Voices of the future

Lummina Horlings

Anyone who reads the news these days will recognize that climate change is anything but fiction. Real stories of risk, danger, and loss are conveyed to us daily, whether in relation to wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, glacial melting, rising waters, coral bleaching, species losses, or any other type of ecological distress. he story of climate change is often told as a heroic battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, and us versus them. As this plot unfolds, many people are starting to look more closely at the narratives underlying the story of climate change. What kind of stories are we actually telling ourselves and each other about our future in a changing climate? More importantly, what messages are we conveying about our potential to influence the future, right here and now?

Imagine different futures

Karen O’Brien from the University of Oslo and colleagues have collected stories in the book ‘Our Entangled Future’. A free copy can be download here. In the summary of the book they explain how stories play a powerful role in transmitting personal and collective experiences. They allow us to “feel” climate change in ways that can move us emotionally and open our imagination to new possibilities. They raise our awareness not only to what is happening in the world, but to how it may be experienced by others, both now and in the future. In doing this, stories can change our world “We live our lives through stories. They shape how we see the world, how we relate to it, and not the least, how we engage with it. Now more than ever, we need compelling stories that inspire both individual and collective action”. Stories have to offer us more than hope. They have to help us to imagine and actualize alternative “not-yet-here” realities that enable people and our planet to thrive. They can encourage us to question dominant modes of thinking, relating, acting, and governing, and they can inspire new understandings of the patterns and relationships that are shaping our future.

Adventures for children

While past current generations has contributed to climate change, especially young people will experience the impact of rising temperatures and sea levels during their lifetime. The coming decades will  also be crucial in changing our society to deal with these challenges. How to include the ‘voices of the future’ in debates about climate change? Which stories should we tell our children?

The book ‘Once upon the Future: Everyday Adventures that change the world’ is a great book targeted at children from 7 till 11 years, but also very inspiring for adults to read. It offers an anthology of stories, inspired by the research of 6 sustainability scientists. The book aims at triggering children’s curiosity about their environment, highlight the importance of cultural traditions, nurture feelings of hope and care for the Earth, and empower readers to bring up change in their communities. Each story is sprinkled with humor and magical realism, enlivened with beautiful illustrations, and complemented by educational resources. Using simple yet vibrant language, they convey insights on circular economy, rural development, commoning practices, biodiversity conservation, urban governance, and arts-based leadership. And what are these stories about?
• Join Charlie, a big nosed carrot, as he battles the gang of plastic bottles and searches for the great compost heap. [The Magic Jumble by Anastasia Papangelou]
• Follow Alma and Helio as they discover magical creatures and secret natural realms, while searching for a rare plant that can save their forest from destruction. [Alma in the Woods by Angela Moriggi]
• Meet Olivia who never spends time outdoors until a new classmate from a distant land shows her the joy of street play. [The City’s Heartbeat by Lorena Axinte]
• Gather around the campfire to hear one-eyed Aunt Bloom tell stories of a secret society – the Cosmos Mariners – who battle the Hungry Ghosts destroying our planet. [The Legend of the Cosmos Mariners by Kelli Rose Pearson]
• Go through a magic portal into the Wood Wide Web with Brunaia – a girl who has fused with a young oak tree to restore the lost equilibrium between humans and forests. [Brunaia by Marta Nieto Romero]
• Attend a fashion show with young Jamie, who put his reputation on the line to show off his grandmother’s traditional linen. [Fashionista Jamie by Alessandro Vasta]
Artist Rita Reis has illustrated the book, creating a stylish and whimsical look. Susanne Moser, internationally renowned researcher and consultant on climate change, wrote the foreword: “In the age of Greta Thunberg, in the age of children acting like adults and adults acting like children, who is to say that so-called “children’s stories” aren’t the most important stories for anyone to hear?! Who is to say that these “fairy tales” may just be the truest account, the most honest reflection, of our time?! Who is to say that such little heroine’s and hero’s journeys are not the most remedial stories we could tell our children, or even ourselves?!”
I would agree with her that the book is an example of how to bring research alive and make it accessible to everyone. These stories are written up by young scholars who have challenged themselves to share what they have learned in placed-based research on how to create sustainable places for us to live in and shape. The book is an example of the young having more courage than the old (or at least, well-established) to do something creative and different and path-breaking.
To support this book and get it published in different languages you can join the facebook group and Twitter (@UponFuture) pages of ‘Once Upon the Future’! You can also get in touch via storiesforfuture@gmail.com

 

Anyone who reads the news these days will recognize that climate change is anything but fiction. Real stories of risk, danger, and loss are conveyed to us daily, whether in relation to wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, glacial melting, rising waters, coral bleaching, species losses, or any other type of ecological distress. he story of climate change is often told as a heroic battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, and us versus them. As this plot unfolds, many people are starting to look more closely at the narratives underlying the story of climate change. What kind of stories are we actually telling ourselves and each other about our future in a changing climate? More importantly, what messages are we conveying about our potential to influence the future, right here and now?
Imagine different futures
Karen O’Brien from the University of Oslo and colleagues have collected stories in the book ‘Our Entangled Future’. A free copy can be download here. In the summary of the book they explain how stories play a powerful role in transmitting personal and collective experiences. They allow us to “feel” climate change in ways that can move us emotionally and open our imagination to new possibilities. They raise our awareness not only to what is happening in the world, but to how it may be experienced by others, both now and in the future. In doing this, stories can change our world “We live our lives through stories. They shape how we see the world, how we relate to it, and not the least, how we engage with it. Now more than ever, we need compelling stories that inspire both individual and collective action”. Stories have to offer us more than hope. They have to help us to imagine and actualize alternative “not-yet-here” realities that enable people and our planet to thrive. They can encourage us to question dominant modes of thinking, relating, acting, and governing, and they can inspire new understandings of the patterns and relationships that are shaping our future.
Adventures for children
While past current generations has contributed to climate change, especially young people will experience the impact of rising temperatures and sea levels during their lifetime, while the coming decades are also crucial to change our society. How to include the ‘voices of the future’ in debates about climate change? Which stories should we tell our children?
The book ‘Once upon the Future: Everyday Adventures that change the world’ is a great book targeted at children from 7 till 11 years, but also very inspiring for adults to read. It offers an anthology of stories, inspired by the research of 6 sustainability scientists. The book aims at triggering children’s curiosity about their environment, highlight the importance of cultural traditions, nurture feelings of hope and care for the Earth, and empower readers to bring up change in their communities. Each story is sprinkled with humor and magical realism, enlivened with beautiful illustrations, and complemented by educational resources. Using simple yet vibrant language, they convey insights on circular economy, rural development, commoning practices, biodiversity conservation, urban governance, and arts-based leadership.
• Join Charlie, a big nosed carrot, as he battles the gang of plastic bottles and searches for the great compost heap. [The Magic Jumble by Anastasia Papangelou]
• Follow Alma and Helio as they discover magical creatures and secret natural realms, while searching for a rare plant that can save their forest from destruction. [Alma in the Woods by Angela Moriggi]
• Meet Olivia who never spends time outdoors until a new classmate from a distant land shows her the joy of street play. [The City’s Heartbeat by Lorena Axinte]
• Gather around the campfire to hear one-eyed Aunt Bloom tell stories of a secret society – the Cosmos Mariners – who battle the Hungry Ghosts destroying our planet. [The Legend of the Cosmos Mariners by Kelli Rose Pearson]
• Go through a magic portal into the Wood Wide Web with Brunaia – a girl who has fused with a young oak tree to restore the lost equilibrium between humans and forests. [Brunaia by Marta Nieto Romero]
• Attend a fashion show with young Jamie, who put his reputation on the line to show off his grandmother’s traditional linen. [Fashionista Jamie by Alessandro Vasta]
Artist Rita Reis has illustrated the book, creating a stylish and whimsical look. Susanne Moser, internationally renowned researcher and consultant on climate change, wrote the foreword: In the age of Greta Thunberg, in the age of children acting like adults and adults acting like children, who is to say that so-called “children’s stories” aren’t the most important stories for anyone to hear?! Who is to say that these “fairy tales” may just be the truest account, the most honest reflection, of our time?! Who is to say that such little heroine’s and hero’s journeys are not the most remedial stories we could tell our children, or even ourselves?!
The book is an example of how to bring research alive and make it accessible to everyone. These stories are written up by young scholars who have challenged themselves to share what they have learned in placed-based research on how to create sustainable places for us to live in and shape. The book is an example of the young having more courage than the old (or at least, well-established) to do something creative and different and path-breaking.
To support this book and get it published in different languages you can join the facebook group (@UponFuture) and Twitter (@UponFuture) pages of ‘Once Upon the Future’! You can get in touch via storiesforfuture@gmail.com



Anyone who reads the news these days will recognize that climate change is anything but fiction. Real stories of risk, danger, and loss are conveyed to us daily, whether in relation to wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, glacial melting, rising waters, coral bleaching, species losses, or any other type of ecological distress. he story of climate change is often told as a heroic battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, and us versus them. As this plot unfolds, many people are starting to look more closely at the narratives underlying the story of climate change. What kind of stories are we actually telling ourselves and each other about our future in a changing climate? More importantly, what messages are we conveying about our potential to influence the future, right here and now?
Imagine different futures
Karen O’Brien from the University of Oslo and colleagues have collected stories in the book ‘Our Entangled Future’. A free copy can be download here. In the summary of the book they explain how stories play a powerful role in transmitting personal and collective experiences. They allow us to “feel” climate change in ways that can move us emotionally and open our imagination to new possibilities. They raise our awareness not only to what is happening in the world, but to how it may be experienced by others, both now and in the future. In doing this, stories can change our world “We live our lives through stories. They shape how we see the world, how we relate to it, and not the least, how we engage with it. Now more than ever, we need compelling stories that inspire both individual and collective action”. Stories have to offer us more than hope. They have to help us to imagine and actualize alternative “not-yet-here” realities that enable people and our planet to thrive. They can encourage us to question dominant modes of thinking, relating, acting, and governing, and they can inspire new understandings of the patterns and relationships that are shaping our future.
Adventures for children
While past current generations has contributed to climate change, especially young people will experience the impact of rising temperatures and sea levels during their lifetime, while the coming decades are also crucial to change our society. How to include the ‘voices of the future’ in debates about climate change? Which stories should we tell our children?
The book ‘Once upon the Future: Everyday Adventures that change the world’ is a great book targeted at children from 7 till 11 years, but also very inspiring for adults to read. It offers an anthology of stories, inspired by the research of 6 sustainability scientists. The book aims at triggering children’s curiosity about their environment, highlight the importance of cultural traditions, nurture feelings of hope and care for the Earth, and empower readers to bring up change in their communities. Each story is sprinkled with humor and magical realism, enlivened with beautiful illustrations, and complemented by educational resources. Using simple yet vibrant language, they convey insights on circular economy, rural development, commoning practices, biodiversity conservation, urban governance, and arts-based leadership.
• Join Charlie, a big nosed carrot, as he battles the gang of plastic bottles and searches for the great compost heap. [The Magic Jumble by Anastasia Papangelou]
• Follow Alma and Helio as they discover magical creatures and secret natural realms, while searching for a rare plant that can save their forest from destruction. [Alma in the Woods by Angela Moriggi]
• Meet Olivia who never spends time outdoors until a new classmate from a distant land shows her the joy of street play. [The City’s Heartbeat by Lorena Axinte]
• Gather around the campfire to hear one-eyed Aunt Bloom tell stories of a secret society – the Cosmos Mariners – who battle the Hungry Ghosts destroying our planet. [The Legend of the Cosmos Mariners by Kelli Rose Pearson]
• Go through a magic portal into the Wood Wide Web with Brunaia – a girl who has fused with a young oak tree to restore the lost equilibrium between humans and forests. [Brunaia by Marta Nieto Romero]
• Attend a fashion show with young Jamie, who put his reputation on the line to show off his grandmother’s traditional linen. [Fashionista Jamie by Alessandro Vasta]
Artist Rita Reis has illustrated the book, creating a stylish and whimsical look. Susanne Moser, internationally renowned researcher and consultant on climate change, wrote the foreword: In the age of Greta Thunberg, in the age of children acting like adults and adults acting like children, who is to say that so-called “children’s stories” aren’t the most important stories for anyone to hear?! Who is to say that these “fairy tales” may just be the truest account, the most honest reflection, of our time?! Who is to say that such little heroine’s and hero’s journeys are not the most remedial stories we could tell our children, or even ourselves?!
The book is an example of how to bring research alive and make it accessible to everyone. These stories are written up by young scholars who have challenged themselves to share what they have learned in placed-based research on how to create sustainable places for us to live in and shape. The book is an example of the young having more courage than the old (or at least, well-established) to do something creative and different and path-breaking.
To support this book and get it published in different languages you can join the facebook group (@UponFuture) and Twitter (@UponFuture) pages of ‘Once Upon the Future’! You can get in touch via storiesforfuture@gmail.com
Disclaimer: parts of this text are derived from blogs and promotional materials written by the children’s book team. 

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