Category: Climate Change

Climate change related posts.

I feel terrible about Notre-Dame. It’s a unique architectural wonder that deserves to be preserved. Its place, at the centre of Paris, is more than merely physical. It holds ground in hearts and minds, in literature, in cultural and historical spirituality. Not only valued by those that live in Paris, but by all those around the world that have been drawn to and affected by its qualities.

But it’s a building. It wasn’t always there; it won’t always be there. As money pours in to preserve it, I can’t help but think of the calamities ahead that could be avoided if people could only see that the world is burning also. Just like the spire of Notre-Dame, the Earth is in a precarious state. Yet we continue to fail to act effectively, collectively, globally.

If we can come together to save a cathedral, because many believe it has world value, why then can’t we do the same for the planet we live on? It may seem obvious to point out, but here it is, the world has world value too and you’d really miss it if it weren’t there to underpin everything you do.

By all means, save Notre-Dame. Enjoy it for all the reasons it holds significance. But while we’re at it let’s also save our world, and the many natural and ancient wonders being lost daily, so this wonderful building, and we too, have something lasting to stand on.

Evan Shapiro
Author – Road to Nowhere

To Cli-Fi or not to Cli-Fi, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous science fiction or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them?

Yes, a somewhat bastardised version of Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy. Yet if you take a moment to deconstruct it, the answer to why many authors are picking up and running with the Cli-Fi mantra is apparent.

Cli-Fi was coined by journalist Dan Bloom and he champions the propagation of the term through, an academic and literary Facebook group – Cli-Fi, Climate Change & Literary Criticism, and other social media channels.

It is well established that science fiction offers authors and readers the opportunity to enter worlds of possibility. Science fiction has never been restricted by the word ‘science’. On the contrary, science fiction explores morality, social constructs and the edges of human behaviour. It is no surprise then, as we face climate change, the greatest dilemma to have challenged our species, that creative minds would act to both express their dismay but also to offer hope and possibility beyond what is considered in the media or around the water cooler.

I started writing my novel ROAD TO NOWHERE in 1996 as a reaction to stories of global warming in the news. It struck me as alarming then, that as a species we were being very slow to act. It alarms me even more now. I remember learning about greenhouse gasses in primary school and being taught about the life cycle of the sun and what life would be like for people at its different stages. These early encounters with popular science stayed firm in my mind and somehow colluded with many other ideas to form this book.

ROAD TO NOWHERE doesn’t sit easily within the Sci-Fi genre. It’s part thriller, conspiracy, satire, philosophical exploration and there is even a touch of romance. There is sex in there too, because for many people sex and desire are overpowering forces often never understood or controlled.

Cli-Fi brings all the competing genres within my book together and sums up what it is about. For me, that is an exploration of the fundamental duality of our species. Our determined headlong drive into self-destruction polarised by an opposing instinct for self-preservation and survival.

By exploring climate change in fiction, authors can take fellow human beings through an experience they have not considered. Isn’t that the function of all fiction?

By coining the term Cli-Fi, Dan Bloom brings works together that exist across the world of literary fiction. The aim is simple. We want to save the planet and we want to save our species and we want to save those we love and we want to save ourselves. It can feel powerless when observing history unfold, watching the proverbial train wreck before your eyes with no means in your power to change it.

Cli-Fi gives us that means. With the feeling of powerlessness, the ability to share ideas becomes essential. Words change minds and minds change reality.

As a writer, there are many stories I want to explore, but for the moment I can’t look away from the big glob of murky uncertainty before me. I must deconstruct it, I must make sense of what we are collectively doing. Is it too much to hope that along the way, I and other authors, might bring a few readers along with us? The conceit of the writer is all I can offer. At the very least if you don’t change your mind I hope I entertain you to the end. I suddenly feel like one of the members of the quartet on the Titanic, offering a melodic knowing tune as the boat sinks into the deathly cold waters. Regardless I will continue to Cli-Fi because frankly, I don’t know what else I can do.

Evan Shapiro
Author – Road To Nowhere

I have an itchy spot on my right calf. It’s probably mild eczema. I have seen the doctor who has referred me to a skin specialist but I’m yet to follow-up on that appointment. Dr Google says it could be one of eighteen conditions. I’m ruling out some of the nastier probabilities on the basis that there are no other symptoms and if it was something really nasty then I’d probably actually feel sick or it would have gotten a lot worse by now. In the meantime, I don’t always notice it but occasionally it gets insanely itchy and I find myself scratching the hell out of it. My sensible voice says, 'don't scratch, go and find out what it is and get it treated'. The sooner the better as the unknown can often be more problematic than the known.


So that’s my leg, and apart from it registering itchy sensations, it’s strangely giving me a little perspective. I mean, it’s itchy, it’s been itchy for a year and yet I’m so slow to act. Like everyone, I’m so caught up in everything else I’m doing that I keep telling myself I don’t have time to see a doctor. It’s just an itch and everything will be ok, surely? Well I actually do think it will be ok, but what if I do nothing and in another year it isn’t just an itch? While I continue to do nothing about it, my annoying itch makes me think, ‘Is the increase in global temperatures just the world’s itchy leg? Why do we ignore the obvious until it’s too late to do anything about it?


I’m calling the specialist today and making that appointment. I can’t expect anyone else to listen to my resolutions if I don’t act on them myself. I don't want to lose the argument with myself and wind up not having a leg to stand on. Perhaps you have something of your own you should be getting checked? The world does, and while we are very busy living our lives we are missing the obvious. If we don’t take care of ourselves and where we live then this whole thing is going to be over much faster than any of us might like to think. Forget about not having a leg, I'd really like to keep having a world to stand on. 


Evan Shapiro
Author – Road To Nowhere

I’m not saying I’m unhappy about the Paris Outcome. It’s certainly a great moment in history. It’s just after Copenhagen and well basically the collective history of humanity, I’m suspicious. As a species have we got what it takes to not only stick to this agreement and transition away from dirty power but also to go further and actually save ourselves and our planet from devastating climate change and toxic pollution.

This is the same UN collective that has signed agreements protecting human rights yet flagrantly flaunt abuses not only to the agreement but also to actual humans. From the comfort of my middle class existence here in Australia I’m ashamed of my own country’s human rights abuses and its lack of vision on climate change. Part of the Paris Outcome is an agreement for carbon emissions to peak by 2030 before shifting to a target of zero emissions for the second half of the century. The cynic in me feels there will be a free for all push to get as much out of the coal industry as possible before 2050, and then some, as emissions decline. Even if every country does what it has agreed to in Paris there is still going to be a huge amount of polluting going on well towards the end of the 21st centaury.

What is it about us that makes us so blind to our own self destructive nature? I don’t have an answer but I have been contemplating my own actions and found in my everyday life I’m no better than the collective. I want to give up sugar, but find it difficult to stay away from sweet things. I want to eat raw or unprocessed foods as much as possible, to eat less meat due to its impact on the planet but also its direct affect on my digestive system, but find various exceptions allow all these things to creep back into my diet. My own body is surely as important to me as the only planet I have to live on. It’s the only body I have and the only means I know of to keep me here as long as possible, yet I willingly allow toxins into my system through poor dietary choices. When you look at how we treat ourselves is it any wonder we are doing the same thing to the only home we have?

Why is it that fiction sits so fundamentally at the core of our society? We invite fiction into our lives in many forms and as a species we always have – from cave painting, oral storytelling traditions, through music and song, visual art, books, radio, cinema, television to digital media. We accept storytelling as a means of both sharing ideas but also as pure entertainment and while clearly defining content into two categories of fiction and non-fiction a fundamental commonality remains. Fiction or non-fiction, our brain likes stories. We respond emotionally to what we call reality in the same way as we respond to what we call fiction. We laugh, we cry, we learn.

Is it such a stretch then to propose that fiction holds its place of importance because our lives are fictions too? That does not mean we can’t call our lives real, or take them seriously, but our lives are essentially the same as that of a character in a book, an extremely elaborate and detailed construction. When you realise your brain’s powerful ability to create and accept fiction, I think you can start to see how to control it, how to shape it into what you desire rather than going along with it as a passive passenger.

I started writing my novel ROAD TO NOWHERE in 1996 as a reaction to stories of global warming in the news. It struck me as alarming then, that as a species we were being very very slow to act. It alarms me even more now. I remember learning about green house gases in primary school and being taught about the life cycle of the sun and what life would be like for people at its different stages. These early encounters with popular science stayed firm in my mind and somehow colluded with a number of other ideas to form this book.

ROAD TO NOWHERE was written over a number of years as I balanced or rather imbalanced my life around work and family. In 2010 I started a new novel, but suddenly put it aside in favour of completing this book. Hitting my mid 40s I felt a great need to actually finish a project especially one I had already invested so much time and energy in.

I’ve experienced a great deal of change over the years of writing this book and that is reflected in its pages. Some aspects I’ve kept to remain faithful to the author I was at 28 when I first outlined the novel. Other elements have pushed their way in over time and finally my current headspace had a good deal to do with rounding it out and finishing it all off.!evan-shapiro/ca0q