As I recounted in my last last post, several editors and reporters I have been in touch with at Jewish communal news outlets in several nations have told me that they plan to do news articles about the rise of a new literary genre called “cli-fi” and how it’s been promoted worldwide by a Jewish public relations guy working a kind of one-man army to get the world’s media to pay attention.
And some success has already come his way, with major articles about cli-fi in international publications, including The New York Times, the BBC, the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate and Salon. And the Chicago Review of Books.
But up until now, not one Jewish newspaper has bothered to report on this, not in Canada, not in Britain, not in the USA. However, when I pitched the story idea to the Forward, one reporter there seemed interested and said “Send me a full pitch.” I’m hoping he’s working on his article now.
So I’m waiting, and I’m patient. In fact, ”patience” is my middle name.
We are a world now divided bitterly over climate change issues. In my view of things, novels and movies can serve to wake people up in ways that politics and ideology cannot. And that’s where cli-fi comes in.
In my late 60s, with a heart stent keeping my ticker ticking, and my days numbered now, I’m combining my Jewish heritage with its emphasis on social justice with my personal concerns about the future impacts of man-made global warming. I’m not religious at all, although I grew up in an animated Jewish family and went to Hebrew School at Temple Beth El in Springfield, Massachusetts, had my bar mitzvah at age 13 and wrote a popular picture book in 1985 for a major New York publisher about Jewish grandparents titled “Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House.”
What motivates me now in my work as a cli-fi PR advocate? As a liberal, progressive Jewish person, I learned from an early age the need to look out for others and have empathy for the world at large. Climate change is the most important issue the humankind has ever faced. As a Jew, I cannot look away. Can you?
Ten years ago, I coined the “cli-fi term as a platform for ”climate fiction” novels and movies. My coinage with its assonance of the sci-fi term, was picked up by reporters around the world and by the ”San Diego Jewish World” newspaper where I once wrote a freelance column about Jewish life and culture.
In 2015, with the help of some savvy IT friends from Taiwan, I set up a website called “The Cli-Fi Report” to broadcast my views about cli-fi and to gather feedback from literary critics and novelists around the world.
I’m not a trust fund kid, and I fund my work myself on a very small shoestring budget, but I did have a father who left me an inheritance more important than money: a Yiddish term called ”menschlekeit.” And to be working on the cli-fi beat as a cli-fi missionary in my late 60s is in direct gratitude for a wonderful life I’ve had on this planet, and it’s also my way of saying thanks to my dad, the late Bernie Bloom of Avenue J. in Brooklyn, born in 1915 and my mom, Sylvia, born in Boston in 1921.
What I want to say today, here is ”thank you Bernie Bloom and Sylvia Bloom, my first teachers.” They taught me that it was important not only to be a mensch in one’s daily life but also to try to help ”repair the world” –”tikkun olam” in Hebrew.
I’m waiting now for the Jewish media in Canada, the UK and the USA to report the news. One day. Before I die.
My days are numbered.