Clifibooks: Climate Change and the Arts
Campaign Example
Strategic Approach: Engagement

Nearly a year ago I began to raise awareness of how climate change is being tackled by authors and artists. Authors' stories often reach audiences in very effective ways, and I was surprised, once I began this big library of books, about just how many people were writing fiction about climate change. These authors approach the subject matter differently. Barbara Kingsolver, for instance, penned Flight Behavior, which is a modern tale of a rural Appalachian family that discovers millions of Monarch butterflies migrating to their valley--butterflies that have lost their normal winter home in Mexico due to flooding and climate change. Other novelists write suspense thrillers or dystopian and apocalytpic tales set in the future. This genre of climate-themed literature encompasses speculative, literary, eco-, fantasy, and science fiction and has a long legacy in the canon of climate-themed literature, going back to early mythology and continuing into the decades of science fiction works in the same vein, such as novels by J.G. Ballard and Kim Stanley Robinson. Emerging in this literature are authors writing about climate change as we understand it today.

A new database is now at the site that allows searches and sorts by author, title, genre, and publication date. Also at the site are guest authors who have written academic essays, contributed information about their books, and penned articles about climate change. A growing number of interviews is at the site as well. Today has over 150 novels, short stories, and prose about climate change catalogued at the site. Another 40 or so books have been added in the "other environmental" category. This latter category has a long way to go. The climate category is fairly exhaustive, but newer titles are being added all the time.

I have recently also expanded this project to include other environmental issues, not just climate change, as I begin to focus on nature themes in literature and the arts overall. My newest campaign needs help from others in the climate world. It involves bringing together artists, authors, and readers to a public community at Google+. The group is just about a month old but is slowly growing in membership. My campaign is to expand this community--there is none other like it at Google+--so that a healthy public discussion about climate change and other environmental issues in the arts and literature can help encourage and inspire people to celebrate our nature world, preserve it, and help to mitigate climate change. As I reported recently in the Winnipeg Free Press, non-fiction does a great job letting us know the facts, but fiction has the opportunity to capture the imagination.


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