Here’s an extra special treat for your Futurist Friday: “Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction” was just released as a free digital download by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative (ICF) at Arizona State University.
ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination has long been using fiction as a vehicle for exploring the thorny problems raised by potential futures. I’m a fan of the stories commissioned through the Future Tense Fiction project (in collaboration with Slate Magazine and the New America Foundation).
This latest anthology is the result of a climate fiction short story project. The publication is very timely, as the Paris Climate Accord, ratified by 72 countries, will take force next month. However, as President Obama pointed out earlier this month, even meeting global goals for cutting carbon emissions will only delay the worst consequence of climate change. As a nation, and as a species, we have a lot of work yet to do, imagining and planning for the world we soon will live in.
The anthology’s, editors, Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez, and Joey Eschrich, see climate change as “a social and and cultural phenomenon, not just a scientific and policy issue.” They believe that “art and literature can be part of the much-needed work of humanizing climate change.” I would argue, very strongly, that museums can as well.
Sci-Fi great Kim Stanley Robinson (who also selected the finalists) writes in the foreword that “Near-future fiction…concerns itself with events in coming decades, and because of the rapid pace of change in technology and society today, this subgenre of science fiction has become in effect the realism of our time.” Fiction, he goes on to observe, “is how we organize our knowledge into plots that suggest how to behave in the real world.” Download this anthology to your computer, iPad or e-reader, and dip into it in coming weeks. I hope you find the many and varied scenarios presented by the authors suggest ideas about how you, and your organizations, may behave in coming decades.