Confession of a ‘cli-fi freak’

By Dan Bloom

Danny Bloom

Danny Bloom

CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan –I’m a cli-fi freak, not a sci-fi geek, and here’s why: It’s in my genes and over the last decade, I’ve taken a very strong interest in climate change issues and man-made global warming. And with the United Nations climate conference in Paris coming up in late November, humankind is fast approaching a major crossroad

My own personal wake up call came in 2007 when I read an IPCC climate report from the United Nations, when I learned that the future of the human species on this Earth could very well be in dire jeopardy unless we stop our wanton ways and our burning of fossil fuels like there was no tomorrow. I suddenly realized maybe there won’t be too many tomorrows for humankind if we keep this up. Maybe 30 more generations and that’s all.

I couldn’t live with that bleak conclusion, that end-of-the-world assessment.

The first stop on the road to becoming a ”Cli-Fi Freak” — and not a Sci-Fi Geek as I was as a kid in the 1950s — was to do a lot of reading. And thinking.

As a Cli-Fi Freak, I believe cli-fi novels and movies will succeed in helping audiences to confront environmental issues, much in the way Australia’s Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel ‘On the Beach‘ — and the subsequent movie directed by Stanley Kramer — dramatized the horrors of nuclear war and nuclear winter and helped raise global awareness of the issues involved.

“Without a vision, a people perish,” I recall reading in my youth in western Massachusetts where I attended Temple Beth El Hebrew School three days a week and argued with the good rabbis about all sorts of existential and religious issues. I was always a bit of thinker, not a PhD thinker, not an academic thinker, but a kid whose parents always said “You think too much, Danny.” That was how I grew up.

I’m not a trust fund kid, and I fund my work myself on a very small shoestring budget, but I did have a father who left me an inheritance more important than money: a Yiddish term called ”menschlekeit.” And to be a Cli-Fi Freak in my mid-60s is in direct gratitude for a wonderful life on this planet, and it’s also my way of saying thanks to my dad, the late Bernie Bloom of Avenue J. in Brooklyn, born in 1915 and departed in 2005. Z’l.

My dad was a plumber — well, surgeon who repaired pipes, a urologist — and he passed on his Jewish compassion for the world to his five children. I hear him even now, every day, pushing me forward, egging me on, telling me to “never give up, whatever the odds.” Dad would have been a Cli-Fi Freak, too, if he was still alive.

What I want to say today is “thank you Bernie Bloom.” He taught me that it was important not only to be a mensch in one’s daily life but also to try to help “repair the world” — ”tikkun olam” in Hebrew.

As a Cli-Fi Freak, that is what my small contribution to the climate fight is all about: “tikkun olam.”

As a kid growing up in the1950s, I used to be a Sci-Fi Geek, but now as 2020 approaches, I’m a Cli-Fi Freak. There are lots of us now, lots of us.

Bloom is a freelance writer based in Taiwan.

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Copyright 2015 San Diego Jewish World

One Response to “Confession of a ‘cli-fi freak’”

  1. Steven Kalka says:

    I very much have an interest in climate change too. Because climate has drastically varied well before the industrial revolution, and there were periods when earth was cooling while CO2 was increasing; it’s hard to accurately forecast climate on a long term basis. There may be factors that override CO2 atmospheric concentrations. For that reason, I think we’re better off adjusting to climate change than trying to change it. Steven Kalka. East Rockaway, NY


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