Can a story save the planet? Storytelling and global catastrophes

Oct 20, 2020

Celebrated writers Scott Z. Burns, Amitav Ghosh, and Elizabeth Kolbert discuss how the art of storytelling has failed to take on the climate crisis and its attendant catastrophes—and how that might change. Burns is the screenwriter of the 2011 film Contagion, a prescient depiction of a pandemic that highlighted many of the institutional failures seen during the current coronavirus outbreak, and produced the climate-focused documentaries An Inconvenient Truth and its sequel. The recipient of literary awards internationally, Ghosh focused his fiction and non-fiction books, Gun Island and The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, on climate change and its devastating effects. A staff writer for The New Yorker, Kolbert’s most recent book, The Sixth Extinction, details the current extinction crisis and received the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2015.