Our Future as Told in CliFi (Climate Fiction) and CliSci (Climate Science)

Discovery Core Experience: NW Courses

B CORE 116

60-Second Syllabus: Our Future as Told in CliFi (Climate Fiction) and CliSci (Climate Science)Natural World Icon

About This Course: 

Earth is habitable because of its atmosphere. However, over the last 100 years of industrialism, humans have rapidly and dramatically increased the composition of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses allow energy from the sun to reach earth, but prevent heat from escaping from the atmosphere, so act like a blanket swaddling our planet. Trapped heat raises temperatures on land and in the oceans, with enormous and serious repercussions for life on our planet.

Scientists from all disciplines are now working together to understand the complexities of altering earth’s climate system. At the same time, the impacts of climate change are penetrating every aspect of our lives, including food production, water and energy supply, recovery from climate-related fires, storms and other disasters, and many we do not regularly consider. It’s becoming clear that humans will need to adapt our political, societal and educational systems for living sustainably. We are at a crucial time in determining humanity’s future.

In this course we explore projections of what life may be like in the next hundred years through a new genre of literature, climate fiction (CliFi). We will discuss how this literary mode allows readers to relate, through the experience of protagonists, to future challenges we face as a result of our world’s shifting climate. To complement these fictional projections, students will analyze and interpret available scientific data upon which these CliFi scenarios are based, to build a holistic understanding of how humans affect the world’s climate, how climate affects humans, what climate change means for our own lives and how might we improve stewardship of the earth and its resources for future generations.

Professor Dana Campbell (She/Her/Hers)

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

About Professor Campbell:


Email: danalc@uw.edu


Professor Miriam Bertram (She/Her/Hers)

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences