One of the more thought-provoking books I read this summer was Love in the Anthropocene, a collection of stories by Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam. As the title suggests, the tales in this volume are about what the world is becoming and will be as a result of climate change.
Interestingly the world Jamieson and Nadzam depicts is not a Hollywood-style apocalyptic landscape, but an earth largely bereft of natural environments, where zoos house the last animals, natural food is rare, cities have adjusted to catastrophic weather, and those fortunate enough to live inside the bubble of “civilization” are surrounded by vast discarded populations who are left to tough it out on the outskirts of “normal life.”
What is striking about this scenario is that it is not necessarily dystopian for the characters who inhabit it because they have simply come to accept a world we might be horrified by as “the way it is.” Put another way, for these future humans the demise of nature has been naturalized as a simple fact of life, just like the brutal inequality and the blithe replacement of the real with the simulation that defines their social landscape. [Read more…]