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Writing Fiction About A Changing Climate

Local residents collect shells of dead mollusks at a beach on the Gulf of Fonseca. Some suspect climate change caused a massive death of mussels, clams, and other mollusks on the shores, beaches and estuaries of this sector of Honduras bordering Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Local residents collect shells of dead mollusks at a beach on the Gulf of Fonseca. Some suspect climate change caused a massive death of mussels, clams, and other mollusks on the shores, beaches and estuaries of this sector of Honduras bordering Nicaragua and El Salvador.

The threat of climate change can feel overwhelming for many people, especially when you’re trying to balance this existential burden with the demands of daily life. 

This anxiety has no doubt been underpinned by the current global pandemic. 

But it’s this challenge of wrapping our heads around huge global issues while juggling the smaller problems in our personal lives that many fiction writers are tackling in their work. 

Writer and conservationist Lydia Millet  says

“Climate change is a social and spiritual emergency as well as a political, scientific one. Clearly all the arts need to address themselves to it, and never fear, soon enough they’ll have to. All too fast that confrontation will be unavoidable. The fact that we can’t put out the fires and lower the seas with words or pictures or music doesn’t mean we’re off the hook for trying.” 

We talk with three writers about how they’re addressing climate change in their fiction and the role of literature in helping us through global crises.

 

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