Monday, February 22, 2016

University of Florida hosted a well-attended international ''cli-fi'' communcaitions seminar in February 2016

UF hosted climate change communications and action seminar
  • by Nate Phillips, Alligator Contributing Student Reporter
American novelist Tobias Buckell discussed how he foresees a new ocean, made from the melted North Pole, to an audience of about 70 people on February 18 at a UF seminar organized by Professor Terry Harpold.
Buckell spoke at UF’s ''Imagining Climate Change'' seminar, which was held Wednesday and Thursday. The symposium used ecocriticism and academic writing and climate fiction novels to discuss man-made global warming. The event concluded in the Smathers Library on Thursday night.
Eight guest speakers, from the USA and two from France,  presented at the symposium; each talked about his or her perspective on literature, science and the future of climate-related issues.
Tobias Buckell said climate-themed novels are important because they engage an audience that would not typically read academic texts. Some find scientific studies too dry, he said, and novels can help educate people through storytelling.

“Climate change is one of the biggest problems we’re facing,” Buckell said. “And novels help us grapple with things that are larger than ourselves.”

Buckell said many try to label his novel “Arctic Rising” as a mere dystopian novel. But he said the data behind the book shows the plot’s setting is realistic.

“The novel is about the future, and that future is happening right now,” Buckell said.

Madeline Gangnes, the logistics coordinator of Imagining Climate Change, said hearing from well known writers like Buckell, Jeff Vandermeer, Yann Quero and Christian Chelebourg could help global warming become relatable. She hopes people learn about climate change.
“It’s an issue that affects everybody,” Gangnes said. “If we can make it accessible, it will help us mitigate the inevitable.”

Carson Bell, a UF sustainability studies junior, attended the event. She said the issue of climate change is very important to her.

“If no one else is going to take care of the world, I want to dedicate my life to it,” Bell said.

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