BIO: I am an award-winning journalist-turned-consultant and writing instructor. As Content Director at thought leadership consulting firm Kite Global Advisors, I help businesses communicate research-driven insights on pressing global issues at the intersection of corporate responsibility and public policy. My research for clients encompasses areas like risk management and stakeholder trust. My own writings on income inequality, climate change, social and environmental justice, and inclusive growth strategies have appeared in Forbes, strategy+business, warscapes.com, MSNBC.com and Business Standard. I also work with college and school-age students, conducting digital storytelling workshops on issues young people care about. I live in New York and grew up in India where I continue to spend extended periods of time.
The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Deepali Srivastava in her Forbes blog post about the recent Amitav Ghosh/Naomi Oreskes event at the Rubin in NYC on October 5 gives Ghosh a free pass on his anti-genre fiction chapter in his essay "The Great Derangement". Once again, nobody from India dares stand up to Dr Ghosh, and this has been going on as a media narrative all summer and fall since last June in India and now even in America. Of course, all the people writing about the book are Indian, so nobody dares challenge a famous Indian icon for his proscriptive views about science ficion and climate fiction. Deepali knows better, we have even been in touch on this earlier, but in print she refuses to stand up to Dr Ghosh. I understand her reticence. After all, he is Amitavji.
So. In a recent blog post for Forbes magazine Deepali Srivastava Said in Her Headline That "Indian-American Novelist Amitav Ghosh Challenges Western Thinking On Climate Change".
Her post was a good one, and it was based on her attendance at the recent well-attended SRO-only Rubin Museum event in NYC with Ghosh and Naomi Oresekes chatting on stage about climate change issues, pro and con. There was a short question and answer period after the lively stage banter between the two authors, too.
Recently [on October 5, 2016], at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art, [Ghosh] spoke with Naomi Oreskes, the American historian of science famous for her spirited, scholarly fights with climate change denialists. In their fascinating conversation, Ghosh made 2 points we seldom hear in mainstream climate change discourse: One, that the extraordinarily Westernized literature on climate change ignores the starring role played by colonialism in this crisis. Two, that science can give us the facts, but art and literature must narrate real stories of climate change.
Worryingly enough, neither Ghosh nor Oreskes had any alternative solutions and both wondered out aloud if it’s time to acknowledge that human beings don’t have all the answers. “What I am trying to do is open up a new series of conversations. We know our physical systems – agriculture, industry, manufacturing, etc. – are out of whack. What interests me is how our imaginative systems are also out of whack,” said Ghosh.
Oreskes [who herself has co-written a cli-fi/sci-fi hybrid novel about climate change] welcomed this with great enthusiasm: “When I urge the scientific community to talk about climate change, they say our object of study is the earth and what people do is off-limits. So when I read your book, I felt very grateful. The concept of the Anthropocene is finally a recognition that we now live in a world where human activities are changing the Earth in dramatic ways. .....''
But how comfortable are artists, novelists, musicians, and film makers, when it comes to imagining the possibilities of the Anthropocene? Alas, not at all, said Ghosh.
Deepali ended her dispatch from New York with this positive note:
''It wasn’t a reassuring evening for anyone looking for clear-cut solutions to the ecological crisis we face. But for anyone wanting to be challenged about how we think of climate change, it was a strangely satisfying experience.''
Sadley, Deepali, who is about 25, didn't challenge the 60 year old Ghosh on one of his major mistaken theses in the book, where he states that modern novelists have not been tackling climate change issues, when in fact, Deepali knows about the cli-fi movement worldwide and she knows tha Ghosh did not do his homework for that chapter of the book, because in fact, hundreds of Western novelists have been writinga about climate change and natural disasters since the 1960s. But Ghosh does not admit this in his book or in his Chicago lectures wich were the basis for this book and Deepali also does not challenge "The Great God Ghosh'' (as he is known by his fans in India) on this major fault in his in the book and on the stage at the Rubin. And Oreskes didn't speak up, either. Problem here.
Deepali could have steered her readers at FORBES to the Cli-Fi Report website to counter Ghosh's mistaken thesis that ''artists, novelists, musicians, and film makers, when it comes to imagining the possibilities of the Anthropocene, are not writing novels about it.
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