Reply To: Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

  • Anand Pandian

    January 24, 2024 at 2:12 pm

    What a great live discussion today! Thanks to everyone who attended. Folks who are interested in this book but couldn’t be there with us, here are some of the things we talked about, please feel free to chime in and we can continue the discussion here.

    We talked a lot about transition and what propels radical change, whether events like a terrible heat wave, or shifts of prevailing narrative and imagination. The book gives us a picture of technological hinges, like the invention of the carbon coin, but there is also something more intangible at work here, as @Sue reminded us, a commitment to assigning value to future people, in the face of all these inherited ways of discounting the value of future generations. We talked about the challenge of nurturing such connections to future descendants through practices in the present such as care, support, and community, as we see with Mary and Frank in the book. And the way in which attending to such care changes our sense of what to look for in a narrative, especially an Anthropocene narrative, with the invitation of Amitav Ghosh and others to think beyond hero stories. Here, we find protagonists who are present more as witnesses than as heroes, who engage in small acts of care and afford us witness to the momentum of systemic shifts. For the radical changes documented in the book happen through an accumulation of acts, often clandestine, propelling unexpected change.