When climate change is the focus of both fiction and nonfiction, dystopia tends to rule. A notable exception is the prize-winning work of Kim Stanley Robinson, one of the planet’s most lauded living novelists of science fiction—and one who builds sweeping visions of profoundly altered, but functioning, civilizations on (and off) a deeply disrupted planet.
In a rare stop at Columbia, Robinson shifted his focus to the present to speak on shaping public imaginations toward an embrace of the Green New Deal. He then had a climate conversation with the audience, Kate Wagner (architecture critic at the New Republic and contributor to Curbed, The Atlantic, and other publications), and Dr. Maureen Raymo (a paleoceanographer at Columbia’s Earth Institute who studies the history of climate change and sea level rise). The discussion was moderated by Andrew Revkin, who’s been writing on global warming since the 1980s and is now directing a new Earth Institute initiative on communication and sustainability.