vision of what society could be like if immediate action is taken to address climate change. The author is realistic in this vision; life as we know it will have to change. But for the things we lose, he envisages a society that - for me anyway - is very appealing. There is less waste, less plastic fantastic, more connection, more thoughtfulness. Woven through each of these are threads of Aboriginal Dreamtime.

This is a book aimed at a younger YA audience. My kiddiwinks are years away from being old enough to read it. I hope by the time they do read it, the messages it contains are no longer needed because we are on the road as a nation, as a planet, to living more sustainably.

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