Note — Oct 03, 2021

Can Climate Fiction Deliver Climate Justice?

As careful readers might have spotted, I’m quite attracted to articles looking at the influence of fiction on how society and technology change, in part because it’s important to “talk, loudly and frequently and in detail, about the future we want.” Fiction seems to be a useful lever to consider in the hopes of affecting change, whether it’s in understanding how science fiction has influenced Silicon Valley and how it might be used to influence them differently, or as a way of making the climate crisis more palpable and solutions more easily imagined, such as the examples in the above piece by Maddie Stone.

More → The piece is at Fix in their climate fiction issue, which also includes the excellent definitive climate fiction reading list – 20 books to explore cli-fi.

[H]er genius lies in how clearly she illuminated the disproportionate impact a warming world would have on the poor, people of color, and women, a reality many Americans are just now waking up to. Butler, who died in 2006, crafted an essential work that is relevant not only for exploring the unfolding disaster of climate change, but for revealing the injustice at the heart of it. […]

“Fiction can transmit information really effectively in non-technical language,” says Patricia Valderrama, … it can “help people understand how an issue will affect them and be the catalyst to help them join an existing movement.” […]

The storytelling traditions of many Native cultures challenge Western conventions around linear narratives by treating people of the past, present, and future as being in “continuous dialogs,” as Kyle Whyte, an environmental justice scholar at University of Michigan, puts it. This mode of storytelling can be particularly well suited to grappling with intergenerational, historically rooted problems like climate change.