Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How the Human World Is Going to End: A Prediction and a Prophecy from a Modern-Day Jeremiah (Dan Bloom's Generous 3000-Year Timeline: Read it and Weep)

Photo by Sci-Fi Author Yann Quero in France at a church in northeast France near the ocean where the limestone statue has become weather-beaten by, well, the weather....

Q. and A.

Q. Why did you write this future envisioning essay?
A. I wanted to leave a message to the deep future before I die in 2025. It's also a visionary oped for the present. Readers can make of it what they will. It's not going to be a cli-fi novel or a sci-fi movie. It's just a vision I wanted to share before I depart the mortal coil.
Do you expect anyone to take it seriously? I mean, you have no credentials, no academic sponsorships, no PhD, no degrees in theology or climate science. You're nothing but an unaffiliated gadfly.
I expect a few people to take me seriously. I'll be happy with ten positive reactions. I didn't write this for mass appeal. I wrote it for those who "get it."
Get what?
Get that we as a species are doomed by our own hand, by our own making, by our own greed and divorce from nature. We blew it. This is what we get. It's a good theme and subject for future clifi novels to explore, perhaps in published novels in 2030 or 2040.
So you wrote this for novelists and movie producers to read?
Yes. It's not for scientists or academics or newspaper editors. For the most part, ther are all frozen to their careers and can't face reality. Or visions.
Do you think you can monetize this timeline?
No way! This is beyond money. Don't you get it yet?
As an interviewer I need to ask questions. I thought you might want to monetize your brand.
I don't have a brand. I'm a one man band banging on a wall that doesn't transmit sound. That's why I chose to release this in print. Words sometimes have wings. Let's see.
One more question. Are you off your rocker?
Well, at my age, I'm just getting used to my rocking chair, an old man's leisure.
So you're not worried about the future of humankind in terns of global warming.?
I'm very worried. But I don't let that stress me out. I'm a very laid back visionary. Take me as you wish. I'm not seeking approval or applause. I'm beyond that.
Oh really?
You sound like a very grounded, balanced gadfly.
Thanks. That's my M.O.



So many people are divided into two camps relating to global warming and climate change. There are those like David Wells-Wallace who see the worst-case scenarios and say these events will occur in the next 100 years. He's wrong of course. These events will occur but not for another 500 to 1000 years. See The Cli-Fi Report for details

And then there are those naive people who still cling to hope that technology or God or human resourcefulness will save us from the coming Climapocalypse and these people are also wrong, though bless 'em for their optimism and hopefulness. Remember the late great Walter Benjamin once said "Hope if for the hopeless."

And there's experts like Dr Charles Geisler, an emeritus development sociologist at Cornell University, who has predicted that 2 billion people may be displaced by rising sea levels by the year 2100.

He is SO wrong! Not gonna happen for another 500 to 1000 years. SEE BELOW.

Geisler says coastal peoples will press inland, while farmland off the coasts is likely to be increasingly compromised by drought and desertification. He concludes: “Bottom line: Far more people are going to be living on far less land, and land that is not as fertile and habitable and sustainable as the low-elevation coastal zone... And it’s coming at us faster than we thought.”

Kids now in just 5 and 8 years old  will be in their 80s .... when Geisler's predictions will not come to pass. These kids today can’t, of course, know about any of these possible catastrophes, but we adults already sense that they’re picking up on something subtly fragile and vulnerable about our relatively settled lives together. How do we respond to them? What do we as a parent do in the face of such a potentially bleak future?  How and when do we break news like that? Are we supposed to help our children and grandchildren cultivate a taste for crickets instead of hamburger or start building a solar powered hydroponic farm in our basement? Worse yet, whatever we could imagine suggesting wouldn’t be enough. It wouldn’t protect them. It wouldn’t even prepare them for such a future.

Well, I've been thinking about all thsi for the past ten years, every since the IPCC report came out. And those interviews with James Lovelock. And working on my Cli-Fi Report website as a platform for novelists and movie producers to create cli-fi novels and movies warning us of what is coming down the road. Most people are not listening to me, and I don't blame. It just doesn't compute for most people today in West or the East or in Africa or anyway on Earth. But there are those who do "get it" and I am one of those. Please don't accept me at my words below. Do your own research and come up with your own plans and strategies. But this is how I see the future coming at us and I say this with all due respect for my friends who are still hopeful and want to be optimists. They are wrong. THIS is what is going to happen but I am giving you a generous timeline so don't panic and don't fret, There is still time to prepare our descendants 30 to 60 generatiosn down the road for the End. How to prepare for their End. Our End? It's not going to happen in our lifetime so stop worrying. Write a good cli-fi novel instead about all this.



2018 - 2100 ---- (nothing much changes. Basically the same as today, no big changes)

2100 to 2150  --  (nothing much changes. Basically the same as today, no big changes)

2150 to 2200 -- (more heat waves, floods, droughts, but no major sea level rises...)

2200 to 2300  -- (more heatwaves, floods, droughts, but no mjaor sea level rises...)

2300 - 2500 -- (OKAY, things now grow tragic, yes and BILLIONS die in massive human die-offs worldwide, with some 25 billion people fated to die unspeakable, unfathomable, tragic deaths)

2500 - 3000 A.D. -- (Humanity dies off, remnants of the human race are left behind in some rare pockets of survival, perhaps a total of 10,000 humans are left on Earth by the year 3000 A.D.)

3000 - 5000 A.D. -- END OF HUMAN LIFE ON EARTH.....

So stop complaining. Quitcherbellyaching. We are done for as a species, but not yet, not now, and not any time soon. But yes, the End will come within the next 30 to 60 generations of man (WOMAN) and then it will be all over. What can we do? PREPARE PREPARE PREPARE: mentally, spiritually, psychogically, stoicly, bravely, existentially. This is the truth. All else is wishful "sell those magazines and books" wishful thinking.

My advice to novelists? Write that cli-fi novel now. Soon. There is still time to warn the future.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Du « nature writing » à la « climate fiction » by CLAIRE PERRIN in FRANCE


At the turn of the years 2010, the American press reminisced about the emergence of a new literary genre, the "CLI-fi" (for climate fiction), a term coined in 2008 by the writer and blogger Dan bloom. The novels of "Climate fiction" generally take the form of stories post-apocalyptic views where the characters are evolving in a world ravaged by the effects of climate change.
If the novels of CLI-fi are praised by the American press to the sympathy ecologists, they remain stationed in France to a niche audience.
The "nature writing" to the "climate fiction" in
the United States, the popularity and the number of the novels of CLI-fi can be explained first by the cultural importance of the nature in this country. Include here the poet Walt Whitman and philosophers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who were among the first helped to make the nature The main character in the novel American national.
By contrast, French literature is passionate about the city: at Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac or Charles Baudelaire, it is Paris, interiors, the arts, in short everything that falls under the "culture" and "civilization" which seems worthy of fiction. The nature and the campaign - that this either in the fields of Guy de Maupassant or well in Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert - are the theater of the debasement morale.
If the nature becomes a subject of interest for the french readers, which is reflected in the return in vogue works of Henry David Thoreau, the subject seems to remain confined to the literature of test or to travel stories as in Sylvain Tesson.
The late arrival of the Cli-fi in France can also be explained by a certain literary elitism disdaining still largely science-fiction, which approximates quite naturally this new kind.

The question of the dangers of over-exploitation of nature and the dream of terraforming other planets is indeed at the heart of many science fiction novels, in the image of Dune (1965) of Frank Herbert. Also include J.G. Ballard who published a year before the classic of Herbert drought, the third component of its quadrilogie of worlds devastated; there depicts a revelation caused by the disappearance of the terrestrial them under the effect of the industrial pollution of the oceans.
But it is possible to raise the climate fiction even further. With the Grapes of Wrath of John Steinbeck (1939), for example. There discovers the social consequences of the climate episode of the "dust bowl" of the 1930s during which dust storms pounded the American Great Plains. Climatologists and historians of the environment agree today to say that the Dust Bowl was the direct consequence of agricultural techniques deleterious.
Against the Crazy dreams of the Geo-engineering
Another characteristic of the science-fiction is to denounce societies grayed out by their innovation capacity, control of the nature, scientific and technological progress. Derived from the Sci-Fi, the CLI-fi does not escape the rule.
One of the most striking examples is found in the American Paolo Bacigalupi. Crowned in 2010 by the prices Nebula and Hugo for his first book The Daughter plc, Paolo Bacigalupi was long a journalist within the review ecologist High Country News. The author depicts in his novel A world struck by a shortage of petroleum resources and a rise of the levels of the oceans due to climate warming.
In 2015, Paolo Bacigalupi publishes a second novel of CLI-fi, the Water knife. There described, in a context of apocalyptic drought linked to human activities, the struggle between the States of the American Southwest for the access to the water of the Colorado River. Under the crushing sun of the Arizona desert, the inhabitants of Phoenix are reduced to drink their own urine recycled…
The more fortunate, as to them, survive comfortably under domes artificially recreating of ecosystems paradise. This type of construction, project in several major cities of the world poses for Bacigalupi several essential questions: who will have access? And what about the nature outside of these structures?

Denouncing both capitalism and the dreams of geo-engineering of multinational firms, the novels of Paolo Bacigalupi illustrate the fringe of the Cli-fi the most politicized and the more invested by the question of human responsibilities in the climate change.

Meeting with Paolo Bacigalupi (Laurence Honnorat/YouTube, 2016).
A response to the Climatic scepticism
in a context where climatic personalities-skeptical occupy in the United States The highest functions, a literary genre such as the Cli-fi can truly do the work of resistance.
In seeking to awaken consciences to the help of apocalyptic narratives, the CLI-fi thus joins the rhetoric of environmentalists Americans and Europeans denouncing the overexploitation of the nature and the absence of suitable reaction in the face of climate change.
These eschatological accents expose however the novelists of the criticism of environmentalists more moderate : represent the global warming phenomenon as an apocalyptic returns to cut the grass under the foot in risking to ignore the public of the question, convinced by these works that there is nothing more to do.
The stories rather than of the curves of CO2
If the CLI-fi is often catastrophiste, it is not limited to the stories of prefabricated apocalypses.
In 2017, appeared in French The Sands of the Amargosa (of the clear Caliornienne Vaye Watkins. While the Climate Change comprised the central subject of the novel of Paolo Bacigalupi, they appear here as a rear-realistic plan of the story featuring a torque of Californians trying to survive drought in joining the followers of a guru water witch and manipulator.

Another amazing aspect, Claire Vaye Watkins lists, in chapters pastichant the great naturalists and American explorers, new animal species emerged with the climate change.
For this which is of the Cli-fi French, we can cite the novel distant land of Pierre-Yves Touzot. Post-apocalyptic without pay in the sensationalism, this novel begins on the awakening of a character, who know neither his identity nor its past, in an environment populated by strange creatures and familiar to the time in which it will attempt to survive and to understand what happened during his sleep. On 300 pages, Pierre-Yves Touzot presents accurately and accessible all theories and scientific data to take the measure of the environmental crisis.
Achieve the imaginary
C is the whole challenge of the climate fiction: expose the magnitude of the environmental crisis and civilizational to mobilize consciences. The common point between the works of CLI-fi is not both the place accorded to the environment that this direct link that they trace between human activities and climate change.
The fiction climate may today constitute an effective weapon for the defenders of the environment: after having heard the multiple cries of alarm researchers, read with horror the IPCC reports and followed all the campaigns to raise awareness of the issue of climate, it may be surprising - with Bruno Latour (face-to-Gaia), Clive Hamilton (Requiem for the human species) and all other thinkers of the environmental question - that nothing has yet been done to the extent of the problem. Using the medium of the story and that of the literature, it was to be hoped that the authors of CLI-Fi will bring their stone to this necessary awareness.
It is very possible that those who read the CLI-fi are already sensitive to these issues, it may be hoped that readers of science-fiction still little responsive to the dangers of climate change will have a change of opinion by immersing herself in a novel of Paolo Bacigalupi, Claire Vaye Watkins or Pierre-Yves Touzot.
In any event, it must rejoice in the growing presence of the climate issue in all forms of art. In populating now the imaginary, it becomes more and more difficult to ignore.


 Robin MacArthur publlished a

collection of short stories, HALF WILD, published by ECCO (Harper Collins) in 2016. She is a freelance writer, educator, musician (Red Heart the Ticker) and mother of two who lives on the rock-studded hillside where she was born in southern Vermont.

Now in her early 40s, Robin got an MFA in Fiction from 
Vermont College of Fine Arts  and a BA from Brown University.

 When not writing, she spends her time prying rocks out of unruly garden soil, picking blackberries and raspberries outside her back door, and traipsing through woods with her big-hearted and half-wild children.

Vermont ''cli-fi'' novel debut by Robin MacArthur illuminates ''spiritual substance during dark times''


Kevin O'Connor reviews for

Book excerpt:

Robin MacArthur

The darkest night of the year. An ice storm. A party! She puts on her warmest boots and coat, gathers the champagne she bought three days ago for this occasion. She’s about to leave when she sees the deer vertebra and her mother’s sneaker on the kitchen counter. An unbearable shrine. She places them in a paper bag, tucks it under her arm, and sets off up the hill to Hazel’s house.
She has to punch through the crust with the heel of her boot to not slide, barely makes it up the already ice-slicked field. But if there’s going to be an ice storm, the old house is the place to be. She wonders how many ice storms its bones have stood through. And isn’t this what people have always done — will continue to do — during dark times: gather?
— Robin MacArthur, from her novel “Heart Spring Mountain”

Robin MacArthur won the publishing lottery when HarperCollins offered her a book contract to pen a novel that depicts how climate change — and, specifically, 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene — can alter the course of land and life.

Then the 2016 presidential election hit her with an equally hard wallop. Could a leader of the free world actually doubt the science behind her book, the Marlboro writer wondered, and who would want to read fiction when reality had turned so surreal?

Nevertheless, she persisted.

“I realized this is very relevant,” MacArthur says, “because it’s about how we find spiritual substance during dark times.”

 “Heart Spring Mountain'',
tackles global warming — as well as heroin addiction and women’s struggles — at the most local level.

She wrote some short stories as a teenager and take her first writing class in her 20s. But juggling marriage, music, two young children and a hammer to build a family house in Vermont, she kept her words confined to her computer.

Then an editor at HarperCollins contacted her and offered to publish a collection of her short stories, 2016’s PEN/New England Award-winning “Half Wild,” with the contract calling for a follow-up book -- a novel.

“There is no better way to force oneself to write a novel,” she says, “than to have a contract to write one.”

And so the author came up with a three-generation family of characters — including a farming widow, a back-to-the-land dreamer and an owl-loving hermit — and a plot set in the days and weeks after the Aug. 28, 2011, storm that ravaged her southeastern Vermont hometown.
Robin MacArthur

“I quote writer Evan Pritchard in the novel, who says, ‘To do damage to the earth does spiritual damage as well.’ This book is, in some ways, about that spiritual damage — what does it feel like to live in this time of disconnection — from community, from the land, from families — and this time where the most basic of givens — seasons, food cycles — have been upended? Will we have apples? Will there be honeybees? When and where will the next catastrophic storm strike?”

MacArthur labels the book “a meditation on what we do with this spiritual malaise.”

Others have called it a poetic cli-fi novel,part of the new literary genre of climate fiction, dubbed cli-fi, about global warming and climate changes memes.

“I wrote the first fragments of this book 9 years ago when I was first becoming a mother. The concerns then were how to love and give of oneself and do so well. I picked the book up 6 years later and my concerns were different. All I could think about were the ailments of the world and how they were linked. How the machinations of capitalization had led to a loss of connection to one another and to the natural landscape, to the wisdom of our ancestors. At that point the question of the book became we are so broken, everywhere. How do we heal?”

Library Journal may sum up her novel as “soberingly relevant,” but the book also contains what Kirkus Reviews calls “a sliver of optimism.”

“We find community and connection where we are,” MacArthur says. “We find communion in the most old-fashioned of ways — with food, and wine, and music, and art and candlelight. Ultimately, this is a story about hope. Dark times are here, and more dark times await us, but love and connection and resiliency can be found, and will hold us when they are.”

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Some thoughts on climate crisis in [cli-fi] films, an essay by Dutch academic Astric Bracke

Some thoughts on climate crisis in [cli-fi] films

a blog post by ASTRID BRACKE, PHD in Holland

Love that tagline

I recently saw the 2017 cli-fi film Geostorm. The premise of the film is that in the near future a solution is devised by scientists to control the freak weather caused by climate change. The solution is a network of satellites colloquially called ‘Dutch boy’, after the story of the Dutch boy who put his finger in a dyke to stop a flood.* It costs a lot of money but, the voice-over tells us, it brings the world together and keeps climate crisis in check. Problem solved.

While this premise is probably enough to merit Rotten Tomatoes’ review of Geostorm as “a disaster of a movie”, the way in which climate change is framed in the film made me think. For instance, it demonstrates a point I make in my recent book: anthropogenic climate change has become firmly lodged in our cultural awareness. We no longer need an explicit explanation in order to link the events happening at the beginning of the film to climate change. In 2017 this was much more the case than ten or fifteen years ago. As my partner (who suffered through Geostorm with me) pointed out, in The Day After Tomorrow (2014) the fact that climate change is causing the freak weather had to be made much more explicitly.

poster 4

Geostorm‘s language about climate change also stands out. As the voice-over tells us, “we fought back”. Climate change is a villain, and the hero is the scientist who developed ‘Dutch boy’. Appropriately, an article in The Guardian that appeared around the release of Geostorm asks whether climate change is Hollywood’s new supervillain.

What Lawrence Buell calls the ‘David-and-Goliath’-trope has long been a part of the environmental movement (1). It is usually used in relation to pollution, when big corporations are the Goliath (as in the environmental classic Silent Spring, for example) and ordinary people or misunderstood scientists are the David. This us-versus-them dichotomy is not unproblematic, though, as Buell also notes. In the case of the production and use of pesticides critiqued in Silent Spring, for instance, it absolves the consumer of any blame. The same happens in Geostorm: the causes of climate change are glossed over, and what matters is that a solution is provided and that “we fought back”.

Geostorm also replicates the kind of first world exceptionalism so common in many Hollywood films – and in the real world. The film’s ending reveals that the devious secretary of state aimed to use “Dutch boy” to destroy all of the former enemies of the US. He wants to bring the political balance back to what is was in 1945, with the US as superpower.

poster 5

High deathtoll, but still plenty of exceptionalism..

The Day After Tomorrow, probably the best known film about climate crisis, makes a slightly different point. At the end of the film, when the heroes have been saved and reunited, the President makes a televised speech. He mentions that the US and other first world countries have now come become “guests in nations we once called the Third World”. There’s plenty of exceptionalism in this film as well of course, not the least because after having first decided to abandon half the country to the massive snowstorms, helicopters are sent out to rescue our hero, his son and others who have miraculously survived in New York. Nonetheless, while Geostorm magnifies climate crisis inequality in favour of the US, The Day After Tomorrow suggests that climate crisis might alter this inequality. Climate crisis, it seems, would be beneficial to the global balance of power.

Quite a bit of research has been done on The Day After Tomorrow as a climate film. The results vary from suggesting that the film had a bigger effect on people’s awareness of


climate crisis than the IPCC reports, to suggestions that it didn’t really have an effect at all. A 2009 paper notes that The Day After Tomorrow increased “information seeking behaviour” amongst viewers. Other audience studies had different results: in the UK the film made viewers anxious, and although they may have seemed more willing to do something about climate crisis, they didn’t know what. In Germany, viewers of the film came to the conclusion that climate change would not affect them personallyThe Day After Tomorrow is also perhaps a bit too much of a Hollywood-disaster-film to really invite serious reflections on climate crisis (even though one of the first casualties of the freak weather hitting the US is the Hollywood sign, blasted away by a tornado) (2).

It’s become a platitude, but representing climate crisis in film or in novels is hard. I do  think it is important that literature and film address climate crisis, if only because the crisis itself, as well as our awareness of it, has become so much a part of our society. The problem with films such as The Day After Tomorrow (and especially Geostorm) is, as Michael Svoboda puts it, that

the apocalyptic film also disconnects viewers’ current lives from the possible future depicted on the screen

That is to say:  I like thinking about how these films, and novels, depict climate crisis. It fascinates me how stories are created that shape how we think, imagine and talk about climate crisis. I think it is important that we study these stories and point out patterns, and problematic aspects. But I also don’t want to fall into the trap of prescriptiveness: there’s more to a novel than its ‘message’, just as a film should also be entertaining.

*As a Dutch person, I feel like I should point out here that the story of the boy with his finger in the dyke is largely unfamiliar to Dutch people (it’s an American story). Also that it’s just too weird, as anyone living near water knows.

1. Lawrence Buell discusses this in Writing for an Endangered World (2004).
2. A really good overview of climate crisis in film is provided by Michael Svoboda, in “Cli-fi on the screen(s): patterns in the representation of climate change in fictional films” (2016).

Saturday, January 6, 2018

In ''ISLAND SOLSTICE,'' a picture book in verse for kids, Susan Jensen draws the thaw of global warming [AN INTERVIEW]

Susan Jensen at home with with cat, Maggie. Well-known on Whidbey for her pet caricatures, Jensen recently wrote two children’s books dealing with the weighty issues of alcoholism and global warming. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times

Susan Jensen at home with with her house cat, Maggie. Well-known on Whidbey as an artist for her pet caricatures, Jensen recently wrote an illustrated children’s book titled ''ISLAND SOLSTICE'' dealing with the weighty issue global warming. [Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News-Times]

Susan Jensen, 74, draws the thaw of global warming
  • by reporter Patricia Guthrie
  •  January 5, 2018 4:01pm
EXERPT: edited for amplification and clarification [with an INTERVIEW at the bottom of this page, please scroll down.....for interview and more artwork from the book]

The creative flash for her illustrated children's book, “Island Solstice,” came as winter’s dark days approached. In one of those “in the zone” moments many artists experience but can’t explain, a woeful tale of a watery world emerged. A ''cli-fi'' children's picture book was born!

Cli-Fi is a new literary term for novels, movies, poems, stage plays and children's books about global warming issues.

Set to the cadence of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the story tells how sea creatures rejoice because

“the earth will be ours/the sea will be vast/and man will be gone/ from our lives at last.”

One drawing shows a gray whale circling Seattle’s Space Needle that’s sunk into Puget Sound.
Not the usual fluffy fodder for young readers, Jensen admits. But she wants it to be a jumping-off point for discussions about the environment, climate change and conservation.

“As far as I can tell, there’s nothing about global warming for kids,” said Jensen, mother of two adult daughters to whom she dedicates the book, along with “the future of our planet.”

“I didn’t want it to be scary but you can teach children about sea creatures and the future of the earth. It starts that conversation,” she said. “The parents can guide the discussion.”

Set on the evening of the winter solstice, Jensen’s simple quirky pastel drawings show a parade of all sea creatures great and small gathering to listen to Poseidon.

“Now sand soles and limpets/dog winkles and mussels/Oh, sea stars and scallops/And shipworms and oysters/Great fish of the sea/Sharks, halibut, rays/Now gather round, listen/To news of great days!”

“I was told what I do is not ''art by an artist,'',” Jensen recalled. “What that person who said that meant is ‘fine art’ like Norman Rockwell’s is not ‘fine art’, so I thought, ‘Well, I’m in good company.’

“My stuff lends itself to kids so I figured why not write a children’s book?”

Jensen’s hoping the “Island Solstice” book and drawings will appeal to Western Washington University organizers of the April 4-6 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle.
“Island Solstice” costs $10 and 10 percent of sales go toward GreenPeace.

Jensen taught high school English, speech, drama and journalism for 12 years and worked more than two dozen years in Seattle media relations jobs. She moved to Cultus Bay in 2006.
Active in many writers groups, Jensen is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

For years, Jensen cobbled together jobs while raising two daughters. She continues the juggling act today. She converted her downstairs into a weekend retreat for airbnb guests. She refers to the $75 pet caricatures as her “bread and butter.”

Jensen also sells custom pastel landscapes from photographs people send her.

A self-described “happy spirit on a creative rampage,” much of Jensen’s energy and activity stems from an unexpected gift — time.
“I never thought I was going to live this long,” she says. “My mother died at age 62. I never imagined being able to “just write and paint and putter.”

For more information: www.susanjensenwhidbeyislandpastelartist.blogspot.com

“Island Solstice” is written from the perspective of sea creatures rejoicing having the oceans to themselves with ‘no more pollution of garbage and waste.’“Island Solstice” is written from the perspective of sea creatures rejoicing having the oceans to themselves with ‘no more pollution of garbage and waste.’

Twitter hashtag #islandsolstice


DAN BLOOM: ''ISLAND SOLSTICE,'' what's the meaning of the title and is it winter or summer solstice? can you explain more? 

SUSAN  JENSEN: "The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol ("sun") and sistere ("to stand still"), because at the solstices, the Sun's declination "stands still"; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's daily path (as seen from Earth) stops at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction. - Wikipedia" In that sense, the word "solstice" in the title Island Solstice means that we have reached our limit before - hopefully - reversing direction. I live on Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle, so we are very much in touch with the changes in our beaches and the pollution of our shores.

QUESTION: You did a very nice newspaper interview in the Whidbey paper. Did you get much local reactions from readers, friends, acquaitances, radio hosts or TV stations after the article appeared?

SUSAN: The interview was just published recently, but I'm already receiving nice comments.

Will do radio or TV interviews about the book later on? Or book signings at local bookstore or library readings?

All of the above. I just self published this in December 2017 through Create Space, but I'm sending it out to children's book publishers this week in the hopes of receiving wider distribution. I will start with booksignings at the three island libraries, then move to Seattle bookstores and libraries to follow up. I have submitted my artwork and the book to two environmental conferences in Seattle and here, and will know by February 1 if I'm accepted. 10 percent of each sale will go to Greenpeace. 

Island Solstice is a gentle introduction to the subject of global warming for the little ones. Most of them have heard about it, so this can open a dialogue between a child and their parent to guide the discussion. Hopefully, my illustrations are fun and fanciful and might serve to ameliorate the scariness of the subject matter while still serving to inform. Also, the sea creatures illustrated can open up other discussions about the wonders of sea life.

Who is your target audience? kids of course, parents, teachers, librarians, anyone else? ages?

All ages and all demographics.

DAN BLOOM: Have you heard of the new literary genre called cli-fi (short for climate fiction like sci-fi for science fiction)? Can i call you book a cli-fi kids book?

SUSAN: Great idea! I'll do my best to promote that genre! 

I just posted Island Solstice on Amazon.com, but I was in a couple of Christmas markets and sold almost 50 copies so far, but since those were in-person copies, there are no reviews yet on Amazon. Here's a link:

ISLAND SOLSTICE is a playful look at the only creatures who would be happy if global warming turned the world to water. Poseidon visits his ocean kingdom to tell them the news!

A short bio:

SUSAN JENSEN has received numerous awards for her work in several genres. This is her first children's picture book, which she has also illustrated.

If you need photos of her illustrations, it's best to take them from her blog, which is a link under her signature below, to get the best quality, but here are some:





''Dear Dan, Please let me know if you need anything else? It's so great to make this connection! Looking forward to exploring the cli-fi Facebook page next. Thank you for contacting me!''

-- Susan Jensen

Friday, January 5, 2018

OPED: ''To fight climate change, we must change our vocabulary'' writes Dick Munson

Each fall, Chicago throws a Humanities Festival to promote “the lifelong exploration of what it means to be human,” attracting thoughtful authors and expressive performers. A lecture on a recent Saturday afternoon provided a fresh perspective on how environmentalists combat pollution and envision a healthier planet.

For me, this discussion by Cli-Fi novelist Claire Vaye Watkins (see video below) revealed how we can tap different threads — specifically literature — to make our cases more effectively.


Dick Munson is the director of Midwest clean energy for the Environmental Defense Fund in Chicago.

......... the speaker that Saturday afternoon in Chicago, Claire Vaye Watkins, revealed an important way in which environmentalists need to expand their vocabulary. In this case, the author suggested literature, too, can help defend the planet.

VIDEO ONE HOUR from the lecture series:

Her novel, Gold Fame Citrus, uses a global-warming-induced drought in Southern California to frame her story about hope and cherished relationships.

Hers is a surreal landscape, an ocean of sand that reflects a world broken by environmental disaster. Into this nightmare she describes how families cope, introduces a tender humanity, and conveys a nostalgia for the living world.

Watkins, after her presentation, suggested that environmental advocates can take better advantage of imagination. Humans, she said, love stories and activists must use them to reveal threats and offer hope.

Watkins is not alone in setting novels and short stories where the climate is stressed.

An entire genre, in fact, is developing, what some call climate fiction, or “cli-fi” for short.

It focuses on a dystopian present in contrast to the dystopian futures highlighted in conventional science fiction.

This cli-fi genre serve two key purposes, one for writers and one for environmentalists.

“I think we need a new type of novel to address a new type of reality,” said on NPR in April 2013 Nathaniel Rich, author of Odds Against Tomorrow. “And it’s the novelist’s job to try to understand, what is that doing to us?”

Environmentalists, moreover, need to appreciate that novelists can reach people in ways scientists and political activists cannot, that fiction, in fact, may be the best untapped means to deliver information and messages.

We can also learn from Barbara Kingsolver, winner of the National Humanities Medal and author of Flight Behavior, who asked on the same NPR show in 2013: how is it “possible to begin a conversation across some of these divides, between scientists and nonscientists, between rural and urban, between progressive and conservative—that when it comes to understanding the scientific truths about the world, there must be another way to bring information to people … that’s beyond simply condescending and saying, ‘Well, if only you had the fact. If only you knew what I did, then you would be a smart person.’ That gets you nowhere.”

Environmentalists, in their effort to combat climate change, have turned increasingly toward science and rationality. Those languages, of course, are valuable and necessary. Yet Watkins reveals that we also must embrace stories. To be effective, we need to expand our cultural vocabulary.


Dick Munson is the director of Midwest clean energy for the Environmental Defense Fund.