POEM: A Global Warning

31st October 2016

Technically I wouldn’t class this poem as CliFi, but it was my very first attempt at poetry on my masters. I don’t like the term ‘Global Warming’, but I felt that the play on words was appropriate for the title. I prefer prose to poetry, but I wanted to experiment and see how a poem would turn out for me.

Note: I will be posting CliFi pieces, and climate change pieces such as this only once I am confident that I no longer need them for my course (in their current draft/format). So there may be a delay between me producing a piece for my course and posting it to my blog. Please bear with me in this regard.

 

A Global Warning

First their words fell on deaf ears

But scientists still chose to speak out

Bemoaned for their exaggerated fears

About things that could never come about

 

Warnings of droughts, floods and fire

Their words are a shade of dark

These predictions are incredibly dire

The future is looking stark

 

Politicians didn’t believe inside

The predictions would come true

Talks were held about the rising tide

Yet actions were far and few

 

Spanning all human activity

The problem’s roots are deep

At our complete lack of receptivity

It’s difficult not to weep

 

Time is fast running out

But all is not quite lost

We’ll have to wield all our clout

And solutions will come at a cost

 

Renewable energy can bring jobs and prosperity

They can make the future clean

Helping move us out of austerity

Whilst creating a tomorrow that’s green

 

Fossil fuels should remain in the ground

Helping to reduce pollution

Solar and wind energy have been found;

A much cleaner solution

 

This is a fight for our children’s earth

To keep unique fauna and flora alive

We need to give it everything we’re worth

Providing them with a chance to thrive

 

The need to act is clearly pressing

A greener future is what we should seek

We can turn this into a blessing

To avoid a fate that’s bleak

Cause for Hope

28th October 2016

It’s not often we hear about positive stories in the news. But today, something truly amazing happened. After 5 years of failed negotiations, the EU and 24 countries have now agreed to protect 1.1m sq km of the Ross Sea in Antarctica. This will become the largest marine park in the world.

The Ross Sea is a very special part of the ocean, producing an estimated three-quarters of the nutrients that sustain life in the world’s oceans.

Many individuals, groups and organisations came together to help get the agreement over the line. I would like to briefly mention the stand-out efforts of one person, who went to extreme lengths to protect this unique ecosystem. Lewis Pugh is an ocean advocate, who undertook 5 swims in the Ross Sea (wearing just a speedo! Check out the video here) and followed that up with numerous meetings with politicians and diplomats. Lewis undertook the swims to highlight the need to protect the waters around Antarctica; this is what real dedication towards a cause looks like.

Thank you and well done Lewis. You consistently prove that we can all achieve our dreams, regardless of how ‘impossible’ they may initially seem.

More Cause for Hope

I could write an extensive blog post about Lewis’ incredible achievements and how he has inspired me, but I will only talk about one more of Lewis’ actions today. Recently, Lewis took part in the largest beach clean-up in history, at Versova Beach in India.

In this video, Lewis talks about how when you look at a problem that’s caused by 1.3 billion people (the population of India), it may seem impossible to solve. However, when you take a problem and divide it by 1.3 billion people – the opposite is true.

I often look at climate change and think to myself; this is problem caused by a population of over 7.4 billion people and counting. How can we seriously tackle a problem that is caused by so many people, when it will involve such massive changes to our society? But when you apply Lewis’ thinking, if we can get a fair percentage of the 7.4 billion people to care, then it suddenly seems a little bit more achievable.

I would encourage you to watch the video here. Let’s dream, work and fight for a cleaner environment.

Links

World’s largest marine park created in Ross Sea in Antarctica in landmark deal – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/28/worlds-largest-marine-park-created-in-ross-sea-in-antarctica-in-landmark-deal

Lewis Pugh: Sometimes ‘Crazy’ Gets the Job Done – http://lewispugh.com/sometimes-crazy-gets-the-job-done/

VIDEO: Lewis Pugh’s 5 Swims in the Ross Sea – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CoDPyCWMzU

VIDEO: Lewis Pugh at the Versova Beach Clean-Up – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF1CqXU_VUQ&feature=youtu.be

Cli-Fi Book Review: ‘Solar’ by Ian McEwan

23rd October 2016

As part of my degree, we are encouraged to read as much as possible. This week, I completed ‘Solar’ by Ian McEwan, one of the most cited pieces in the Cli-Fi genre. The book spans many geographical regions, including the UK, Norway and the US. It encompasses love, infidelity, divorce and death (though not necessarily in that order) and McEwan does a great job of creating exceptionally believable characters.

The book follows a primary character in the form of Nobel award winning Professor Michael Beard, who has a very messy personal life to say the least. The Professor ends up working on a solar powered solution to tackle climate change – an idea that doesn’t belong to him.

Personally I didn’t find the plot that interesting, but I think the characters helped keep the story moving. I think McEwan also did well to incorporate humour in a book about climate change, which as per all the reviews on the inside book cover, seemed to be appreciated by critics in kind. My favourite part of the book was an incident that took place on the train with the Professor – though I won’t give away any spoilers!

By far and away, the biggest takeaway for me was the way in which McEwan communicated climate science throughout. It is difficult to do weave climate science into a story in a way which avoids ‘lecturing the reader’. But McEwan cleverly uses the Professor to relay this information and you never feel like you are being ‘given a lesson’ in climate change.

I would also like to applaud McEwan for his extremely well researched climate change information; for someone who isn’t an expert in climate science, he did an excellent job in showing that the Professor was.

Most reviews conclude with a rating. But I think I need to read a significant number of Cli-Fi books, before I can give a book an accurate rating. Instead, perhaps at the end of the year I might compile a list of my top 10 favourite pieces of climate fiction in order of preference.

Will this book make it into the top 10? We’ll have to wait and see!

Deepwater Horizon – A Review of Sorts

4th October 2016

I recently became aware that we need to keep around two thirds of existing fossil fuels in the ground (based on reserves in operation), in order to stand any chance of meeting the 1.5C climate change target agreed in Paris. We know that burning fossil fuels is a major threat to our climate, and causes a whole raft of related issues like localised air pollution, which is leading to increased mortality rates.

Today I watch the new Deepwater Horizon movie, which if anything reinforced the need to move away from fossil fuels as fast as practically possible (and I mean FAST). Mark Wahlberg plays the lead role in the film, which is about the worst oil spill in US history that took place in April 2010. I won’t go in the plot, as I don’t want to give away spoilers for anyone intending to watch the movie (although if you followed the disaster in 2010, you probably know what to expect). Click here to watch the Deepwater Horizon film trailer.

For me, the film cleverly captures human nature in all it’s positive and negative capacities. We have the heroes like Mark Wahlberg, who are just doing a job and end up forced to go above and beyond in this situation. We also see the greedy BP hierarchy (portrayed by John Malkovich) who only care about making money and have no regard for the safety of the people onboard the rig, or the wildlife which live in the Gulf’s waters. It’s all too easy to stereotype companies like BP as immoral, greedy and selfish. But you watch a film like this and you can see exactly why they deserve those labels. Add in the fact that they are holding up any kind of meaningful action on climate change and you can see why they are detested so widely. A better articulated view on fossil fuel companies can be seen here, in the form of Leonardo Di Caprio’s Oscar acceptance speech.

I was mildly surprised that Halliburton and Transocean escaped so lightly in this movie, but ultimately there were many failings and a lot of them fell squarely on BPs shoulders. This film is definitely one for the cinemas, try see it on as big a screen as you can. I hope this can be used as a lesson and an additional incentive to move away from fossil fuels to cleaner, greener and SAFER renewable technologies.

Links

BP oil spill: judge grants final approval for $20bn settlement – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/04/bp-oil-spill-judge-grants-final-approval-20-billion-dollar-settlement

Manslaughter charges dropped against two BP employees in Deepwater spill – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/manslaughter-charges-dropped-bp-employees-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill