Monday, January 2, 2017

''Adopting A Cli-Fi Way Of Thinking About The Future'' an oped by Vomisa Caasi


The Weatherbeaten ''Madonna of Global Warming''

Adopting A Cli-Fi Way Of Thinking About The Future

When thinking about resolutions this year, it's worth going beyond the self — and the immediate — to consider how collective decisions we make now will play out in the long term, says Tania Lombrozo.
The 7th day of April each year is ''National Cli-Fi Day,'' according to Chase's Calender of Events.
So as 2017 gets underway, and with Kim Stanley Robinson's new cli-fi novel set for a March 14th release and titled ''NEW YORK 2140'' and set in the near future of 2140 in a Manhattan half submerged under rising sea levels, this year -- dubbed by some pundits as YEAR 1 A.D. "ANNO DONALDO" -- will be a good time to reflect on the future — a thought experiment very familiar to both writers and readers of cli-fi.

But where New Year's resolutions typically extend over weeks or months, the imagined futures of cli-fi novels and movies unfold years or centuries from the present. Forget interstellar travel and space colonization, as KSR himself has said in interviews. We need to focus on Earth, this Earth, and forget about sci-fi space stories. KSR said that.

So what do the possible near futures of 2067, or 2140, or 3017, mean for the decisions we ought to make today?

Even the great Isaac Asimov said in a 1988 YouTube video that climate change is real and global warming is coming and we need to focus on this.

Adopting a longer view helps clarify which problems merit special attention, such as global warming impact events in the coming centuries. 

By looking a century and more into the future can change that focus from the self to future generations, 30 generations done the road even. For me, that highlights climate change as a very deadly problem of today, and climate science and higher education as crucial long-term investments.

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Tania Lombrozo

Blogger, 13.7: Cosmos & Culture

Tania Lombrozo is a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. She is an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an affiliate of the Department of Philosophy and a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Lombrozo directs the Concepts and Cognition Lab, where she and her students study aspects of human cognition at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, including the drive to explain and its relationship to understanding, various aspects of causal and moral reasoning and all kinds of learning.

Lombrozo is the recipient of numerous awards, including an NSF CAREER award, a McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition and a Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformational Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science. She received bachelors degrees in Philosophy and Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, followed by a PhD in Psychology from Harvard University. Lombrozo also blogs for Psychology Today.

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