Literature

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, 2021. A novel set between 15th c. Constantinople, Idaho in 2020, and space some time in the future. He says “The world we’re handing our kids brims with challenges: climate instability, pandemics, disinformation. I wanted this novel to reflect those anxieties but also offer meaningful hope.”

The Carbon Diaries: 2015, and Carbon Diaries: 2017 by Saci Lloyd, 2009 and 2010. Young adult novels. 

Laura, a student in London, keeps a diary as the UK imposes carbon rationing after weather-related disasters. She attempts to stay grounded as the stresses of rationing and extreme weather tear at the social fabric of her world.

 

The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, (Oryx and Crake 2003, The Year of the Flood, 2009, MaddAddam, 2013).  (Being adapted into a TV series by HULU).  A "bio punk" post-apocalyptic world that "shows us how a new world can come from something which seemed always destined to break."  The conclusion points towards the ultimate endurance of community and love.  

Overstory by Richard Powers, 2018.  Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about humans and trees and their deep connections.  Magnificent writing and powerful eco-advocacy.  

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, 2020. An amazing “what-if” mapping out a possible (mostly) positive scenario for the next 50 years.  Chock full of great solution ideas, could it be a blueprint for real-life world leaders today?

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, 1993. Considered one of the first climate novels, a forerunner in treating climate change and social inequality.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2019. (non-fiction) Essays intricately interweaving botany, personal experience, and indigenous wisdom.  A truly outstanding book.

Poetry:

James Franco, I Was Born in Into a World, 2016

I was born into a world 
Before recycling was a thing, 
Before oil wars, 
When the biggest world 
Threat was nuclear. 

The only extinct thing 
Was the Dodo, 
We consumed and junked. 
Then we were told about 
Droughts, and disappearing 
Rainforests. 
About melting ice caps, 
And we fought Iraq 
For a second time, 
Like father like son, 
We needed our oil 
Because we didn’t want 
Those electric cars. 
At one time there were 
Huge monsters that 
Walked where we walk, 
Nature swallowed them easy. 
Or maybe you believe 
It all started with Adam and Eve, 

But they too were kicked 
From the garden 
As are we, 
With our poison beaches 
Run down towns 
And our atmosphere 
That kills. 
I write a poem 

And preach to the converted. 
We send out loud messages 
To ourselves, 
That our world is dying: 
1984, Blade Runner, 
Armageddon, The Road. 
I’ve yet to read a book, 
Or watch a film about a future 
I’d like to live in. 
Fortunately for me, 
I’ll die before the earth, 
But I’d like a place for my 
Computer chip self 
To click and beep 

In bright, clean happiness. 

Maura Dooley, Still Life with Sea Pinks and High Tide, 2016

Thrift grows tenacious at the tide’s reach.
What is that reach when the water
is rising, rising?

Our melting, shifting, liquid world won’t wait
for manifesto or mandate, each
warning a reckoning.

Ice in our gin or vodka chirrups and squeaks
dissolving in the hot, still air
of talking, talking.

 

Matthew Olzmann, Letter to Someone Living 50 Years from Now, 2017

It begins with,

"Most likely, you think we hated the elephant,

the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations

of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction..."

For entire poem

 

Lynna Odel, November, 2020

It begins with,

"If I can't save us

then let me feel you

happy and safe

under my chin..."

For entire poem

Camille T Dungy, A Massive Dying Off, 2011 

It begins with,

 “When the fish began their dying you didn’t worry

      you bought new shoes...”

For entire poem

Molly Fisk, Particulate Matter,2018 (about the CA wildfires)

 It begins with,

“If all you counted were tires on the cars left in driveways and stranded beside the roads…” 

For entire poem