As the coronavirus crisis stretches out, we may well find ourselves thinking about the longer-term future more vividly and personally than usual. Which big things about our lives will change? Which won’t? Will our world grow better or worse? At least for the moment, it is especially clear that thinking about one disaster can help us think about others.
As Mark Lilla argues in a short New York Times piece, we need to begin by admitting that “No One Knows What’s Going to Happen.” This is true both for the coronavirus, Lilla’s topic, and for climate change.
Facing this fundamental uncertainty, we can then turn to Rebecca Solnit, a strong voice for measured and open-eyed optimism in the face of all we don’t and can’t know. Her words in this piece from The Guardian are clearly as relevant to climate change as to her immediate focus: “The Way We Get Through This Is Together: The Rise of Mutual Aid under Coronavirus.”
To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, interviewing Michelle Obama in the documentary “Becoming,” and as Solnit would certainly agree, we are seeing with hope the possibility of change. You may find fuel for such hope in a very interesting piece that looks directly at the potential post-pandemic politics of climate change, by Rebecca Willis, again in The Guardian: “‘I Don’t Want to Be Seen as a Zealot’: What MPs Really Think about the Climate Crisis.”
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.