Are you wondering what in the world this could be? I did. It sounded vaguely naughty. But since my go-to page for strange holidays doesn’t go in for that sort of thing, I looked it up. Cli-Fi is a new genre of fiction, related to science fiction, but specifically speculating about what climate change might mean for the future of humanity.
I’m not certain it is celebrated on April 20. I’ve read both that it is always on this date and that it is tied to Earth Day, which will be Saturday. But whether it is officially on this day or not, cli-fi serves a useful purpose. The term cli-fi was coined by blogger Dan Bloom in 2007. It entered into mainstream use when Margaret Atwood tweeted about it in 2013.
One of the things that the writers of cli-fi hope to accomplish is to make the dangers of climate change accessible to non-scientists. Dan Bloom says, “literature has an important role to play in getting people (and especially our political leaders) to understand on an emotional and moral level just how important it is to alter our plush, gas-guzzling, CO2 emitting, coal-burning, slash-burn-consume lifestyles before it is too late.” He went on to say that he hopes for a modern day equivalent of On the Beach by Neville Shute, which awakened the world to the dangers of atomic war.
Since people are becoming interested in The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, I’ll just mention here her cli-fi trilogy, MaddAddam. Your local library probably has some other cli-fi, but you won’t find it listed under that. Some will be found by using the subject “dystopian fiction,” but that covers other kinds of disasters than those caused by climate change, and besides, not all cli-fi is dystopian. Some stories tell the tale of how humanity survives the challenges.
If you are more of a visual person, one such movie is The Day After Tomorrow.
So whether this intrigues you or not, you have learned a new word today!
Quotes about climate change
All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.–Barack Obama
The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.–Al Gore
Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity… We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet.–Leonardo DiCaprio
Climate change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority.–Bill Gates
Climate change is a planetary crisis. We’ve got to act, and we have to act boldly.–Bernie Sanders
As governor I have seen the tremendous changes over the last few years; the amount of land that we have lost, the trees that we have lost, the homes that we have lost, lives that have been lost, and it is due to a large extent to global warming.–Arnold Schwarzenegger
I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?–Robert Redford
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3 thoughts on “International Cli-Fi Day”
Definitely learned something new today. Never heard of the term, but have seen movies and read books that fall under that category. I’ve been wanting to read “Maddaddam” for some time. Your piece has prompted me to check it out.
Hooray! Glad the post had an impact. On a related note, I finally got hold of your book, Maya and the Book of Everything. Hoping to get it read in the next few days.
Though I’m a huge fanperson of Octavia Butler and she is my #1 fave author (and has written cli-fi ofc), my favorite cli-fi book I’ve read so far is called Orleans. It’s heartbreaking, breathtaking, beautifully written, and if you listen to audiobooks, you will fall in LOVE with the narrator. I literally gasped a couple of times and I don’t do that. Happy cli-fi day and happy 4/20. 🙂