It’s difficult to see through the quagmire of the present into clear-headed visions for the future, but of course it is necessary. This project began in Summer 2021, when conceptions of a new Civilian Climate Corps were being discussed in the United States, built on ideals of the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps. The visions were rooted in romanticism of the past or partisan pragmatism, and we noticed that we needed visions of the future that felt futuristic, but humane enough to avoid utopianism. To imagine how it would look and feel, to do climate-centered labor and organizing in the near future. To help us all wrap our heads around what the coming decades will be. Can be.
We rooted our thinking in Ursula K. Le Guin’s concept of “ambiguous utopia,” and kept finding ourselves wanting more speculative fiction to illustrate and re-imagine what is possible in what feels like a splintered and pessimistic time. Especially important is the perspective from an individual’s point of view, on the ground–in hopes of activating us all for the future. Our stories aren’t written by professional writers, and as such, we hope they provide a space for everyday climate practitioners to imagine their personal futures. Hence, the name of this project – Civilian Climate Futures Project
Our second season is focused on the early stages of how people find their paths into climate activism. It features three stories about activists that might not necessarily call themselves Activists yet. The season, called 'Proactivism,' is about everyday radicalization, and confronting ambiguous truths.
For future seasons, we’re still looking ahead to see what we can imagine, and how fiction can be a tool for creating reality. As environmental and infrastructural change accelerates, we need our dreams to keep pace.
Bryan Lehrer & Lukas WinklerPrins