Friday, January 18, 2019
Can cli-fi novels and movies save the planet from future devastating global warming impacts? [Les fictions climatiques vont-elles sauver la planète?]
A forum in France asks the question in French to a video panel of three cli-fi experts, while also posing the question in French on a podcast from France Culture. Both links are here:
PODCAST: [35 minutes]
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 10:55 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Climate-themed anti-Trump short story 'A Climate Carol' from 2019 will be read 100 years from now
An appreciation and a preview by Danny Bloom
''We must build arks,'' the Notre Dame University philosopher Roy Scranton urges, ''not just biological arks, to carry forward endangered genetic data, but also cultural arks, to carry forward endangered wisdom.''
One such cultural ark has already been built and it's a 14-page Christmas story from the pen of Richard Friedman in Cleveland, Ohio.
"I have great news about my new collection of short stories that's now available on Amazon's book ordering site and I wanted you to be one of the first to know," Friedman told me in a recent email. "The Kindle version is for sale now, and the paperback and audiobook should be available soon, too."
He was talking about his new book of 15 short stories titled "A Climate Carol and Other Cli-Fi Stories" that he wrote last year and just published online this month.
In the title story, "A Climate Carol," based very loosely on U.S. President Donald Trump's stubborn and selfish personality and his public denial of climate change, a narcissistic East Coast businessman and billionaire named Wilson Drummond receives a visit on Christmas Eve from three Charles Dickens-like ghosts in a contemporary spin of that timeless classic from the 1840s "A Christmas Carol."
Charles Dickens first published his now famous novella “A Christmas Carol” more than 170 years ago -- in 1843 — and that story has reverberated and resonated worldwide ever since. My prediction is that Friedman's short story will last another 170 years as well.
With the annual holiday season upon us all every November and December worldwide (Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas), a new kind of holiday story titled “A Climate Carol” has been published in 2019 and stands to remain in print for the next 170 years, if not longer. It's that good, and that important. In fact, I would say that this short story is the best and most important climate-themed short story to appear so far in the 21st century and is likely to remain popular over the next 170 Christmases for sure.
When I read it on Kindle a few days ago, I was blown away by both the author’s storytelling skills and the environmental eco-theme of the 14-page cli-fi story.
Let me tell you a few things about this modern Dickensian-style story and how it fits into the world we live in today, where runaway global warming threatens to push human civilization into a dark corner we may never get out from.
However, before I go on, please know that “A Climate Carol” ends on an optimistic note, where ecumenical goodness triumphs over ''Trumpian greed'' and all ends well.
In the story you will meet characters with names like Wilson Drummond (the proverbial '' Trumpian bad guy'' who later later turns over a new leaf and becomes a champion of human kindness), his mother Gurtie Drummond, his limousine driver Sammie Johnson, and his employee Jericho Reese. And the tiny star of the show, his grand-daughter Lily.
You will also meet several important ghost-like characters, one who calls himself the Ghost of Climate Past, another who says they are the Ghost of the Current Climate in the world, and a third ghost who speaks in a chilling voice reminiscent of the horror movie actor Vincent Price and declares that he is the Ghost of Climate Future.
In the end, we learn that the Scrooge-like Trump-like Drummond has mended his insensitive ways and become a better human being. He even later becomes President of the United States and turns out to represent all the is good about America.
And grand-daughter Lily lives to the ripe old age of 93 and looks back with fondness at the strange but redemptive life of her grandfather for the things he later did to protect the environment, save the planet and give back to his workers what he earlier had taken from them: their self-worth.
This little short story will have an annual impact during a special time of the calendar year, the long holiday season of family gatherings and children’s dreams.
Read the title story in Friedman's new book and cherish its happy ending. It won’t change your life, but it will re-charge it.
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 10:31 PM
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Famous Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman defends her daughter Greta Thunberg on FACEBOOK as criticism mounts on social media
Famous Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman defends her daughter Greta Thunberg as criticism mounts on social media in Sweden.... TRANSLATED FROM SWEDISH MEDIA
Greta Thunberg was hailed by the great power of people last year - but at the same time criticism has flared up in social media. Now her mom Malena Ernman came out and dto efend her daughter. - ''There are many who do not want Greta to be heard,'' she says to Aftonbladet newspaper.
16-year-old Greta Thunberg with her school strike and speeches for the environment has become a world celebrity. But attention has also led to some people asking questions. Now answers come from her mother, opera singer Malena Ernman, about the criticism in a post on Facebook.
In a post on Facebook Malena writes that she wants to clarify some of what is written about her daughter Greta Thunberg in Sweden and internationally. Some of the issues she raises is that the idea to the attention of school strike would come from parents and Greta Thunberg would be paid by any organization. to answer the questions, the Swedish opera singer said that is not the case, but that the idea for the school strike came from Bo Thoren Fossil Free Dalsland, which should have contacted Greta and other youth .
When the others did not want to do it, Greta did it herself in the school strike, which her parents discouraged . Malena also points out that Greta Thunberg acted on her own. She explains that Greta supports some non-profit organizations, and she recently has received some professional help to manage international press inquiries.
However she says that Greta has not been paid ONE PENNY and that no one planned or encouraged her to do what she does.
Thunberg has attracted attention because she sat outside the parliament with a sign that reads "School strike for the climate." In 2018, she became even a world celebrity, especially after she gave a speech at the UN climate conference in Katowice. The speech has become a viral clip in social media.
In her message on Facebook, Malena says: "all those who criticizes me or my daughter have one thing in common and that is that they do not understand the climate crisis full meaning.
Greta Thunberg, 16, was noticed both nationally and the international previous year when she decided themselves in order to truant from the school and to strike outside the parliament in order to the conscious climate problem.
But the reactions has not only been positive.
Among other things, the authenticity has in her commitments been questioned repeatedly of persons in social mediums.
Now, her mum goes, the oper asinger Malena Ernman, comes out and defends its daughter in a contribution on Facebook. “there is nobody that has planned or encouraged her to do it she do. And she has no links to something that not - to our awareness - is eliminating non-profit activity.
Our family has together written a book about the climate that acts Greta and her sister Beata and how they have aroused our commitment in among other things the climate problem”, she writes among other things. “do not want to that Greta will sound” certain has meant that Greta got compensation of environment organisations, something that be repudiated of Ernman.
She means that the book “scenes from the heart” is a clear evidence on the daughter's commitments. “when it was given out so told we clear that all possible profit comes to go to different organisations that work with climates, environment, animal correct and children with special needs. There, one can read among other things about how Gretas climate interest began and how it come to change the life for the whole our family.
It is in paperback to so near cost prices that it are possible.” The artist uses to avoid to refute criticism in social mediums but sees himself forced to do an exception. – now has it been built up so many awkward and entire erroneous statements during a so long time and then must one unfortunately go in and to refute it.
It should not be needed but entirely clear is the majority that do not want to that Greta will sound, she says to Nöjesbladet. “brave girls” persons has also questioned why the parents has let Greta truant from the school in order to strike outside the parliament. “we as parents discouraged her and said that we not could to support her since we must ensure that she goes to school”, writes Ernman in Facebook-inlägget.
Afterwards, she knows only pride over the commitment. – we are of course hugely proud over our daughters Beata and Greta. Judgement is two very brave girls. I desire that I been equally wise and strong as they when I where in their age. Or even now, says Malena Ernman. Although it has been a great part criticism so is the artist certain about that it will come some good from it entire. – the reactions has also been positive.
I do not believe I a seen individual contribution as acted about the climate with so many divisions in Sweden. So it is hugely optimistic.
I believe we are at the start of a big waking up.
Gretas own words according to Ernman has objections against the daughter been done due to the fact that she “only” is 16 years. “but it is easily loose! Nobody needs to listen on Greta. It is enough with that we listen on all that stunned amount research that she reviews to and is paid from. For nothing of it Greta says is new. It has been said of countless researchers time on time on time.
The problem is that almost nobody shilly-shallied listen. And that they that still actually do not want to that we listen continues to find all possible reasons to that it will remain so. ”, she writes in the contribution. Greta Thunberg takes the alone criticism with quiet and announces via the mum's social mediums: “all judgement that expresses criticism has a thing common and it is that they do not understand climate crisis even full meaning and do one not it so seems of course it I do as entirely unintelligible. It had I self-evidently counted with”, she writes.
Gretas strike for the climate – it I wanted to achieve with the strike where that few attention in the media and that it would be rewritten the climate problem. It has I succeeded with little anyway, she said to Nöjesbladet then. Since the noticed the school strike so has Greta among other things spoken at UN: s climate tip meeting in Polish Katowice and inspired environment campaigns the world over. Her commitments has also done that she recently ended up Times list over the world's most influential young people. – it is unintelligible, it does not go correctly to understand. It feels as that one photoshoppat in my name in these articles. But it feels also good that it is one climate people on that list, she has ordered Nöjesbladet.''
Greta Thunberg, 16, uppmärksammades både nationellt och internationellt förra året när hon bestämde sig för att skolka från skolan och strejka utanför riksdagen för att uppmärksamma klimatfrågan.
Men reaktionerna har inte enbart varit positiva. Bland annat har äktheten i hennes engagemang ifrågasatts upprepade gånger av personer i sociala medier.
Nu går hennes mamma, artisten Malena Ernman, ut och försvarar sin dotter i ett inlägg på Facebook.
”Det finns ingen som har planerat eller uppmuntrat henne att göra det hon gör. Och hon har inga kopplingar till någonting som inte - till vår kännedom - är uteslutande ideell verksamhet. Vår familj har tillsammans skrivit en bok om klimatet som handlar om Greta och hennes syster Beata och hur dom har väckt vårt engagemang i bland annat klimatfrågan”, skriver hon bland annat.
”Vill inte att Greta ska höras”
Vissa har menat att Greta fått ersättning av miljöorganisationer, något som tillbakavisas av Ernman. Hon menar att boken ”Scener ur hjärtat” är ett tydligt bevis på dotterns engagemang.
”När den gavs ut så berättade vi tydligt att all eventuell vinst kommer gå till olika organisationer som arbetar med klimat, miljö, djurrättsfrågor och barn med särskilda behov. Där kan man läsa bland annat om hur Gretas klimatintresse började och hur det kom att förändra livet för hela vår familj. Den finns i pocket till så nära självkostnadspris som det är möjligt.”
Artisten brukar undvika att bemöta kritik i sociala medier men ser sig tvungen att göra ett undantag.
– Nu har det byggts upp så många konstiga och helt felaktiga påståenden under en så lång tid och då måste man tyvärr gå in och bemöta det. Det borde inte behövas men helt klart är det många som inte vill att Greta ska höras, säger hon till Nöjesbladet.
Personer har också ifrågasatt varför föräldrarna har låtit Greta skolka från skolan för att strejka utanför riksdagen.
”Vi som föräldrar avrådde henne och sa att vi inte kunde stödja henne eftersom vi måste se till att hon går i skolan”, skriver Ernman i Facebook-inlägget.
I efterhand känner hon enbart stolthet över engagemanget.
– Vi är förstås enormt stolta över våra döttrar Beata och Greta. Dom är två väldigt modiga tjejer. Jag önskar att jag varit lika klok och stark som dom när jag var i deras ålder.
Eller ens nu, säger Malena Ernman.
Även om det har varit en hel del kritik så är artisten övertygad om att det kommer att komma något gott ur det hela.
– Reaktionerna har också varit positiva. Jag tror inte jag sett ett enskilt inlägg som handlat om klimatet med så många delningar i Sverige. Så det är väldigt hoppfullt. Jag tror vi är i början av ett stort uppvaknande.
Gretas egna ord
Enligt Ernman har invändningar mot dottern gjorts på grund av att hon ”bara” är 16 år.
”Men det är lätt löst! Ingen behöver lyssna på Greta. Det räcker med att vi lyssnar på all den överväldigade mängd forskning som hon refererar till och utgår ifrån. För ingenting av det Greta säger är nytt. Det har sagts av otaliga forskare gång på gång på gång. Problemet är att nästan ingen velat lyssna. Och att dom som fortfarande verkligen inte vill att vi lyssnar fortsätter att hitta på alla tänkbara skäl till att det ska förbli så.”, skriver hon i inlägget.
Greta Thunberg tar själv kritiken med ro och meddelar via mammans sociala medier:
”Alla dom som framför kritik har en sak gemensamt och det är att dom inte förstår klimatkrisens fulla innebörd och gör man inte det så framstår ju det jag gör som helt obegripligt. Det hade jag självklart räknat med”, skriver hon.
Gretas strejk för klimatet
– Det jag ville uppnå med strejken var att få uppmärksamhet i media och att det skulle skrivas om klimatfrågan. Det har jag lyckats med lite i alla fall, sa hon till Nöjesbladet då.
Sedan den uppmärksammade skolstrejken så har Greta bland annat talat vid FN:s klimattoppmöte i polska Katowice och inspirerat miljöaktioner världen över.
Hennes engagemang har även gjort att hon nyligen hamnade Times lista över världens mest inflytelserika ungdomar.
– Det är ofattbart, det går inte riktigt att förstå. Det känns som att man photoshoppat in mitt namn i de här artiklarna. Men det känns också bra att det är en klimatmänniska på den listan, har hon sagt till Nöjesbladet.
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 10:54 PM
The Hope Conundrum - A tale of two visionary views of our climate future, come what may
"I had to find even some slight glimmer, some ‘conditional’ optimism, after spending the morning in a climate change funk. I know it may be a long long shot, but I need to have hope in my life," wrote a friend of mine in West Virginia the other day.
We had been chatting online about how runaway global warming might play out in the distant future, say 30 generations from now, and Doug told me to get a better handle on all this, I should read a very good essay titled "Conditional Optimism" by a celebrated climate activist in North America. So I did.
He also steered me to another very good essay about humanity's future if we don't solve the climate change problem within the next 100 or 200 years. I read it with eyes wide open, just as I read Dr Vox's piece on "conditional optimisim," but I found Morgan Hope Phillip's piece from London about the A-word -- adaptation versus mitigation -- more to my liking.
You can read both essays and then decide for yourself which one is the best fit for your way of thinking.
"Whatever happens and however we get there, full decarbonisation must be the ultimate goal," Phillips, who has his mother's maiden name of Hope as his middle name, as do his siblings in their full names as well. "Whether this can be achieved in 30 years or 130 years, it will eventually lead us to a time (anything between 100 and 1,000 years in the future) when levels of CO2 in the atmosphere return to pre-industrial levels. At this point, with no need for negative emissions technologies or geoengineering, global cooling will commence. Water will turn back to ice at the north and south poles and restore some sort of equilibrium to planet Earth. The longer we rely on fossil fuels, the more we delay, then the deeper and more prolonged the suffering."
According to Phillips, we are dealing with a simple equation: 'Dangerous' climate change is coming but ‘catastrophic’ warming is still avoidable, and we have to do everything we can to prevent it.
Phillips says that things look, in the end, depressing.
''The trajectory we are on is to a world that is 3 degrees Centrigrade warmer than today and controlled by an all-powerful planetary sovereign. With this realization in mind we can find ourselves staring into the abyss. The emotional strain climate change is having among climate scientists and the general public is already getting global media coverage. The realization that the window for climate change mitigation has closed is spreading through the environmental sector and soon the wider population. It is a moment in time that we, as a movement, need to be prepared for," he writes.
Martin Luther King said ‘'I have a dream’', not ‘'I have a nightmare’', and it was no accident, says Phillips, adding: "We feel a need to give people hope and we believe it to be effective; but it is not easy to do and does not guarantee victory.''
To prolong the creditability of hopeful messages about behavior change and technology we may need to reframe them as ways to prevent '‘catastrophic’' rather than ‘'dangerous’' climate change. But we cannot assume that this will be enough. There is evidence to suggest that hope may not be the powerful force we assume it is.
In 2017, two academics examined the role of optimism in climate change communications and their findings can be summarized as one can see below, according to Phillips.
*Emotional distress is strongly correlated with mitigation motivation; hope is not.
*Optimistic messages about carbon emissions reduce climate change risk perceptions.
*Less risk leads to less distress, which in turn lowers mitigation motivation.
* Pessimistic climate change messages avoid complacency without eroding efficacy.
This, alas, is ''the hope conundrum.''
As well as finding something optimistic to say about climate change, we should perhaps be asking if hopeful messages are effective messages? If they aren’t, how else should we sign off when we talk to people about climate change? Especially if simply leaving people feeling reassured is problematic.
In a widely circulated oped essay, climate scientist Kate Marvel concluded that what we should be giving people is ''courage,'' not ''hope.''
"We are all fated to live lives shot through with sadness, and are not worth less for it. Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending," she wrote.
Given the proximity of a substantially warmer world in the coming decades and centuries, can we afford to stay distracted by the false promises of messengers of hope, born-to-fail annual U.N. climate conferernces and behavior change by the wealthy classes of the world?
Or, Morgan asks, should we instead focus more fervently on ''adaptation''?
After I read his very insightful and yes, hopeful, article, I wrote to him by email: "Morgan, I have a different vision and it takes courage for me to spell it out here. I will add more later. I have seen the future and this is my Jeremiad. We have 30 more generations to prepare, generation after generation, for the ultimate end of humankind on Earth in 500 to 1000 years. Perhaps not for 3000 or 5000 years. But The End -- or whatever one wants to call it -- is coming. We did it to ourselves. All the Kate Marvel and Katharine Hayhoe and Eric Holthaus hope in the world won't undo it. So I am suggesting to readers here, and to you Morgan as well, that we, or some of us, start thinking about how we can help future generations to learn to lie down and die en masse with grace and dignity as the final centuries,decades, years and days come. Our arists and poets and film directors need to write guides and books and poems and novels and movies for them.''
Your thoughts, dear reader?
The comments section below is open
for your replies, too,
pro and con.
The comments section below is open
for your replies, too,
pro and con.
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 9:17 PM
Monday, January 14, 2019
Of Speculative Fiction and Cli-Fi
BOOK SUMMARY: Can weather be controlled? If so, can it be weaponised? The U.S. set up ''haarp'' in 1993 for research on weather modification. Its covert experiments caused unexplained weather changes like cloudbursts, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, leading to massive destruction across the globe. Worldwide outrage finally forced the closure of haarp. But the deadly experiments continued to ravage the world. Around the same time, a secret device is planted by a foreign mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas. It has the potential to change weather patterns in India. A team of Army mountaineers is sent to retrieve the gadget. But, will they be able to retrieve it before the damage is done? Will the intelligence agencies across several countries succeed in nabbing the culprits who are trying to weaponise weather? ''Decoding the Feronia Files'' is a cli-fi thriller that takes the readers on an international roller-coaster ride to track the scientists carrying out experiments that could unleash a new weapon of mass-destruction — weather.
ABOUT THE CO-AUTHORS
About the AuthorsTanushree: After 8 years in the corporate sector, Tanushree quit the rat race to wield her pen and found her calling. A well-known travel writer and novelist, she is passionate about travelling and writing. She has written 6 successful novels, a dozen best-selling nonfiction titles and over 500 travel tales. Her last book was A Closetful of Skeletons.
Ajoy: Ajoy Podder is a retired Army officer who has travelled all over India and has been posted to offbeat places around the country. A qualified mountaineer, he has undertaken several mountaineering and bicycle, as well as, trekking expeditions in the mountains and valleys all across the Himalayas. Reading, writing and photography are his passions.
A blog post by Ajoy Podder
Sci-fi is an interesting genre that goes beyond the boundaries of the known and experiments with the unknown. Forrest Ackerman has been acknowledged to be the first person to use the term ‘Sci-fi’, way back in 1954. Acceptance came slowly and gradually, but soon the term gathered popularity. By 1970, the genre had a huge following of readers devoted to reading the works of prominent writers in the field. Soon, there was a plethora of books in the genre and many of these were adapted into movies.
Sci-fi had come to stay.
Who wrote the first ‘Science Fiction’ is debatable. As per Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, it was the eminent astronomer Johannes Kepler´s book, Somnium (The Dream), written in sometime between 1620 and 1630, in which he describes a trip to the moon and the inhabitants there.
According to Isaac Asimov, ‘Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology’.
Lester del Rey, the famous sci-fi writer, opines, ‘Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is,’ and that the reason for there not being a ‘full satisfactory definition’ is that ‘there are no easily delineated limits to science fiction’.
As the genre gained popularity, more writers entered the fray. With a large number of writers in the field, the genre evolved, taking their readers into unexplored zones. With the passing of time and the growing volume of work in sci-fi, dystopian and utopian fiction, which had earlier been loosely clubbed under speculative fiction, there was a need to differentiate them into separate entities.
And then a new genre was born. It was ''Climate Fiction'' or Cli-fi. It is a relatively new genre and deals mainly with the man-made climate changes and the likely fallouts. Broadly clubbed under speculative and science fiction, cli-fi has developed into a whole new genre in the recent years.
There have been quite a few books on the topic of climate change in the past. The Purchase of the North Pole, written by Jules Verne in 1889, dwells on the climate change due to tilting of the Earth’s axis as visualised by the author. The Wind from Nowhere, dealt with the effect of strong winds sweeping the world. The Drowned World took readers one into a world where the sea level rises due to the melting of snow.
The Burning World, which later came to be known as The Drought, dwells on the climate change due to pollution caused by rapid industrialisation. Carbon Dreams, authored by Susan M. Gaines, tells the story about the overwhelming issue of man- made climate changes.
Soon, there was realisation that these books were a class apart. Quite different from the usual speculative fiction, they dealt primarily with a specific stream of science—climate. With that realisation came the need for a separate head and ‘Climate Fiction’ or ‘Cli-fi’ came into being. By late 2000s, the term ‘cli-fi’ began to be used to describe novels and movies that dealt with climate change, particularly of the man-made kind.
To put it in nutshell, cli-fi is a literary way of thinking, reading and writing about climate change. The stories can take place in the past, present or the near future, and they can be utopian, dystopian, or what Margaret Atwood calls ‘ustopian’: a fusion of utopian and dystopian fiction. The range is far flung.
The genre becomes more relevant as the world wakes up to the dangers of global warming and depletion of earth’s resources.
Michael Crichton's State of Fear, depicts climate change as ‘a vast pseudo-scientific hoax’. The theme pivots around a plot devised by eco-terrorists to focus attention on global warming.
With science and technology progressing at a rapid pace, new fields of research and development are being explored. As man gains control over climate, fiction is bound to become reality.
Cli-fi is here to stay.
Ajoy Podder is the co-author of Decoding the Feronia Files, which is a cli-fi thriller.
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 11:41 PM