Climate change fiction melts away just when it’s needed

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/oct/18/climate-change-fiction

It’s the most urgent problem of our era, but novelists appear singularly reluctant to address it

Posted by Thursday 18 October 2012

“Guys, the ice caps are melting now,” wrote Chris Ross in the Guardian Review last year. “Where are those stories?”

The review’s subject was a collection of short stories, I’m With the Bears, all on the issue of climate change. It featured good writing – from the likes of Margaret Atwood and Lydia Millet – but, as Ross put it, “much of this material seems to have been lifted from the wastebasket.” Why was no one writing fresh fiction about it?

One year on, the question still stands. “In spite of the stakes,” said Andrew Simms on the Guardian’s environment blog the other day, “the issue has receded from the political frontline like a wave shrinking down a beach.” It seems that the wave never quite reached our beach – the beach of fiction writing – in the first place.

Sure, there was Solar. Ian McEwan‘s 2010 satire of a balding, overweight scientist with marriage problems explicitly focused on “the most pressing and complex problem of our time”. That’s the one everyone could probably mention. But after that? There was mainly silence (if you leave aside poetry, where much more seems to be going on, most notably, perhaps, Tom Chivers’ ADRIFT project).

There’s apocalyptic fiction, of course, and you could, I suppose, connect a novel such as Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood to climate change. But is this type of literature really concerned with the issue, or does a vaguely related scenario merely serve as a purpose for other themes and situations? (Also, as environmentalists are increasingly keen to point out, climate change isn’t really about the end of the world at all; it’s about living conditions becoming harder and harder as we go along.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/oct/18/climate-change-fiction

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Over Half of All Wetlands on Earth ‘Destroyed’ in Last 100 Years

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/10/17-4

Common Dreams staff
Published on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 by Common Dreams

Over half of all wetlands in the world have been destroyed in the last 100 years due to residential and industrial development, water waste, over-consumption, and pollution says a new report released by the United Nations Environment Program.

According to the report, the “startling figure”—a 50 percent loss of wetlands on earth—signals years of neglect of our world’s ecosystems, as industrialization and development have trumped concerns of biodiversity and water scarcity. As a result, coastal wetland losses in many regions have occurred at a rate of 1.6 percent per year.

“Water security is widely regarded as one of the key natural resource challenges currently facing the world,” the authors of the report state. “Human drivers of ecosystem change, including destructive extractive industries, unsustainable agriculture and poorly managed urban expansion, are posing a threat to global freshwater biodiversity and water security for 80 per cent of the world’s population.”

The report was compiled through The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project and presented at this year’s UN Convention on Biodiversity.

Reporting on this year’s convention, being held through the end of this week in India, Friends of the Earth International pleaded with the international community to put forth biodiversity protection policies such as vast conservation proposals and increased governmental regulation of resource extraction, as apposed to the business-based free market model known as the ‘Financialization of Nature,’ which has largely dominated the convention. Such policies promote market-based schemes like pollution trading, water markets, and privatization and commodification of common resources, frowned upon by environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and Food and Water Watch.

Complete article at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/10/17-4

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