New Tools for Science Policy

Hopeful Climate Futures through Speculative Storytelling: Decolonizing Global Climate Action Recording

About the Seminar

June 04, 2024 12:00pm—1:30pm

When we think of climate, the stories we tell about the future are bad: megastorms, crop failures, and heat waves loom over us, sending a signal that the problem is so vast, so complex, that it’s out of our control. That narrative is compelling for some, but leaves others feeling helpless and disillusioned. Even the most ardent champions of climate action sometimes focus more on sounding the alarm than on imagining and mapping out what success might look like. Without positive climate futures, visions of climate adaptation and resilience that we can work toward, it’s much harder to motivate broad-based efforts for change in the present. If we hope to design climate policies for a thriving, decarbonized world, we need a collective goal to work towards, not just a catastrophe to avert.

The Climate Action Almanac, published in 2024 by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, presents stories, essays, and art exploring hopeful futures shaped by climate action, grounded in real science and in the complexities of diverse human and physical geographies. The book presents visions of how collective action, aided by scientific insights, culturally responsive technologies, and revolutions in governance and labor, can help us make progress toward sustainable futures. The Almanac’s contributors imagine change building up and out from local contexts—a vibrant, coordinated network, rather than a global decree from on high.

Chinelo Onwualu, a celebrated speculative fiction author and editor and the author of the essay “The Case for Reckless Climate Optimism” in the Almanac, and Joey Eschrich, coeditor of the Almanac discussed the urgency of decolonizing climate action, and transitions to build new structures and definitions of justice and well-being, rather than merely retooling existing systems that perpetuate inequality.