Writing Fiction About A Changing Climate : 1A "We can end ourselves with words. But we can also save ourselves," says cli-fi author Lydia Millet.

Want to support 1A? Give to your local public radio station and subscribe to this podcast. Have questions? Find us on Twitter @1A.
NPR logo

Writing Fiction About A Changing Climate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/841568847/841717487" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Writing Fiction About A Changing Climate

1A

Writing Fiction About A Changing Climate

Writing Fiction About A Changing Climate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/841568847/841717487" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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. ORLANDO SIERRA/ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
ORLANDO SIERRA/ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images

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.

ORLANDO SIERRA/ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images

We now understand what happens when we don't act quickly.

The coronavirus pandemic taught us that addressing an issue early makes a tremendous difference. Some are hoping the outbreak will be a wake-up call for how we respond to another global crisis, which could have even greater consequences: climate change.

It's an issue that can often feel overwhelming and beyond our grasp. Maybe you think about the threat of climate change all the time but aren't sure what you can do to help. Or maybe just the thought of it makes you anxious because the problem just feels too big.

It's this kind of cosmic anxiety that fiction writers are exploring in their work, through stories of characters grappling with how to live through a global crisis—while also dealing with personal ones.

With us to talk about "cli-fi," or climate fiction, is Amy Brady, editor-in-chief of the Chicago Review of Books, where she writes "Burning Worlds," a monthly column which explores fiction and climate change, Jenny Offill, author of "Weather," a novel about a woman trying to balance the anxieties of climate change with daily life and Lydia Millet, writer and editor for the Center for Biological Diversity and author of "A Children's Bible."

Like what you hear? Find more of our programs online.