New book provides a unique way to engage with climate change

22 July 2022 | Story ACDI. Photo Supplied. Read time 4 min.
ACDI and UCT researcher Chris Trisos, along with some colleagues, released a book version of their online cli-fi game, “Survive the Century”.
ACDI and UCT researcher Chris Trisos, along with some colleagues, released a book version of their online cli-fi game, “Survive the Century”.

New book launched from popular online cli-fi game “Survive the Century”, developed by Sam Beckbessinger, Simon Nicholson, and Christopher Trisos. The book provides full-colour illustrations and futuristic news stories to help bring to life different climate change futures. It provides a unique way to engage with climate change because you (the reader) choose how humans respond to climate change up to 2100.

May 2021 saw the release of the online climate fiction game “Survive the Century” created by Sam Beckbessinger in collaboration with climate scientists Dr Christopher Trisos from the African Climate and Development Initiative and Associate Professor Simon Nicholson from the American University.

A year after the online game launch, the creators have now published the game in an interactive book format designed as the ideal gift for anyone wanting to know more about climate change or as a conversation starter in schools or around coffee tables, and for anyone looking for more hopeful climate fiction.

Climate fiction

Survive the Century is an interactive story that positions you as the senior editor of the world’s most popular and trusted news organization. You have the enviable power to set the news agenda, and thereby shift public opinion and shape the future. What if you invest in green technology and cut taxes? What if you rewild half of the world’s agricultural land? What if you unleash your inner supervillain and spark WWIII? What if you block out the sun (just a little bit)?

Along the way, you get to read the headlines of the newspapers of the day that result from your choices, and read news stories from the future written by leading sci-fi writers like Lauren Beukes, Rajat Chaudhuri, Maria Turtschaninoff and Sophia Al- Maria. The book also features playful full-colour illustrations by Annika Brandow.

“A cli-fi book gets us out of our screens and provides a unique way to engage with climate change away from online media. We wanted to create a conversation piece”, states Christopher Trisos, game creator and climate scientist for the book. “We make sense of our past, present and future by telling each other stories.”

Bridging the gap between stories and science

Climate scientists have been at the forefront of the climate movement, using computer simulations and other tools to help predict and communicate the realities of climate change. Unfortunately not everyone can access this research, despite the fact that the choices that everyday people make will matter in the long term.

This is where climate fiction, or cli-fi, comes in. Using stories to illustrate what might be to come can help bridge the gap between complex science and the reality of climate changes in the future. The game creators hope this book can act as an engaging tool for educational contexts. Allowing people, especially teens and young adults, to interact with their choices and see how choices made today can impact their future. This highlights the importance of current climate change research and policy making decisions in an interactive and digestible format.

“This is a game for everyone, but particularly for climate nihilistic Gen Z’s who know about climate change and feel hopeless and frustrated at the inaction they are seeing”, explains Samantha Beckbessinger, author and game creator.

Creating a conversation starter

“Climate change is made and experienced by people. How the future will play out is going to be shaped by choices taken by people today, and tomorrow, and the day after. Our choices matter. It’s not over. There are many choices still ahead of us”, says Christopher Trisos.

You can buy the “Survive the Century” book online in South Africa or internationally, or at Bargain Books as well as from Book Lounge and Kalk Bay Books from June 2022.

Read more about the online game.

This article first appeared on ACDI.

For licensing information please visit the source website.