McSweeney's and NRDC's Climate Collaboration

McSweeney's Issue 58: 2040 AD was a collaboration between McSweeney's, NRDC, and an amazing group of writers.

“Climate advocates and storytellers aim to move people to think and act differently, and we hope that through the lens of fiction, readers develop a better understanding of the totality of climate change and feel empowered to take action.”

—Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Chief Program Officer at NRDC. From Press Release: McSweeney’s and Natural Resources Defense Council Imagine the Planet’s Future

When McSweeney’s, the San Francisco-based independent publisher, approached NRDC about collaborating on a special edition of speculative climate fiction stories set in the year 2040 . . . we jumped at the chance.

With just 1°C of warming, the wildfires, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and other impacts of climate change have become all-too-regular reminders of how climate change is already altering our world.

Awareness of climate change is very high as a result, but the actions of communities, states, and nations are not keeping pace with the need to address climate change’s root causes, nor the unfortunate consequences.

For NRDC, working with McSweeney’s was a new way of inspiring people to action.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of McSweeney’s Issue 58: 2040 A.D. click here and use discount code “NRDC” to get 15 percent off.

I’ve learned in my advocacy work that facts alone do not sway people's actions. Our minds are influenced as much by feelings and emotions (probably more so) as by charts and graphs and rational arguments.

Stories speak to our emotions and feelings. People relate to stories. People relate to narrative. People relate to other People, whether in the present or in a story set in a potential future.

That’s why this project was so interesting and important to me and my colleagues at NRDC. Each story included in McSweeney’s Issue 58 provides readers a portal to a possible future affected by the impacts of climate change.

Some of the stories are hopeful, others are set against a backdrop of loss and disruption. Each has the potential to reach readers and touch them in a way that inspires them in ways that climate studies or news of climate-driven disasters may not.   

This was an easy project to say "yes" to. Each of the ten contributing authors connected with an NRDC expert who had knowledge about the future effect of climate change the story was highlighting or the region of the world where the story would take place.

For NRDC, the goal wasn't to ensure scientific accuracy, but to support the writer's own creative process by sharing what we know about how climate change might shape the world by the year 2040. Each writer chose to use the information provided as they saw fit.

NRDC was thrilled to work with McSweeney's and the authors of this edition. It was an opportunity to collaborate with storytellers to open people's eyes, minds, and hearts to the need to take action on climate change.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of McSweeney’s Issue 58: 2040 A.D. click here and use discount code “NRDC” to get 15 percent off.


NRDC has been involved with other climate fiction events before, read below to learn more.

About the Authors

Rob Moore

Senior Policy Analyst, Healthy People & Thriving Communities program
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