As one of Australia’s most influential voices on climate, Lesley Hughes has thought deeply about how to talk about the crisis and says hope has a key role to play.
Joy can strengthen our resolve, help us uncover creative solutions, and bolster our resilience. It’s a statement to ourselves and the world that we are still here, undefeated. In this issue, we look at why joy is so crucial in this moment, how to make space for it, and the surprising ways people are channeling it to do better climate and justice work.
A conversations with Katherine Hayhoe about reframing climate conversations positively to inspire action and about how people's views on climate change are more nuanced than just believers or deniers. Most people don't outright reject climate science and risks, but have questions.
Comedians and comedy programs have started to find ways to speak to the climate crisis in their work but how can something so heavy create laughter? Comedy – even if it’s about heavy topics like climate change – can motivate feelings of hope and optimism and combat doomism.
In this article, Rebecca Solnit, argues the need for more and better stories about everything that's happening on the climate solutions front, stories that balance the bad and good news, that give context, that exposes who's responsible for the climate crisis and focus on systems change and collective action.
In this article former physicist, Lauren James, describes her journey to writing her climate change focused novel, Green Rising, and her quest to tackle such a huge, complex topic in a way which felt uplifting, that was character and story focussed. Eventually, she realised that she needed to focus on writing about characters who are actively working to slow climate change, rather than writing a story showing the terrors to come.
In March 2023 the UN released one of its scientific reports offering humanity a 'final warning' to avoid climate catastrophe - but it barely got any coverage. Podcast host Tom Heap explores the question: what is it about bleak climate assessments that can cause people to switch off? He talks to psychologist Dr Sander van der Linden why our brains struggle to process news that scares people and speaks to comedian Tom Walker, AKA Jonathan Pie, about using humour to get the point across.
"There’s something unimaginative about climate change doom, and something unenjoyable about reading a story by an author who’s resigned humanity to this fate. Instead climate change can be a problem waiting to be solved or a mystery waiting to be uncovered. The author of this article proposes a range of climate fiction subgenres that stay categorically far away from doomerism."
It is no good any more to put on a happy face and pretend that a brighter-than-bright future awaits us if we get the wicked problem of climate right. But it's similarly useless, dangerously defeatist, to wallow around in dystopias. What are desperately needed, but as yet barely exist, are thrutopias: Experience the present as paradisiacal, and change it where it isn't, and then we might just get through.
A collection of 24 stories are written by a variety of authors, with the aim to inspire readers with positive visions of what a sustainable society might look like and how we might get there. The stories are diverse in style, ranging from whodunnits to sci-fi, romance to family drama, comedy to tragedy, and cover a range of solution types from high-tech to nature-based solutions, to more systemic aspects relating to our culture and political economy.