Climate for Change — Introduction
A serial novel in the form of correspondence among a family living in Wisconsin and Minnesota while the world as we know it collapses around us. This is the best place to start reading:
A Note from Benjamin:
What you have in front of you is a collection of letters and other correspondence from the fateful year when everything changed and the climate crisis reached a tipping point. My mom, Carol, helped a lot because she kept everything in a big scrapbook. Thanks, Mom! She even printed out text messages. I thought it was weird at the time. She could see what I couldn’t see because I was right in the middle of it. We were in a historic time. After my son found the scrapbook during our recent move, I promised him I would arrange it all so he could read the letters in order.
It’s easy to look back on that time and see what a painful, but necessary, turning point it was for the USA and the whole planet. While it was happening, it was far from clear that we would make it through the troubles. In fact, I gave up so many times I can’t count them. Since then, I have been very aware of turning points. I watch for them. What are the moments that could go one way or the other? And what are the actions or words that influence the outcome? When is it time to panic? When is it time to fight? When is it time to run? I wish I could say that I have gotten better at seeing turning points coming, but I’m still much better at seeing them in hindsight.
When I first compiled these letters for my son, I thought about leaving some stuff out. I was embarrassed by how selfish young Benjamin seemed. There were also stories that were painful for me to read through again. I had successfully locked away some of those memories, and reading through them opened it all up. I didn’t want my son to have to feel those feelings, but then I also didn’t want him to miss out on feeling those feelings. In the end, I just retyped it all and edited for spelling and a little grammar for clarity. I organized the stories into chapters, too, with titles and everything. I wanted him, and now you, to have the whole story. After my son read all the letters, he encouraged me to share them with you all. When I looked through all the correspondence, I could see that some letters seemed to be missing. There are big gaps. Either I didn’t write letters, or the letters were lost; either way, you will have to imagine the content because I want the letters to speak for themselves.
Author’s note: I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to respond. As I was writing the first draft in November of 2018, a good friend cautioned me to “make it hopeful.” This is a tall order in the world of dystopian fiction, but his challenge to me helped me to see that “make it hopeful” is not just good advice for writing. As our present world starts to look more and more like a catastrophe in action, I find I am challenged daily to stay hopeful and not fall into cynicism and defeatism. Stay hopeful!
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