Saturday, August 19, 2017

Meet Lex Leclerc, writer, artist, teacher

Lex Leclerc

Writer, Artist,

and teacher in Buffalo, New York

Take her class


''I work and work and work and listen and watch and work and work and work and send out my work and get rejected and work and work and work and work and listen and watch and sometimes win.
I have my MFA in fiction from New England College. I have worked as an adjunct professor at a community college, a private college and in an online adult learning program. Here I have taught creative writing/English/ESL courses.

I have a course on Skillshare about mixed media notecards and about making mistakes.
During undergrad, I went to school on an Arts Scholarship in creative writing. When I graduated, my college, Hobart and William Smith said I was the most promising fiction writer of my class.

I used to write a cycling blog called "Red Lantern Bicyclist" and a column for professional cyclist, Molly Hurford's site, "Saddle, Sore" called "Blood, Sweat and Tears." Now, I write a blog about learning French (2.7k followers). It's called "Le Poisson Nage." I am currently waiting for the legion of honor from France. Any day now. I just know it.

A few years ago, I won the Just Buffalo's Fiction Contest award. Before this, I was selected as a New York State Writing Fellow for The Western New York Writing Project.
This bragging is all fantastically interesting, but the real guts of it is I believe story has the power to change cultural narratives, to challenge our invisible rules and to coo us into a space where we can hear one another’s voices.''
  • Education
    • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
    • Canisius College
    • New England College

Joey Eschrich explains the power of ''cli-fi''

''Cli-fi can help us see how a rapidly changing planet affects people in a host of geographically specific ways. The challenges are very different in coastal regions than in landlocked cities. Changes in the planet’s temperature might create floods, fires, or food shortages, as we’ve all heard, but also rampant xenophobia and other surprising manifestations. Such stories highlight how the disruptions caused by climate change will likely exacerbate existing inequalities based on race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion, and more. In Everything Change, for elites, climate change might be an occasion for an unexpected political realignment, or the establishment of secret mountain oases where privileged people rebuild the world with the help of advanced science. For marginalized people, it often spells displacement, deprivation, unsafe food and water, and increased scrutiny from law enforcement and military forces. Cli-fi makes these nuances emotionally immediate.''


''Intellectually, sure, we know that a changing climate matters differently in different geographic locations. But the right story can help make those distinctions feel real and urgent. It broadens the scope of our personal experience of climate change beyond the vagaries of the weather.''

PART 2

Joey Eschrich writes that Cli-fi can ''help us see how a rapidly changing planet affects people in a host of geographically specific ways.''


He adds: ''The challenges are very different in coastal regions than in landlocked cities. Changes in the planet’s temperature might create floods, fires, or food shortages, as we’ve all heard, but also rampant xenophobia and other surprising manifestations. Such stories highlight how the disruptions caused by climate change will likely exacerbate existing inequalities based on race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion, and more. In Everything Change, for elites, climate change might be an occasion for an unexpected political realignment, or the establishment of secret mountain oases where privileged people rebuild the world with the help of advanced science. For marginalized people, it often spells displacement, deprivation, unsafe food and water, and increased scrutiny from law enforcement and military forces. Cli-fi makes these nuances emotionally immediate.


''Intellectually, sure, we know that a changing climate matters differently in different geographic locations. But the right story can help make those distinctions feel real and urgent. It broadens the scope of our personal experience of climate change beyond the vagaries of the weather.''

Joey said it well in 2016. And what he said, makes even more sense in 2017.

So yes, cli-fi can!

Cover reveal for Australian short story anthology titled "Ecopunk!" -- Among 18 other authors, DK Mokhas story 'The Wandering Library' in this optimistic anthology set for October release

Cover reveal for short story anthology by Australian writers titled "Ecopunk!" Among 19 authors, .@dk_mok has story 'The Wandering Library' in this optimistic anthology. ​ Jason Narung, too!

AND:

Ecopunk! - speculative tales of radical futures contains 19 optimistic tales, selected by two award-winning editors from Australia, showing how humanity can survive and flourish, despite the looming uncertainty from climate change. The incredible line-up includes some of Australia's best writers, including:

Adam Browne, “The Radiolarian Violin"
Matthew Chrulew, “Future Perfect”
Emilie Collyer, “From the Dark”
Jason Fischer, “Milk and Honey”
Tom Guerney, “The Mangrove Maker”
Claire McKenna, “Mr. Mycelium”
R. Jean Mathieu, “The City Sunk, the City Risen”
D.K. Mok, “The Wandering Library”
Jason Nahrung, “The Today Home”
Ian Nichols, “First Flight”
Shauna O'Meara, “Island Green”
Rivqa Rafael, “Trivalent”
Jane Rawson, “The Right Side of History”
Jane Routley, “The Scent of Betrayal"
Andrew Sullivan, “The Butterfly Whisperer”
Janeen Webb, “Monkey Business”
Corey J. White, “Happy Hunting Ground”
Tess Williams, “Broad Church”
Marian Womack, “Pink Footed”

We're really pleased to be able to reveal the cover of Australian anthologists and editors Liz Grzyb and Cat Sparks' forthcoing Ecopunk! anthology.

The artwork is by Peg Hewitt (pegsplaytime.blogspot.com.au).

Ecopunk! - speculative tales of radical futures contains 19 optimistic tales, selected by two award-winning editors, showing how humanity can survive and flourish, despite the looming uncertainty from climate change.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Highbrow "cli-fi" novel set for Hollywood release in September: ''SUBMERGENCE'' by J.G. Ledgard


As 2017 progresses toward the second half of the year, a new cli-fi movie by Hollywood director Wim Wenders (a native of Germany) is set to debut in September at a famous film festival in Spain. The movie is titled "Submergence" and it's based on a novel of the same name by Irish author J.M. Ledgard. Starring the big Scandinavian star of the moment Alicia Vikander.








The cli-fi novel was first published in the UK in 2011 and later in the USA in 2013, and it was positively reviewed in'' New York" magazine by literary critic Kathryn Schulz. She called the novel "highbrow cli-fi" and said it was the best book she had read in 2013, the year she reviewed the novel.






"With its passages on ocean overfishing, ocean acidification, and climate change, 'Submergence' is partly highbrow cli-fi, an emerging genre of ecological dystopia," she wrote.








Wenders will open the 65th annual San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain with a screening of ''Submergence.'' Wenders and Vikander will travel to Spain to present the film on September 22.
''Submergence'' also stars James McAvoy, with location shooting across Berlin, Madrid, Toledo and multiple locations in France and Djibouti, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The screenplay is by Erin Dignam.

McAvoy and Vikander play their roles as a hydraulic engineer, James More, and a bio-mathematician, Danielle Flinders, who fall in love in a rural hotel in France. After they depart for dangerous missions, it is revealed that More works for the British Secret Service and is taken hostage in Somalia. A cli-fi thriller, this movie packs a punch, according to those who have seen it, and it joins a list of modern cli-fi movies slowly flooding our awareness of the Anthropocene.

Canadian Indigenous history and climate change explored in Stratford's stage drama 'The Breathing Hole' in summer 2017


Canadian Indigenous history and climate change explored in Stratford's stage drama 'The Breathing Hole'

Actors Ujarneq Fleischer, left, and Johnny Issaluk rehearse a scene for the The Breathing Hole in Stratford, Ont. on Thursday, June 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon
STRATFORD, Ont. — Reneltta Arluk wanted to acknowledge the origins of the story told in her Statford Festival production “The Breathing Hole,” so the director took the project to the North.






Consultations and workshops were held with Qaggiavuut, a Nunavut-based performing arts society, to ensure the play was inclusive and reflective of the Inuit community.




“It was tough, to be honest, because it was reconciliation,” said Arluk. “(Colleen Murphy) has written this play with all of these Inuit people in it. And how do you navigate what is authenticity and what is not? And that’s what we went up there to do. … That land has to hear the stories that inspired it.
“When you put Indigenous people onstage, Indigenous people sit in the audience, too,” she added. “And if they feel like something isn’t ringing true it takes them out of the story.”
“The Breathing Hole” centres on the 500-year saga of a polar bear named Angu’juaq, which translates to “a big man” in Inuktitut. Audiences follow Angu’juaq from birth in an Inuit community in 1534 to an encounter in 1832 with English explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew.
The journey continues through to the 21st century, looking at the lives of a biologist and security guard working for an oil company, and a future devastated by global warming.
While Angu’juaq is a focal point, Arluk said both she and Murphy wanted to emphasize the toll drastic environmental change has on individuals.
“One of things that Colleen talks about is that people don’t connect the Arctic to people,” she said.
“It is Inuit that is feeling the impact of climate change because of the gasses, chemicals that go up, because of how pollutants travel to the North. But people will get behind the endangered species of a polar bear rather than really look at how a whole society or a whole community are affected by climate change.”
Inuk actor Johnny Issaluk valued the opportunity to give voice to his community in his theatrical debut.
“It’s pretty much how we lived and where we came from; the storyline of my father, where he came from,” said the Iqaluit-based Issaluk, originally from Chesterfield Inlet on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay.
“Seeing it first-hand and then reading the story — it’s so accurate. … It’s important to showcase where we come from. Not only that, but what’s going on up there in any form or another.”
Miali Buscemi said the opportunities for Indigenous artists to tell their own stories are improving.
“To play a character or to play a person that is Inuk, it is important to me,” said Buscemi, who grew up in Kimmirut on the southernmost tip of Baffin Island.
“It’s only now in recent years that Indigenous actors are playing their own roles because for many years they didn’t, even in film and TV, which is largely what I’ve done from 2007,” she added. “Even there, they always hired other people that looked Indigenous or could pass for Indigenous.”
Arluk said she hopes “The Breathing Hole” will help pave the path for the Indigenous actors within the production to take on new projects.
“That’s something I feel like we can do as part of this Canada 150 reconciliation,” said Arluk. “On another level, I really think that it’s important that our stories get told — and this is just a part of that process.
“Another thing is we have to actually acknowledge our engagement into the environment,” she added. “When you’re having these discussions about climate change, it’s not going to go back — it’s only going to go forward. …
“We have to accept climate change like we have to accept death — and we’re still deniers.”
“The Breathing Hole” will be onstage at Stratford’s Studio Theatre until Sept. 22.

Follow @lauren–larose on Twitter

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A powerful *cli-fi* novel by J.M. Ledgard published in 2011 and in 2013, which was positively reviewed in the New York Mag by Kathryn Schulz is now a cli-fi movie starring big star Alicia Vikander, directed by master director from Germany Wim Wenders.


UPDATE:
BOOK REVIEW OF NOVEL BELOW scroll down!


A powerful *cli-fi* novel by J.M. Ledgard published in 2011 and in 2013, which was positively reviewed  in the New York Mag by Kathryn Schulz is now a cli-fi movie starring big star Alicia Vikander, directed by master director from Germany Wim Wenders.




"With its passages on overfishing, acidification, and climate change, Submergence is partly highbrow cli-fi, that emerging genre of ecological dystopia." -- KS, NY MAG, in 2013





So 4-6 years later, Wenders will open the 65th San Sebastian Film Festival in SPAIN with ''Submergence. ''Wenders and Vikander will travel to Spain to present the film on Sept. 22.
Submergence also stars James McAvoy. Shot across Berlin, Madrid, Toledo and multiple locations in France and Djibouti, the screenplay is by Erin Dignam, and based on the cli-fi novel by J.M. Ledgard.










McAvoy and Vikander play a hydraulic engineer, James More, and a bio-mathematician, Danielle Flinders, who fall in love in a remote hotel in Normandy. After they depart for dangerous missions, it is revealed that More works for the British Secret Service and is taken hostage in Somalia.












BOOK REVIEW from 2013 -- http://www.vulture.com/…/schulz-on-jm-ledgards-submergence.…














LINK: - http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/…/wim-wenders-submergence-…






Submergence, Ledgard’s second novel, came out in England in 2011. But it didn’t appear here until March, when it was published, to inexplicably minimal fanfare, by the small but excellent Coffee House Press. This is why writers have day jobs, and, since 1995, Ledgard has worked for The Economist, where he currently covers war and politics as the East Africa correspondent.


==============


Schulz on J.M. Ledgard’s Submergence: The Best Novel I've Read This Year (2013)

By
“I can call spirits from the vasty deep,” the Welsh rebel Owen Glendower boasts in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. “Why, so can I, or so can any man,” replies his co-conspirator, Sir Henry Percy, better known as Hotspur. “But will they come when you do call for them?”
In his new book, Submergence, the Scottish writer J. M. Ledgard calls spirits from the vasty deep — the Hadal zone, to be precise, 20,000 feet beneath the surface of the ocean. He calls them from the wadis and salt flats of the Somali desert; from the firelit intimacy of a hotel in winter on the coast of France; and from that deepest, vastiest place of all, the solitary confinement of consciousness. And they do come, all of them — forming, together, the best novel I’ve read so far this year.
The story itself is straightforward. On holiday in France, a man and a woman meet and fall in love. She is Danielle (Danny) Flinders, a biomathematician searching for microbial life in the least hospitable parts of the ocean. He is James More, a British spy posing as a water engineer. Sometime after their seaside idyll — which we only learn about in flashbacks — he is taken hostage by members of Al Qaeda in Somalia. As the book unfolds, Danny, unaware of James’s plight, sets off to explore the hydrothermal vents beneath the North Atlantic. James, meanwhile, is beaten, interrogated, and dragged by his captors from place to place: an improvised prison in Kismayo, a makeshift camp in the Somali badlands, a skiff on the Indian Ocean laden with weapons and the carcasses of sharks, a mangrove swamp where the jihadists hide out from American forces.
As a plot unmoored from its prose, this could be a film treatment for the next Bond movie, or jacket copy for John le Carré. But Ledgard is up to something very different here. The real subject of his book is scale: the vastness of time and space, and the impossibility of squaring either one with our own experience. James works on the human scale: “He was concerned with alleys, beliefs, incendiary devices.” Danny works on the geologic one, “in a part of the Hadal deep whose unlit clock ticked at an incalculably slower speed.” You could put all of Great Britain above her head, Ledgard observes, and its highest peak would not break the water’s surface.
That’s an arresting image, but it is also, figuratively, the problem: What is over our heads is over our heads. As a species, we are terrible at grasping the trans-human scale, a failing that has dire practical consequences. (With its passages on overfishing, acidification, and climate change, Submergence is partly highbrow cli-fi, that emerging genre of ecological dystopia.) But it also provokes an existential paradox. We know that, in the scheme of things, we are insignificant, ephemeral, fated to die. Yet we go on brimming with our own centrality, unable to shake the sense of mattering. Like the real scale of the world, the real scale of the self eludes us. Ledgard, channeling James, puts it concisely: “There were many things he had not properly imagined. Death was one, the ocean was another.”                                
Submergence, Ledgard’s second novel, came out in England in 2011. But it didn’t appear here until March, when it was published, to inexplicably minimal fanfare, by the small but excellent Coffee House Press. This is why writers have day jobs, and, since 1995, Ledgard has worked for The Economist, where he currently covers war and politics as the East Africa correspondent.
That background serves him exceptionally well. For starters, he is wonderful with facts, which drift through the dark waters of this book like epistemological luminescence. We learn that the vertical migration of certain marine creatures is equivalent to birds flying from their nests into outer space. We learn about a species of squid whose two mismatched eyes require it to swim at a 45-degree angle to see out of both. We learn about Sumerian legends, Somali ecology, Finnish painters, the iconography of angels.
And, of course, we learn about the terrorist network in Africa and the Middle East. Ledgard supplies credible details: a Muslim doctor who believes UNICEF is a “cover for the Crusaders,” a suicide bomber whose cell phone shows Ryan Giggs scoring a goal for Manchester United, young recruits “walking for days in jeans and sandals, shouldering their guns like skis.” But Ledgard also has a conscientious reporter’s respect for complexity. James is a sympathetic protagonist but not a hero, and he knows where he stands: neither wholly aligned with nor wholly innocent of England’s history in Africa.
Likewise, the kidnappers do terrible things, but Ledgard neither dehumanizes nor excuses them. At one point, a 14-year-old girl, the victim of a gang rape, is stoned to death in a town square. The well-handled horror of the scene inheres not just in the violence but in its ritualism, which makes the murder almost uneventful. The crowd gathers, the men stack their stones and throw and mostly miss and move in closer, the whole thing passes in an afternoon as might a soccer match or the shadow on a sundial; about suffering they were never wrong, the old masters.
It’s easy to see why Philip Gourevitch, the journalist best known for his work on the Rwandan genocide, has praised this book. I heard echoes of him here, especially in Ledgard’s ability to look steadily yet without voyeurism at violence. Spy novel or not, I heard some Le Carré as well; dread accumulates in Submergence like numbers ticking upward on the depth gauge of a sinking sub. I also heard Anne Carson — her way of drawing humans to scale against time; her precise, world-consuming keening. (“One characteristic of sea creatures is their constant movement,” Ledgard writes. “Not grief, not anything can stop them.”) Above all, I heard W. G. Sebald: his meditative quality, the dreamscape structure of his books, his habit of playing the most traumatic passages in history with the damper pedal down. T. S. Eliot famously claimed that great books retroactively influence their predecessors. After I read Submergence, Sebald’s consummately perambulatory work suddenly struck me as having had something liquescent and underwater about it all along.
But then, after reading this book, everything struck me as somewhat liquescent. Like water, text is a medium, but no other novel this year has left me so immersed. I started Submergence one afternoon, cut short a social event that evening to keep reading, stepped off a train at midnight with twenty pages left, and stood under a light on the platform to finish them.
In those pages, as Danny descends toward the ocean floor, one of her colleagues cuts the lights in their submersible. Out of the darkness, two worlds surge forth — one tiny and fragile, the other immense and ancient: “Everything that belonged to them disappeared, except the light on the switches and on the emergency lever. The water was alive with bioluminescent fish.” It’s a tense scene turned suddenly transcendent.
That, writ large, is the magic trick of this strange, intelligent, gorgeously written book. Ledgard shows us the emergency lighting of our internal universe, and the alien vastness of the outer one. He does not attempt to reconcile them, or to console us about our fate. He doesn’t have to. The one way our minds register scale correctly is through the feeling of awe, and the one consolation of consciousness is our ability to share it. Submergence is a dark book, but in such an unusual sense: Ledgard turns out the lights, and everything, inside and out, begins to glow.
*This article originally appears in the July 8, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Cli-fi forum Down Under envisions TV dramas as ways to focus cameras on global warming issues"

LINK: http://www.bunburymail.com.au/story/4858318/cli-fi-forum-sees-tv-drama-as-one-solution-to-global-warming/?cs=36



In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, reporter Garry Maddox -- under a headline that read "Cli-fi forum envisions TV dramas as ways to focus cameras on global warming issues" -- wrote that for one marine ecologist Down Under, Professor Adriana Verges, the problem of climate change is so vital and urgent that scientists and TV producers need new strategies to draw public attention to it.





One way is through cli-fi novels, such as James Bradley's "Clade" (which was recently re-released as an international paperback outside Australia where the original release did well inside the country).




Another way is through Hollywood movies, such as "The Day After Tomorrow" from 2004 and this year's latest cli-fi movie titled "Geostorm" from producer Dean Devlin.


For TV writers and producers in Australia, TV dramas appeal more and more as useful vehicles to reach the public with storytelling that has emotional heft and resonates with viewers.



Enter the idea of developing TV dramas that focus not on ''sci-fi'' ....but on "cli-fi."



And enter the Australian Film, Television and Radio School's recent forum that brought together a variety of scientists, TV producers, actors and scriptwriters looking to make a dent in a public apathy that seems to be sleep-walking to a ''Climapocalypse'' Down Under.




"For ages scientists have been using our graphs and our data and our facts to try to communicate our science, but it's been demonstrated that this doesn't really work very well," Professor Verges told the Herald. "It very rarely influences people's opinions and hardly ever motivates action."



See more about the Australian cli-fi TV forum, with photos, here.



There are lessons here for TV producers and networks in North America and Canada as well. In every country on Earth!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Australian climate change communicators -- scientists, novelists, screenwriters -- see cli-fi TV dramas and movies as ways of facing global warming issues with emotional heft

 






Australian climate change communicators -- scientists, novelists, screenwriters -- see cli-fi TV dramas and movies as ways of facing global warming issues with emotional heft


#CliCommm




Adriana Verges




  1. Garry Maddox已認證帳戶 @gmaddox 2 小時前
  1. Writers see cli-fi TV dramas and movies as ways of facing global warming issues



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    1. Great Idea! We all need to find ways of getting the message of Climate Change spread widely. The cli-fi revolution
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    1. Great 'thinking outside the box' from colleague Adriana Verges.
    1.  BRAVO! see cli-fi.net          

    1. Garry, great piece in smh on cli-fi forum ideas for TV dramas, movies.    
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    For marine ecologist Adriana Verges, the problem of climate change is so urgent that scientists need clever new strategies to draw more attention to it.
    And one of them is developing TV dramas that focus on not sci-fi but cli-fi - climate fiction.
    Dr Verges, who lectures at the University of NSW, came up with the idea of teaming scientists with leading screenwriters for a forum that is being held at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.
    After briefings from specialists in climate science, geo-engineering, psychology, human health, renewable energy, politics and history, screenwriters will crunch ideas for new shows in a forum that also involves ABC TV, production company Jungle, Screen Australia and Create NSW.
    "For ages scientists have been using our graphs and our data and our facts to try to communicate our science but it's been demonstrated that this doesn't really work very well," Dr Verges says. "It very rarely influences people's opinions and hardly ever motivates action.
    "Storytelling, in contrast, is emerging as a very clear way to communicate environmental issues."
    Screenwriters have regularly tackled environmental themes over the years.
    Hollywood had a hit with a cli-fi disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow. Then an even bigger hit with Avatar, which was set in a future when humans have to mine resources on other planets.
    Happy Feet won an Oscar with a story that dealt with environmental damage in Antarctica.
    After bringing awareness of global warming into the mainstream with the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore has followed up this month with An Inconvenient Sequel.
    But the clif-fi forum, "Climate Change And Big Ideas For The Small Screen", is aimed at reaching new audiences on television.
    Dr Verges says the critically acclaimed British anthology series Black Mirror is an example of what is possible.
    "Black Mirror takes technology to the nth degree and uses fiction to explore the unanticipated consequences of new technologies," she says.
    "It's really good quality drama but afterwards you're left thinking about your own relationship with technology, what's already happening and what might happen in the future.
    "I thought this was the perfect framework for communicating climate science so that we can imagine ourselves in the future and how our everyday lives will be impacted by changes that are already happening."
    To avoid leaving viewers feeling manipulated, Dr Verges says any new dramas or telemovies would have to be engaging and character-driven.
    Leading the screenwriting team will be John Collee, a former doctor who is best known for scripting Master and Commander, Happy Feet and Tanna.
    He believes there are more effective ways of spreading the message than by frightening viewers with alarming facts and figures.
    "People learn stuff through emotional engagement rather than just being presented with information," Collee says.
    "You can put facts like half the Great Barrier Reef is functionally dead in a newspaper and it doesn't really mean anything to anyone until you wrap it up in an emotional story about the actual livelihoods of fishermen who are affected by it. Then it starts to become real in the same way that Indian poverty is just a concept until you have a film like Slumdog Millionaire and suddenly you see what that poverty feels like."
    Collee says global warming does not have to be addressed obviously on screen.
    "You can embed environmental themes either very explicitly in a film like Avatar or they can be under the radar," he says. "Often messaging is more effective if it's slightly obscured."
    Collee, who is also a director of the climate action group 350.org Australia, already has some ideas.
    "There are whistleblower stories about the way fossil fuel companies have hidden information from the public," he says. "There are stories about scientists being targeted and discredited deliberately because of the financial value of what they know.
    "And there's the story of the internet targeting of scientists and truthtellers. It's increasingly common that climate scientists get not just hate mail but threats of violence."
    Somewhat cheekily, Collee believes there are real life figures who could be the basis for great dramas.
    "Ironically, people sit around in Hollywood try to work out ways of creating a story about an evil genius trying to destroy the planet," he says.
    "And now we have real identities like [Adani chairman] Gautam Adani and former Exxon chief [and US Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson, who The Guardian once characterised as 'the man who sold the world' for pursuing company profits while disregarding the impact on global climate."