Science Fiction Transforms Present Concerns into Future Scenarios

For a couple of years now, science fiction tries to come to terms with the impending doom of the climate catastrophe. Basically, there are four ways of dealing with it: science fiction either sets its action in the far future in a “galaxy far, far away” and just goes on to tell about galactic empires, battles in space and exotic alien races; or it paints some post-apocalyptic doom scenario as a warning; or it presents a near-future world where climate change is no more than background noise; just a few texts offer solutions to our current situation, most of them involving an omniscient and omnipotent AI that steers the fortune of mankind towards a better end.
Dystopia as a Wake-up Call
The analyzed science fiction narratives often present worst-case scenarios, with some sort of environmental or meteorological catastrophe as their starting point.
In many societies there is a strong awareness that we as humans have to adapt our way of living in order to protect our planet, which is our home, and keep it inhabitable for the generations to come. This awareness entails many challenges for our present way of life.

The question that particularly interests us here is: Can science fiction help us think in new ways to establish a more sustainable way of life?

Post-apocalyptic stories depict life on earth under extreme conditions - these stories are meant to provoke and leave the audience reflecting on our present way of life and what it might mean for the planet’s future.

When comparing value studies and science fiction stories, one issue comes up as a major concern in both: human-induced climate change and natural disasters caused by global warming are perceived as extremely threatening.

While the value studies show up people’s concerns and reflect their wish that local and global institutions should act more resolutely and systematically, science fiction stories depict either dystopic or utopian scenarios of the future.
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Utopian Counter-Movements
Will we ever restore the balance between consumption and the regenerative capacities of our planet?
A relatively young sub-genre of science fiction attempts to transform this dystopian outlook into a more hopeful narrative: The Solarpunk movement focusses on positive narratives in an ecologically stable world after mankind has successfully overcome the current problems and started to live in harmony with the natural environment. 

In 2019, the film 2040 by the Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau got released, also bringing the idea of anti-dystopia to the screen. The movie presents a positive picture of change in the future, including solutions like circular economy, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, marine regeneration or the empowerment of women and girls.
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There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you.


2040 (2019)
Don’t Look Up (2021)
Snowpiercer (2014) 
The 5th Wave (2016) 
At the Surisol Underwater Lab (2020)
Wall-E (2008) 
Waterworld (1995)