The goal of Views of a Changing Planet was to think about how narratives shape our understanding of, and reactions to, issues of global change. Recent research in cognitive science has suggested that reading fiction can help foster numerous virtues; in particular, this literature connects reading fiction with an expanded ability to be empathetic towards others. Motivated by this research, we asked students to write their own fictional narratives with two goals in mind. First, we wanted them to think seriously about what the (economic, political, social, technological, and environmental) future of our planet might look like, but we also hoped that writing and reading eco-narratives might help close the gap between scientific understanding and public concern in a way that could spur action on global change issues. Here’s what the students came up with:
I’ve never felt more alone…
Abby Hatch, a major in biology and a minor in mathematics, imagines a world where people have been removed from healthcare. Read the story here.
The Last War
Alex Kohn, an American Studies Major and STS minor, takes a satirical look at the future where the United States will stop at nothing to contain any information regarding global warming. Available as an audio performance here.
Deep and Blue
Julia Butler, who majors in sociology and psychology, personifies environmental change in her story. Read the story here.
Lily Crane, who studies anthropology and the environment, imagines how those dedicated to environmentalism cope with the slow pace of change. Read the story here.
Food or Family?
Nolan Dumont, a biology major, imagines a future where sustenance is scarce. Read the story here.
GBN’s Special Report: InterCamp’s Dark Secret
Rich Jeong, an anthropology and science, technology, and society double major, imagines the tension that might arise when aiding environmental refugees becomes big business. Read the story here.
Pressure to be efficient causes tension between romantic partners in this story by creative writing major Sarah Leathe. Read the story here.
I’ve always liked numbers
Statistics and humanity clash in this future imagined by music major Tommy Webel. Available as an audio story here.