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Blues for a Blue Planet : Narratives of Climate Change and the Anthropocene in Non-Fiction Books

Helsing, Daniel LU (2017) In Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 1(2).
Abstract (Swedish)
The planetary changes associated with the Anthropocene, including climate change and extinction of species, pose severe threats to civilization, humanity, and the natural world as we know it. They also pose special challenges to the human imagination. To meet these challenges, climate change communicators use narratives. Nonfiction books intended for a general audience employ two radically different narratives: the “We can solve it” (WCSI) narrative, and the “We won’t solve it” (WWSI) narrative. The WCSI narrative currently dominates mainstream media and books, but there is a strong possibility that the WWSI narrative is closer to the truth. Differences between the two narratives center on the meaning and usefulness of hope. In Elizabeth... (More)
The planetary changes associated with the Anthropocene, including climate change and extinction of species, pose severe threats to civilization, humanity, and the natural world as we know it. They also pose special challenges to the human imagination. To meet these challenges, climate change communicators use narratives. Nonfiction books intended for a general audience employ two radically different narratives: the “We can solve it” (WCSI) narrative, and the “We won’t solve it” (WWSI) narrative. The WCSI narrative currently dominates mainstream media and books, but there is a strong possibility that the WWSI narrative is closer to the truth. Differences between the two narratives center on the meaning and usefulness of hope. In Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction (2014)—a WWSI narrative—wonder, lament, and understanding replace hope. Strategies of nonattachment also fulfill psychological functions. A WWSI perspective provides a much-needed complement to the triumphant narrative inherent in most mainstream popular science. (Less)
Abstract
The planetary changes associated with the Anthropocene, including climate change and extinction of species, pose severe threats to civilization, humanity, and the natural world as we know it. They also pose special challenges to the human imagination. To meet these challenges, climate change communicators use narratives. Nonfiction books intended for a general audience employ two radically different narratives: the “We can solve it” (WCSI) narrative, and the “We won’t solve it” (WWSI) narrative. The WCSI narrative currently dominates mainstream media and books, but there is a strong possibility that the WWSI narrative is closer to the truth. Differences between the two narratives center on the meaning and usefulness of hope. In Elizabeth... (More)
The planetary changes associated with the Anthropocene, including climate change and extinction of species, pose severe threats to civilization, humanity, and the natural world as we know it. They also pose special challenges to the human imagination. To meet these challenges, climate change communicators use narratives. Nonfiction books intended for a general audience employ two radically different narratives: the “We can solve it” (WCSI) narrative, and the “We won’t solve it” (WWSI) narrative. The WCSI narrative currently dominates mainstream media and books, but there is a strong possibility that the WWSI narrative is closer to the truth. Differences between the two narratives center on the meaning and usefulness of hope. In Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction (2014)—a WWSI narrative—wonder, lament, and understanding replace hope. Strategies of nonattachment also fulfill psychological functions. A WWSI perspective provides a much-needed complement to the triumphant narrative inherent in most mainstream popular science. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
in press
subject
in
Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture
volume
1
issue
2
publisher
Academic Studies Press
ISSN
2472-9884
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1772736b-1ea1-4c28-9223-4fa924bfdab8
date added to LUP
2017-09-07 23:31:56
date last changed
2017-09-08 14:23:57
@article{1772736b-1ea1-4c28-9223-4fa924bfdab8,
  abstract     = {The planetary changes associated with the Anthropocene, including climate change and extinction of species, pose severe threats to civilization, humanity, and the natural world as we know it. They also pose special challenges to the human imagination. To meet these challenges, climate change communicators use narratives. Nonfiction books intended for a general audience employ two radically different narratives: the “We can solve it” (WCSI) narrative, and the “We won’t solve it” (WWSI) narrative. The WCSI narrative currently dominates mainstream media and books, but there is a strong possibility that the WWSI narrative is closer to the truth. Differences between the two narratives center on the meaning and usefulness of hope. In Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction (2014)—a WWSI narrative—wonder, lament, and understanding replace hope. Strategies of nonattachment also fulfill psychological functions. A WWSI perspective provides a much-needed complement to the triumphant narrative inherent in most mainstream popular science.},
  author       = {Helsing, Daniel},
  issn         = {2472-9884},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  publisher    = {Academic Studies Press},
  series       = {Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture},
  title        = {Blues for a Blue Planet : Narratives of Climate Change and the Anthropocene in Non-Fiction Books},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2017},
}