Fiction: our window into what the future could look like

Fiction: our window into what the future could look like

I think fiction has the power to shape our narratives around the design of nature’s future, whether in a positive or negative way. When we read a piece of fiction, we enter a new and fresh world constructed by the author. We are asked to leave behind our biases, our perceptions and our beliefs about how the universe works to fully immerse ourselves in and follow the narrative the author is presenting. When we come back from the journey of the story, we are encouraged to challenge, change, question the world we believed in prior to reading the work of fiction. Whether or not we accept the visions authors put forth in their fiction is up to us, but the fact will always remain that we will have been exposed to something different.

Author Lidia Yuknavitch recognizes the power stories hold especially in setting a model of relationship between humans and the environment. Past fictional narratives about the environment have often revolved around a story of conquest and exploit: the famous Man against Nature. In order to “move away from [these] colonization impulses”, Yuknavitch urges us to radically change our relationship with the environment and invest in one that is deeply rooted in love. If readers were to be immersed in a fictional world where they would clearly see what a world based on love for the environment would look like, then their perception of what is possible and impossible would change.

A film like Avatar seem to share the same vision of the future as Yuknavitch. The movie narrates the story of Pandora, an opulent and lush planet, inhabited by the local tribe of the Na’vi and threatened by the colonization of humans. The movie takes the viewers, through astounding and beautiful imagery, into an imaginative discovery of what an idyllic relationship to Nature looks like: the Na’vi people live in complete harmony with their environment and are both figuratively and quite literally connected to it.

Although the lifestyle of the Na’vi people feels undeniably very remote to our situation in the 21st century, I think that as the viewers, at the end of the movie, we can’t but wonder what are the steps we should take to get the closest possible that relationship with Nature, to that love.

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