An American climate activist's Quixotic crusade for the 'cli-fi' genre
by staff writer
Dan Bloom calls himself ''an accidental climate activist'' and for good reason. Nothing in his earlier life prepared him for what he would be doing in his 60s but with a lifelong interest in literature and movies, the Tufts 1971 communications major is now promoting a new literary genre he has dubbed "cli-fi."
Since 2006, when he says he had a major wake-up call about the realities and possible repercussions of man-made global warming, he has been emailing, tweeting and facebooking just about every journalist and media editor he can reach online to ask them if they will report news of the new literary genre.
"I came up with a short, eye-catching five-letter term -- 'cli-fi,' short for "climate fiction" -- for a genre that I envisioned as serving as a platform for novelists and screenwriters in the future. After a major NPR radio broacast in 2013 boosted the cli-fi term in a viral way via social media, I decided to spend the rest of my life promoting, discussing and tweeting about cli fi, on my own dime, on my own time."
A Boston native who is 67, Bloom says he chose the cli-fi term because it contained echoes of the sci-fi term, although the two genres are very different.
"I'm basically an informal PR operative who spent my life in the newspaper business as a reporter and editor," he says. "I wrote headlines and designed pages, and in the process I gained an understanding of the power of short concept words to catch readers' attention."
Bloom says that it was as an independent climate acitivist that he decided to focus on the new literary genre as a means of trying to prod newspaper editors and headline writers into pushing the envelope.
Despite the large divide between climate activisits on one hand, and climate denialists on the other, Bloom says he's an optimist and feels that cli-fi will catch on and become as well known in the future as the sci-fi term is today.
"The cli-fi term landed in my lap by complete chance in 2008 when I was doodling some notes for a Hollywood blog post I was working on, and now I plan to carry on.
"Cli-fi is here to stay and it has a shelf life of at least 100 years more," Bloom says. "There is work to be done. There are books for novelists to write and movies for Hollywood to produce. I'm looking forward to seeing how cli-fi bears fruit in the future and serves as a wake up call about climate change as the 21st century marches on decade by decade. I'll be dead, of course, but I feel I have left a mark that will live on for another 100 years at least. There's a whole movement now, worldwide, and others will carry on."
"I just hope we can stop global warming before it stops us," Bloom says.