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Almost a century ago, New Zealand and Australia were at the forefront of an environmental crisis that forewarned of humanity’s global impact – erosion. It left its mark on culture.
Albert Bierstadt, Rocky Mountain Landscape, 1870.
Literature of the past can help us to make the cultural shift that’s necessary to address climate change.
These seven cli-fi novels will get you fired up for action.
Our responsibility to consider how the future might look for generations to come requires imagination.
In Avengers: Endgame, Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) experiences insurmountable loss. Perhaps his grief represents our fear of making sacrifices to save the planet.
Although not pitched as one, Avengers: Endgame is an environmental movie. But in reality, we need to face our fears and find solutions, rather than perpetuating the fantasy of regressing into the past.
Gerard Butler at the US premiere of Geostorm.
Geostorm is the newest addition to the Hollywood climate doom canon. It is terrible, which is why you should think about this genre but under no circumstances actually watch this movie.
The Day After Tomorrow’s apocalyptic depiction of climate change is a little embellished. But such storylines can ignite conversations with people that mainstream science fails to reach.
20th Century Fox
Climate scientists often bombard their audiences with facts and figures - a method of communication that often doesn’t work. Perhaps this is where cli-fi can step in, with its compelling characters and just slightly embellished science.
Smoke rises over the city of Manchester in William Wyld’s painting Manchester from Kersal Moor.
Can the Victorian novel offers us a means of thinking and feeling about our own moment anew?
In the Fir Tree, children stamp on a discarded – but feeling – Christmas tree.
The Fir Tree, illustrated by George Dalziel and Edward Dalziel, from Out of the Heart: Spoken to the Little Ones, 1867
The Industrial Revolution choked English cities in smog, filled rivers with waste and spread disease in crowded cities. At the same time, fairy tales about humans destroying nature proliferated.
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A volcanic eruption in 1815 triggered a year without a summer – prompting a flowering of nature writing that is all too relevant today.
Disaster movies can raise environmental concerns but also seed misinformation.
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Climate disaster films are an emerging genre that reflect people’s desire to cope with a changing planet through art. How will they affect public attitudes on climate change?