Reaching Youth Through Climate Fiction

The Climate Emergency Forum welcomes guest Tom Riley, a retired NASA engineer and author who explains his aim to engage young people through fiction, with relatable characters who take positive action. The novel depicts a future impacted by the climate crisis, with AI as an integral part of the story.

This video was recorded on January 10th, 2024, and published on January 16th, 2024.

This was CEF’s first program recorded in 2024. Regina introduces the program’s theme and emphasizes the importance of art in addressing climate change.

Tom Riley discusses his young adult novel, “Dark Heat,” which follows a film noir style. He emphasizes the disruptive potential of AI, acknowledging its societal impact and suggesting it could be an opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable society.

Paul, who was a climate science consultant for Tom’s book, praises the use of fiction in communicating the climate crisis and asks Tom about the role of AI. He shares insights into the positives and negatives of AI technology, and expresses appreciation for the philosophical questions raised in the novel as well as its realistic portrayal of the near-term future.

Tom shares insights on choosing Southeast Asia as a setting, citing the region’s vulnerability to climate change and he advises young people not to succumb to doom and gloom narratives, encouraging the creation of ideas, stories, and adventures to inspire action.


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