With all this talk of the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Agreement, it felt apt to repost this ramblly-post about the personal climate essay as an emerging new genre
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On the personal climate essay
I’d never stopped to think about the degree to which weather shaped my consciousness until I moved somewhere without much of it.
I’m a total nerd for established climate fiction, and emerging climate genres. 💯 nerd.
In response to Frankenstein (perhaps the first piece of climate fiction?) the question was posed: “How do you write about the psychological impacts of climate change on an individual and on a society?”
I think the personal climate essay is a good way of doing just that!
- A hyperobject is a phenomenon or object that is so massively distributed in time and space that we struggle to perceive it.
…which is maybe the reason some folks struggle to understand the urgency of our global climate situation. Climate change is REALLY REALLY big. Mind boggelingly big. HUGE. Bigger than huge. The climate has, historically, gone about its business at a fairly geologic-pace. Come the dawn of the industrial revolution, however, things started to change. The pace started to quicken. We’re reaching a point where the climate is getting ready to lap us, and leave us in the dust. We need to act. 😱 😰 😵
None of this is news. I’m just panicking now. Back to the topic at hand. Personal climate essays.
I think the personal climate essay is a powerful tool in combating climate change because it offers individual entrance to, perspective on, and articulation of a hyperobject.
Some folks don’t have the luxury of needing literary articulation of a hyperobject. A climate refugee’s lived experience is articulation enough. Nonetheless, I’m glad to see this excellent piece of writing published online because we probably need all the perspective we can muster.
Woof, post got a little heavier then I anticipated it would! 😳
Follow up item: Buzzfeed is knocking it out of the park! Here is an intimate (as opposed to personal?) medical essay, this one contextualizes the importance of affordable healthcare.