Attempting to end the semester on a happier note, human beings can absolutely still fix the climate issue. A new study published recently by Nature Climate Change, claims that by addressing climate change the world could save 500,000 lives each year. That number will continue to grow the longer the planet focuses on combating global warming. The study intends to address the lives that are being lost as global warming is still being ignored. By showing the massive amount of lives that taking action against global warming could save, the authors of the paper intended to weigh on society’s conscience. This article from National Geographic is a great read on what the future could possibly look like if Earth get’s its head together and makes the steps towards curbing climate change.
As the temperatures continue to rise on the planet, it is not just the surface dwellers that will need to adapt. The University of California has conducted a study on what had happened the last time the environment took a hit this badly and how it affected the oceans. The rising temperatures and human interference has caused the oxygen levels in the ocean to fall creating dead zones. It has been estimated that almost 10% of the ocean is made up of dead zones and that number continues to rise. This is not the first time in history that dead zones have torn across the ocean killing a large amount of species. Dead zones can destroy entire aquatic ecosystems and are a massive cause of species becoming extinct. The problem with these dead zones is that the ocean takes much more time to recover environmental damage than any other area on the planet. Checking out this article gives a much more in-depth look at the problem.
An interesting video from Business Insider Science shows the Earth after all of the ice has melted due to global warming. The video gives a global tour of what cities would be under water after the oceans have risen by 216 feet. You will have to watch the video to see if Philadelphia survives!
A study published today in Science has estimated that by 2100 we will lose one out of every six species on Earth. The paper sites South America, Australia, and New Zealand will be the worst areas for extinction. This paper is a call to action for people to realize the changes that have already been occurring. The paper gets into very specific details on the timeline for the changes and also addresses how a majority of species will suffer a major population loss. The information is chilling and will hopefully get the peoples attention that can make actual change.
With the summer movie season officially kicked off, I thought I could share a few movies that I know of with themes of climate change and its effects.
Godzilla vs the Smog Monster (Godzilla vs. Hedorah) (1971)
Watching Godzilla fight a monster created due to human carelessness and pollution? Do you need any more reason than that?
Mad Max (1971), Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Once again, humanity in its unfaltering stupidity has ruined the environment with war and pollution creating a world that’s a deserted wasteland. As everyone struggles to survive with oil being the main commodity, Max wanders the landscape fighting for himself and others.
Also, Mad Max: Fury Road comes out in the next few days… Just saying.
Like in the Mad Max films, the word in these films is a desert wasteland that humanity created with only a few Mega-Cities keeping everyone in. This creates more crime than can be handled, but humanity is left to deal with the consequences.
These are just a few off the top of my head. I’ll post more if I can think of any.
Captain Planet, a blast from the past pertinent to the present to preserve the future. In the 1990s environmental ecologists and activists sought to educate and reach out to a new audience to voice their concerns on the wasteful destruction of Earth’s resources by creating an eco-conscience cartoon geared toward college bound youngsters who would soon be entering and graduating from high schools. With the financial help of billionaire Ted Turner all of this came into fruition, Captain Planet was created. The plot behind the storyline is simple: a quintet of teenagers work together to encourage environmentally responsible behavior by protecting the Earth with their individual elemental powers of Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Heart; when their powers are combined they summon a superhero, Captain Planet, to deal with extreme ecological disasters. This blast from the past may be what is needed presently to reach out to younger audiences once again, as planetary climate-change is occurring more rapidly with tangible physical evidence of the changes that will affect future generations. Though this cartoon is no longer producing new episodes, the program does run in syndication on some networks and many episodes can be found on YouTube. This show also inspired the Captain Planet Foundation, supporting environmental education. The greatest accomplishment of this program is that it reached a younger audience and entertainingly exposed the seriousness of planetary destruction, the dangers of over consumption, and economic greed; while fostering respect for the Earth as it will abide to man because it will exist long after homosapiens are gone.
I have often asked the question: How do you get someone to be more conscientious of environmental conservationism, global-warming, and climate-change? The best answer is to entice interest and bring awareness to these social concerns during a person’s early social and mental development. It has been proven through clinical research and social experiments that early onsite exposure during an adolescent’s pre-pubescent developmental stage is the best time to peek a child’s interest and form a cognitive bond to information. This is why it is easier for a young child to learn a foreign language than an adult; the mind is open to new experiences and information retention. With this in mind, children’s author Sarah Holding has taken this concept and written books targeting her audience of adolescents and their adult guardians. In an interview Sarah states, “I can’t speak for everyone, but I write cli-fi because it reconnects young readers with their environment, helping them to value it more, especially when today, a large amount of their time is spent in the virtual world. Cli-fi advocates restoring equilibrium to our physical environment, making it not just a setting or backdrop to a story, but a story’s primary purpose and emotional appeal. The characters in my writing are genuinely concerned about the environment and want to make a difference, which I hope is contagious and spreads to my readers too.” This is the purpose of literature: to reach out to a vast array of populaces to entertain and inform.
I am not into science and math. I am an English Literature Major: with a concentration in African-American Poetry, which denotes I have an extensive, functional vocabulary and my ability to comprehend or decode information through context clues is superb. However, when it comes to understanding jargon specific terminology and scientific-based language I get lost and often feel stupid, even though I shouldn’t. With this in mind, it is often difficult to become motivated by topics and information that are difficult to cognitively retain, even when it is a topic of interest. When someone cannot comprehend what they are reading or what is being presented they tend to lose interest. For this very reason the website, Shrink That Footprint, has attempted to simplify Climate Science for Beginners.
A new study says that by the end of the century, 1 in 6 animals will be extinct. However, this study only considers temperature changes and doesn’t take into account carbon emission or pollution (factors that would speed up this process). And it won’t be as bad in North America or Europe where only 1 in 20 animals will go extinct, so I doubt our government is going to be enforcing any new laws to prevent this outcome. The study says that this pattern of extinction will likely be due to animals attempting to escape rising temperatures and sea levels, but eventually having nowhere to go.
Hey everybody! Look at what I found! That’s RIGHT, an interview with cli-fi’s sweetheart, Dan Bloom! It’s actually pretty interesting. The interview was posted on January 19th, 2015 and it’s about his thoughts on cli-fi in general and how cities are portrayed in these worlds affected by climate. I figured this was a good post to leave you all with. I’ll see you all again someday, maybe, to finish that debate about whether or not clones are considered alive.
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, a great review of a new special issue of the journal Paradoxa about the state of science fiction. The review starts by name-dropping “cli-fi” and the writing of Kim Stanley Robinson and Margaret Atwood before moving into its description of the collection:
The more sophisticated offerings among these postapocalyptic fictions often highlight how end-of-the-world fantasies can often perpetuate triumphalist narratives of global capitalism, and this is one of the key launching points for Mark Bould and Rhys Williams’s recent special issue of the scholarly journal Paradoxa. This special issue — called Sf Now — examines cutting-edge trends in science fiction literature and theory, and it offers several articles that expand on Mark Fisher’s notion of “capitalist realism,” or the idea that challenges to capitalist norms are often preemptively rejected as fruitless and unrealistic.
If you ask me, the possibilities and power of “cli-fi” should be evaluated by how well it provides alternatives to this line of thinking — “capitalist realism” — and directly challenges its limitations. As we discussed in class, I think Kingsolver is actually doing this rather well in Flight Behavior if we account for her audience, mainly in the two scenes where Dellarobia goes shopping (first in the dollar store, later in the thrift store) — so it doesn’t always have to come in the form of science fiction.
You can read the Introduction to the special issue online.
This morning Brittany Patterson of ClimateWire published a great article in which our class (and our moments of despair) is featured: Can ‘Game of Thrones’ get people to talk about climate change?
I’d honestly be eager to hear your thoughts in response to this question. We’ve taken on similar questions in class, but this is more immediate: how can making connections between trending pop culture (like Game of Thrones — 8 million people watched the Season 5 premiere three weeks ago) aid discussion about climate change issues and themes?
If I teach this class again, I’ll find a way to include Game of Thrones and the larger discussion it’s provoking:
The parallels between the television drama and both the political and scientific discussions related to climate change are striking, said Manjana Milkoreit, a research fellow at Arizona State University. Milkoreit conducted an analysis of how the television show is being used by a handful of “scientists, science communicators and geeks” to break through the hard-to-explain science to engage Americans about the dangers of rising global temperatures.
At one point in my Year of the Flood review, which Ted shared in class, I mentioned the bizarre results which came up as climate change “humor.” I thought I would share some of the strangest results I saved here.
Okay, so these are all pretty awful, though some may be a little sarcastic (gotta love the Jesus tears shirt). I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry overall. On the other hand, here’s my favorite result to prove that not all of the results were bad, just most:
I feel like many times in class we had a cyclical conversation about how there is absolutely nothing we can do to reverse the process of climate change. Here is one such example that could actually stand to do some real good. That is, granted our politicians can get their heads out of their asses. Fat chance right?
Has anyone heard about this? This guy is pretty hardcore. Definitely an event that I would like to keep tabs on.
This article (for me) was a new take on how we view climate change. Especially relevant from our numerous conversations in class regarding, “What can we do?” and “Who is to blame?”. This piece is very comprehensive, and makes compelling arguments for its case. Here are some samples of the article.
“Negligence on the part of those governments and corporations towards peoples who have been displaced or further impoverished by climate change is a form of violence. That negligence has included severe underfunding for climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, and relative inaction or slow action on curbing overconsumption.”
“Citizens of the world have to press charges for human rights violations or even war crimes, not just environmental degradation —for both current and past harms. We have to look at figures of how many inches the ocean will rise and how many more storm events will wipe out coastal economies, and directly relate human lives to those numbers. We need prioritize the people whose homes and livings are going literally underwater, and make the heavy emitters (corporations and rich nations) pay.”
Over the course of the semester, we have examined the roles of film and (most extensively) literature in response to anthropogenic climate change, one artistic medium which we have no discussed is popular music. So, here is a list of 10 songs which promote “climate justice.” The author calls these ecologically-focused songs, “protest songs” which I found to be an interesting label. It made me ponder which, if any, of the novels from our syllabus were actually protesting anything. Admittedly, most of these songs are rather obscure which leads me to question the success of “climate justice protest songs” as a genre. While I had only heard two songs on this list before today, I shall listen to some of the others in celebration of Earth Day! (I’m doing my part for the Big Green movement! Woo!!)
I was just prancing about Google and I figured I’d do a little more research on how cli-fi is portrayed in the movies and if it’s really having any impact on people. I found this great article written by the New York Times that explains why they think global warming dramas can sometimes be misleading.
Also on this page are links to other related articles also written by the New York Times that are there for you to click on. The one that interested me the most is titled, “Will Fiction Influence How We React to Climate Change?”, written in July of last year. But again, there are a million different articles you can read that have links on either of those pages if you don’t dig the one I suggested so much.
I’ll see you guys tonight!!
OH, and HAPPY EARTH DAY!
Interesting article I came across that discusses the messages the public are exposed to via the media and popular culture. There is a small mention of Snowpiercer.