Arts & Culture Environment Good to Know

Fact and Fiction – Cli-Fi

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Cli-Fi (a.k.a. Climate Fiction) is a term for any fictional work that features the effects of climate change and global warming. As this article explains, writers attain different levels of realism depending on how closely they want to represent research findings. This list is a blend of fiction and non-fiction to provide context, imagine solutions, and tell great stories. These are just a few selections from the complete list which can be found in Caledon Public Library’s online catalogue.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Graphic Novel: Published in 1993 but set in 2025, Parable of the Sower takes place on the outskirts of Los Angeles in a world of environmental disaster and water shortages. The library has a graphic novel adaptation.

American War by Omar El Akkad

Fiction: What’s unique about American War is Omar El Akkad is a journalist and even though it is work of fiction, he brings a haunting realism to a future where food security, flooding, and civil war are major concerns. He even redraws the map of north America with Columbus, Ohio as the new capital of the United States after Washington, DC – like New Orleans and Miami – are underwater.

Reminiscence (DVD)

Movie: Directed by Lisa Joy (Creator of HBO’s Westworld), the story of Reminiscence is a cheesy love story which I don’t mind but some people might. What is special about the movie is the worldbuilding and amazing sets featuring half submerged cities and saloons on stilts. Also, you get to see Thandiwe Newton (Westworld) and daughter Nico Parker (The Last of Us) acting side by side.

The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker

Non-fiction: Unlike most health food books, the Dorito Effect focusses on how flavour has affected our appetites and how the Dorito chip is emblematic of broader trends of agriculture in the last hundred years where food is grown to be less flavourful necessitating artificial flavours.

TRCA Presents Microplastics: Tiny but Dangerous

Webinar: This one-hour webinar is a part of the adult virtual programs at the Caledon Public Library on what microplastics are and how they affect the environment. Microplastics was the major plot point of Canadian director David Cronenberg’s most recent film Crimes of the Future.

Glass and Gardens by Sarena Ulibarri

Fiction: Glass and Gardens represent a related genre to Cli-Fi called Solarpunk. “Solarpunk is a type of optimistic science fiction that imagines a future founded on renewable energies. The seventeen stories in this volume are not dull utopias-they grapple with real issues such as the future and ethics of our food sources, the connection or disconnection between technology and nature, and the interpersonal conflicts that arise no matter how peaceful the world is.”

Cli-Fi is itself a sub-genre of science fiction but with so many perspectives there are other related genres such as Solarpunk. What’s enjoyable about Solarpunk is it is a way of engaging with climate change without being discouraging and instead being an arena to explore solutions and better ways of living. Telling stories about disaster is inherently optimistic because it implies that humans can persevere and prevent outcomes which is a better alternative to extinction.

If you are concerned about the environment and want to learn more on a local level be sure to check out the “Environment” tab on Just Sayin’ Caledon for excellent coverage of environmental issues.

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