Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What cli-fi novelists can offer the future: a new way to fight global warming through literature!

Some people think that after they write a popular cli-fi novel and produce a popular cli-fi movie for Hollywood or for an independent studio, then would read the book – or see the movie -- and then they would change! They would take action against climate change, just like that. Because of a book or a movie!

But it's not so easy as that!

But cli-fi writers are also stymied by our inability to act after reading their novels or seeing their movies. We have the most pressing need we've ever had as a planet, and we have the solutions – so why are we not doing what we need to? That's the question that now haunts many people in the arts and literature and in Hollywood too

So cli-fi novelists have begun to began to understand that spreading the news of the climate science alone via cli-fi novels will not change the status quo. Instead, we now realize that we need to be piecing together the evidence showing that the lack of action is directly the result of a concentration of power in the hands of the few and the greedy.

In framing of the issue this way, there is a clear-cut enemy: the fossil fuel industry, interested only in profit. It has its mercenaries: the politicians it bankrolls all the way into the halls of power. The victims: the planet, and the poorest people on it, who risk becoming permanent climate refugees. The heroes? Ordinary citizens who, by banding together in collective protest, might be able to put enough pressure on those in power to break the enemy's hold over them.

The evidence keeps surfacing to support this  perspective. In a jaw-dropping exposé, journalists at the Los Angeles Times and environmental news non-profit website InsideClimate News revealed that in-house scientists at Exxon (now ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil and gas company) had known since the late 1970s that burning fossil fuels was contributing to global warming. But to protect its interests, Exxon did everything it could to discredit and bury that science over the next decades, fuelling what pundits have described as a faux, phony debate for a quarter of a century that may have cost us everything. Ouch!

Cli-fi novelists, both the dystopian writers and the utopian writes take no pleasure in knowing that their basic jobs on the planet is to bum people out. They need to think of themselves as cli-fi writers as personal trainers: For the next century and more, their jobs will be job  to yell and scream at governments everywhere to get up off the couch. And if that sounds too mild, then they need to think of themselves as a pack of wolves.

Cli-fi novels and movies can help us to channel our anger in useful ways, inclusive ways, so that you don't feel like it's consuming us.
And cli-fi novelists will not lose their ability to see beauty in the world.

So here's hoping that cli-fi novelists of the world, in the next 20 to 50 years, can punch above their weight, and build a little power of their own – then they may very well sway our way.

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