A Review of 2047: Short Stories from our Common Future

23rd February 2018

2047 is a collection of short stories and poetry from 10 authors, who consider what our future may look like in 30 years’ time, as a result of climate change and environmental degradation. It uses the power of fiction to immerse us into new dystopian futures, as a means of warning us of what may come to pass if we don’t change our ways.

The anthology was published in 2017 and marked 30 years, since the Brundtland Commission published their vision for a sustainable future. One of the authors and Editor of the compilation, Tanja Rohini Bisgaard, explains that she wanted to explore what the world would look like in the next 30 years. By bringing together authors with different ideas and specialisms, she has managed to bring this vision to life through stories both sad and uplifting.

The stories span degraded environmental conditions, the rise of AI technology (and the good and bad that brings with it), as well as solutions for tackling climate change in Tanja’s The Outcast Gem. One of the real takeaway points for me was how different writing styles can be used in the cli-fi genre. For example, the use of letters from one generation to another in David Zetland’s Dear Henry, really helps to contextualise the changes we’ve brought about as a species from the perspective of a single farming family. In addition, we also see journalist entries and poetry in some of the other inclusions. Isaac Yuen’s submission, was a clever take on time travel and presented us with the idea that in the future, the only way to experience an earth free of widespread environmental degradation, would be to travel back in time to before we messed things up.

Innovative anthologies like this are a great way to get the message out about climate change, as the range of writing styles may increase the likelihood of readers finding at least one style they really enjoy.

In his book The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh, argues that we need art and literature to help frame and contextualise climate change and bemoans the lack of both thus far. This anthology seeks to address that gap, and I look forward to reading more of the work produced by these authors.

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