adda, the magazine of Commonwealth Writers, is running a series of creative responses to climate change, after an unprecedented response to our call for submissions last year. Several hundred pieces were sent in from around the Commonwealth, from which 20 have been selected this time. Thank you to all of those who entered; and please keep an eye out for the next open call, subscribe to our newsletter, and share your responses to the new pieces on social media using #addastories.
By the time the submission window closed, the world was only just awakening to a struggle that now engulfs us all. The pandemic is a crisis that we can only hope to ride out as best we can; it is also sparking a sea-change in the way we think, live, read and write. The Greek root of the word crisis—as so many journalists remind us these days—describes a turning point (in a disease, in a society) and, memorably, Arundhati Roy recently described the pandemic as a ‘portal’, a gateway into new ways of being. But the word crisis, in its current use, implies something that comes to a head, drastically, before subsiding once again.
Climate change is not a crisis. We should do our best to remember this. Even in the face of news about curbed emissions, global warming is here to stay: inching upwards like mercury in a thermometer or seeping like meltwater from a glacier. What of the planet will be left to us on the other side of the portal? The pandemic crisis will only be a turning point if we can truly stop to think, very seriously, about what we are doing to the place we all call home. Let’s just hope we are not too late.
In the meantime, one thing we know is that it is something to be faced together, and for this reason it is vital to inform ourselves of other people’s perspectives and concerns. So, please turn to adda to read the first three excellent pieces in our series – and stay tuned for new posts in the coming weeks:
‘But This Is What I Have Now’ by Bijal Vachharajani
‘The Inland Sea’ by Meredith Jelbart
‘Before The Forest Was Widowed’ by Kunle Okesipe
‘The Flood’ by Omer Friedlander