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Green Rabbits Glowing at the End of the World: Annalee Newitz and Nathaniel Rich on What Happens When Civilizations Fail
May 5, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT$15
More than 150 years ago, long before intimations of a warming planet had begun, Ralph Waldo Emerson made a prescient statement: “The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” While some of us might not consider our current culture to be terribly civilized, one thing is clear: we’ve been propelling our own species, along with millions of other life forms, toward extinction as a result of human-generated climate change.
To probe our own “end times,” we’ve brought together two highly respected journalists who also happen to be speculative fiction writers. Annalee Newitz is an award-winning novelist (The Future of Another Timeline) and a science, technology and culture writer whose fascinating new book, Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, explores the rise and fall of four urban-centered civilizations, from medieval Angkor in Cambodia to the indigenous metropolis Cahokia in present-day Missouri.
Fast forward from ancient times to 2018, when the New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to journalist Nathaniel Rich’s chronicle of the world’s failures to listen to scientists who began seriously sounding the alarm about climate change in 1979. That article became the book Losing Earth, which Rich has now followed up with the deeply reported, riveting Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade. Where do we go from here? Scientists are no longer asking how we can return to the world we’ve lost—we’ve irrevocably changed every inch of our planet—but what we can create in its place in order to survive. Their answers rival the wildest science fiction.
Albert Camus (The Plague) wrote, “the purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Moderated by Bonnie Tsui, author of Why We Swim, this conversation with two leading writers will give you a blast from the (long lost) past along with a staggering vision of the future.