We might not realize it immediately, but fiction plays an important role in shaping society’s narratives of the design of nature’s future, both positively and negatively. This importance of fiction is not meant to undermine that of news outlets, as those are helpful for showing a broad audience current technologies and the problems currently facing the world, but as we saw during our class’s “(strongly) agree, (strongly) disagree” activity, the news hasn’t inspired many of us to really try to make a change. As John Scalzi says, “The science fictional idea here is not the technology involved, but the idea there is a global will to make the switch in the face of… greed and inertia” (Huffington Post).
The news shows us what is happening in the present, but fiction shows us the possibilities of the future. While popular movies like WALL-E, Interstellar, Mad Max, and others we came up with during our discussion may present interesting and captivating stories, they contribute to a negative narrative describing a hopeless future for nature. If all our visions of the future are of desert wastelands or of escaping an inhospitable Earth, the future we make will not stray too far from this fiction. On the other hand, fictions that discuss a positive design for nature’s future help keep that future open-ended; “The two glimpses shown… are intended to open up possibilities, to challenge expectations about the fixity of the future” (Lund University, p. 7). Nature’s future doesn’t have to be some post-apocalyptic wasteland where our descendants brawl in the Thunderdome, it could just as well be a green utopia where humans experience a connection and compassion for nature—but we need more fictions that support this vision of hope if we want to make the positive future a reality.
Two possible fictional futures, one a product of negative narratives, and one of positive narratives.
Ryan, C., Gaziulusoy, I., McCormick, K., & Trudgeon, M. (2016). Virtual City Experimentation: A Critical Role for Design Visioning. In J. Evans, A. Karvonen, & R. Raven (Eds.), The Experimental City (pp. 1-18). Routledge.
Crum, M. (2017, February 07). We Asked Sci-Fi Writers About The Future Of Climate Change. Retrieved September 05, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sci-fi-writers-predict-future-of-climate-change_us_588f9e46e4b0c90efeff2b0e