Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

Goodbye dystopias, hello utopias: climate solutions in the spotlight

With 15-year-old Swedish ”school strike for climate solutions” proponent Greta Thunberg making waves across the world the past four months, and more to come from her in 2019 (a book, a documentary, more keynote speeches, perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize nomination), there’s a new way to look at fighting climate change and runaway global warming.

Instead of dystopian visions full of doom and gloom, what we need now are blooming utopian visions full of hope and promise.

“Stories that focus only on the impacts of climate change tell us the worst that could happen, but not what to do about it,” according to two researchers in the science communication field. “It’s not helpful to imagine ourselves overwhelmed by disaster while we wait for a miracle technology to transform our future. Instead, our stories need to show us how we can come together to solve climate change. In other words, we can change the way our own real-life story unfolds by changing the stories we tell.”

I so agree.

Imagine, for example, a popular TV show set in Miami in which a city planning official dealing with sea level rise grapples with that very real threat for south Florida, and various supporting characters in the series show how the city can collaborate with scientists and city planners to come up with solutions. No more TV dystopias; think utopia and how to get there.

In a short story by acclaimed writer Jess Walter that recently appeared in an Amazon Original Story Collection titled “Warmer,” for example, the storyteller weaved the intracacies of climate change science through a humorous academic story arc, with hope, not  dystopia, emerging arising from the characters’ determination to not give up until they have done everything they can. That’s exactly what Greta Thunberg in Sweden has been talking about: hope conquers all.

I”ve just leared that in February, Firaxis Games will introduce a climate change game on  titled ”Civilization VI: Gathering Storm,” with the mantra “Our survival necessitates new solutions to old problems.” Bingo! Games can play a positive role in the climate fight, yes.

”Civilization VI: Gathering Storm” adds new advanced technologies, engineering projects, the fan-favorite World Congress, and introduces a living world ecosystem that showcases natural events that could enrich or challenge a player’s growing empire, according to the website.  It also also adds eight new civilizations and nine new leaders, seven new World Wonders, and a variety of new units, districts, buildings, improvements and more.

Ed Beach, the lead designer for new game, is high on the new iteration.

“History is full of rich stories of great empires, exploration, survival, and the human spirit. While we have always managed to capture a lot of this in the Civilization series, our story of human history was missing something without the impact that a changing planet has had on our settlements, and the imprints that we have left behind on Earth. This was the primary theme that we wanted to explore with ‘Civilization VI: Gathering Storm’.”

As the two researchers I alluded to above say: “The goal [among novelists and screenwriters and climate visionaries] should be to switch our stories from ‘Climate change is huge, scary and inevitable’ to ‘We can solve this problem and here’s how’.”

I so agree. Too much doomsday moaning and groaning does no one no good. Ask Greta Thunberg.

About the Author
Dan Bloom curates The Cli-Fi Report at He graduated from Tufts University in Boston in 1971 with a major in Modern Literature. A newspaper editor and reporter since his days in Washington, D.C., Juneau, Alaska, Tokyo, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan, he has lived and worked 5 countries and speaks rudimentary French, Japanese and Chinese. He hopes to live for a few more years.