Sunday, November 17, 2019

Cli-Fi Rising: When Scientific Charts and Stats Are not Enough to ''Emotionalize'' Climate Change

Cli-Fi Rising: When Scientific Charts and Stats Are not Enough to ''Emotionalize'' Climate Change

It's time to learn to dissect climate change through the lens of humanities, one that bridges together the scientific facts and storytelling.

You have gained a lot of insight into the intersection of literature and environmental issues that ultimately led you to conclude that using scientific methods to mitigate climate change is not enough.

Therefore: cli-fi is here!

Cli-fi gives readers a broader, more interdisciplinary look at environmental engagement and action, in order to introduce and encourage different paradigms of thinking when addressing environmental issues, such as through cl-fi novels and movies.

If you just read scientific papers, you will not learn how to think across space and time, connecting the dots between material facts and abstract values and ideas. Being able to do both is vital for dealing with the wicked problems of climate change. Thus: cli-fi.

Cli-fi stories let us think about time in a continuous framework, rather than in periods that are partitioned.

Cli-fi stories serve as time and place machines and provide a complex view of things we think are only happening now.

Such cli-fi novels and movies will allow us to view environmental degradation, climate change and natural disasters as things that have occurred in the past and could happen in the future.

Very few of us are professionally trained in data literacy. Among the broader public, even fewer are equipped to translate data into the realities of their everyday lives and project its implications into our common future. But cli-fi stories give a certain shape to scientific evidence, lending it depth of field and breadth of perspective, allowing people to position and imagine themselves vis-à-vis material changes in the world around them.

Right now, right here, we are looking at significant forces on the planet right now that we have so successfully managed to partition off into a terrifying yet distant future. Cli-fi stories bring them into the ongoing present, forcing us to collectively engage in future thinking.

So as you can see, singular cli-fi narratives function as pieces of a bigger puzzle. They shed light on climate change history, because we have to understand the past to fix the future.

We need a different kind of fiction, one that is not narcissistically-obsessed with human thinking and human feeling. Cli-fi novels andn movies offer an ideal bridge to climate change storytelling because its heroes are the things we dismiss as the background of realist fiction: landscapes, machines, infrastructures, ruins.

Start your engines, cli-fi writers of the world. The time to write is now!

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