Climate change and the quest for new stories

Late last year I wrote about going on a quest to find new stories about climate change and possible future scenarios that might occur because of it.

Somewhere (and I’ve no idea where now) I read that stories that depict dystopian futures turn people off.    Rather than galvanizing people into action they tend to lead to paralyzing depressions and feelings of powerlessness.

When I googled a question about finding new stories I discovered many articles  about our need for new stories – not just about climate change but new stories about politics, economics, new cultural stories,  stories about disability that don’t focus on overcoming disability, stories about sustainable agriculture and industry …   the list goes on and on.

I read an article in the Guardian Newspaper about a group of concerned individuals who have created a collection of new fairy stories that deal with current issues such as climate change and refugees here

The article concludes with the statement –

“Most tales, at some level, present a rite of passage through difficulty to maturity, awareness or resolution. Now, more than ever, it feels like we need new tales to lead us through our troubling times.”

I kept searching online and found a comprehensive article about the power of story and why we need new ones using stories to change systems  The author, Ella Saltmarshe, writes –

“Systems change can involve painting compelling visions of alternative futures. We can use story to create immersive scenarios of the future that engage people on an emotional and intellectual level. This work can make the possible feel more probable, bring new perspectives that challenge the goals and mindsets of a system, and enable the transformation of rules and processes.”

Further searching led to this article about the role of science fiction in envisioning new, positive futures –

Reading these and other articles I concluded that the first steps towards creating a better world lie in imagining just what that world would look like.

My quest to find new stories continues but at least now I have defined what I am searching for and why.  IMG_20170913_212524.jpg


11 thoughts on “Climate change and the quest for new stories

  1. I like the sentiment very much Suzanne. I am wresting with the Guardian article, because it seems to be on the political side. The repeated mention of the word “Progressive” seems to be related to a wing of the U.S. Democrats who call themselves “Progressives”. In political discussion there is always the question of factual evidence to support the claims put forward by politicians. However, I love your idea of new stories, to stir the imagination, to know what can be possible. I’m looking forward to hearing you expand on this theme. Sorry I’m always so long winded but you always have thoughtful posts that make me think.


    1. I re-read the article. The word ‘progressives’ does appear two or three times. I read that to mean progressive thinkers – maybe it’s a reference to some political agenda in the USA – I don’t know , I’m not up with the various political movements in the USA.
      Personally I like the idea of critiquing current political, economic, social and cultural models – whether they be right or left wing. As I see it we need a complete paradigm shift – no doubt you disagree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t disagree. I think discussion and challenging each other’s ideas is how progressive views are advanced. A lot of discussion now days is dualistic….you are either for me or against me. I also believe in evolution not revolution. Think new ideas through thoroughly and understand the consequences before implementing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like the saying ‘evolution not revolution’. I hadn’t heard it before. I guess in an ideal world ideas could be hammered out and trialed before being implemented. Creative fiction is a good place to speculate on ‘what ifs’.

        Liked by 1 person

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