90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
A View From The Climate Changed Future

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

Here’s a story to chill your bones.  It is the year 2393,  almost 400 years from now.  And a Chinese historian is looking back on our century, the 21st century, and trying to explain how the world saw climate change coming and did nothing.  How we denied and delayed as an unbelievable price tag of suffering and destruction gathered around us.  How that suffering finally came – with flood and heat and mass migration and chaos.  How Western civilization collapsed . This hour On Point:   a horror story from the future about climate change and the rest of our lives.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard University. Co-author, with Erik Conway, of “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From The Future” and “Merchants of Doubt.” (@NaomiOreskes)

From Tom’s Reading List

Mother Jones: How Western Civilization Ended, Circa 2014 — “You don’t know it yet. There’s no way that you could. But 400 years from now, a historian will write that the time in which you’re now living is the ‘Penumbral Age’ of human history—meaning, the period when a dark shadow began to fall over us all.”

The Guardian: Researchers tackle link between climate change and public health — “‘People tend to look at climate change as just temperatures getting a little hotter and that being something they can manage,’ said Bruce Armstrong, emeritus professor at the University of Sydney’s school of public health  ‘They don’t seriously see the impacts that will flow from a small increase in the average temperature where the net effect will be enormous.”

NPR Books: Has Climate Change Created A New Literary Genre? — “‘The Odds Against Tomorrow’ is the latest in what seems to be an emerging literary genre. Over the past decade, more and more writers have begun to set their novels and short stories in worlds, not unlike our own, where the Earth’s systems are noticeably off-kilter. The genre has come to be called climate fiction — ‘cli-fi,’ for short.”

Read An Excerpt of “The Collapse of Western Civilization” By Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 29, 2014
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

 
Oct 29, 2014
In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states. We’ll hear from both sides.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments