Tanja Rohini Bisgaard's blog

Tanja Rohini Bisgaard's blog

Interview wit Isaac Yuen

2047 Short StoriesPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 22 May, 2018 12:41

What do you write?

I dabble in fiction, creative non-fiction, and journalism: essays, meditations, short stories. I try to choose the right form to tell the story that needs telling. Most of my stuff tend to be short; whole memoirs or novels are too daunting to wrap my head around!

Why did you decide to join author team for the anthology 2047: Short Stories From Our Common Future?

I learned about the Brundtland Report, aka Our Common Future, while doing my degree in environmental science; sustainable development that can meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs” was a formative idea for me. While we have fallen short in the many goals set out in the report over the past three decades, I thought it an intriguing premise to set a short story collection around projecting ahead the same amount of time.

Another aspect that appealed to me about the collection was that Tanja solicited contributors from all around the world. I thought that spirit of multilateralism nicely mirrored that of the report.

Where do you get inspiration?

Climate fiction tends to be pretty heavy, so one of my intentions going in was to pen something with an element of humour. “NuVenture™ TEMPO-L QuickStart Guide” started from a prompt given by a friend I attended an environmental writers workshop with back in 2015. The prompt was “shark forest”, which got me thinking about time travel back to the distant past when lands were covered with water. That naturally linked up with climate change effects and then the story germinated from there.

The piece was inspired by a bunch of stuff I was exposed to at the time - the mammoths at the end of Italo Calvino’s “Daughters of the Moon”; the scorching world of Philip K Dick’s “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”; IKEA instruction manual illustrations; an indie videogame titled “Affordable Space Adventures”; corporate PR speak from family companies. I wanted to write something satirical that was innocuous on the surface but carried a sinister undercurrent – hence the temporal slavery and exploitation at the end, conveyed in fine print.

What are you writing at the moment?

I have a few projects on-the-go: A personal essay on navigating the shifting geography of an invented land; a love letter from an island to a man; a story about going a date with a neutrino; an outline exploring themes of identity and salvation within the post-apocalyptic world of Blade Runner 2049. Some things are further along than others, and some things will end up in the rubbish bin, but that’s how writing goes.

Why should we read it?

These days I don’t like trying to convince or persuade people to do things. I can only speak for myself and extend an invitation to do the same if you feel the same way. I read stories for the sounds and rhythms of language, for the satisfaction of hearing a well-made tale, and for discovering ideas that may help me understand and connect a bit better with others who live in this world. I’ll quote the late and great Ursula K. Le Guin so she can have the last word:

“In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find - if it’s a good novel - that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having met a new face, crossed a street we never crossed before. But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.”


Read Isaac's short story here



Interview with David Zetland

2047 Short StoriesPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 12 Apr, 2018 10:46

1. What do you write?

I write because I cannot always talk with people on important topics. I have blogged for over 10 years, and I find that writing helps me think, helps me engage with others' ideas, and helps me explain ideas that may interest them. Speaking 1:1 is much more effective but not scalable.

2. Why did you decide to join the author team for the anthology 2047 Short stories from our common future?

As the editor of Life Plus 2 Meters, a different anthology of shorter Cli-Fi stories, I was attracted to the opportunity to write my own piece.

3. Where do you get inspiration?

I was born and raised in California, where I got my PhD in resource economics, with a specialization on water. From this background, it was easy for me to imagine the future of farming in California, which is already unsustainable in several ways. This medium allowed me to take a speculative, yet realistic, view of where today's actions are now leading.

4. What are you writing at the moment?

Besides blogging (always something!), I am revising an academic paper on the origins of the Dutch drinking water sector and (soon) another paper on teaching students how to understand (and perhaps address) the common-pooled tragedies around them.

5. Why should we read it?

You should read my academic work if you're interested in a careful, documented explanation of a policy or behavior. If you're in a hurry, then you should read my blog (aguanomics), as it offers brief comments on various issues.

bio/photo: http://www.kysq.org/bio.html





Interview with Richard Friedman

2047 Short StoriesPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 15 Mar, 2018 11:08

1.What do you write?

I write climate fiction novels and short stories. My previous stories all ended badly for mankind. Death, destruction on a global scale, extinction, etc... Then I met Al Gore in October of 2017 at the Climate Reality Group Training and he convinced me that we're going to survive. No more Doom and Gloom for me!

2. Why did I join the team?

I wanted to be part of a group that brought different perspectives and styles to the anthology.

3.Where did I get my inspiration?

The Lorax, by Dr. Suess. He spoke for the trees. It's been my favorite book since I was a little kid.

4.What am I writing at the moment?

Book one in the "Stone Callahan and the Geraci Gang" series. A teenage boy with insight to the future, and his talented high school friends stop environmental disasters before they occur. Like Scooby-Doo, but no ghosts! Zoinks!

5.Why should we read it?

Now that I'm done writing about the end of mankind on Earth, I can write happy endings! Everyone likes a happy ending, right?


Have a look at the 2047 anthology

Visit Richards webpage





Interview with Kimberly Christensen

2047 Short StoriesPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 06 Feb, 2018 09:05

1. What do you write?

Throughout my career, I’ve mostly written non-fiction. As an environmental non-profit consultant, I’ve researched various sustainability-focused topics like recycling processes and markets, organic gardening, reducing meat consumption and increasing public transit use and written about them for internal and external use. I enjoy taking weighty topics and making them accessible to the general public.

For the past two years, I’ve focused more on writing fiction. I think that telling stories is a powerful way to reach people’s hearts and minds. My hope is that through story, people will begin to think about topics like endangered species, plastics in the ocean, and rising seas as issues that they want to do something about. Sometimes I feel compelled to write the worst case scenarios – to scare myself and my readers into action. Sometimes I write about what is possible - alternative futures that we can create if we choose to. I hope these stories inspire people to think creatively about sustainability and to imagine building the future that they want to live in.

I also try to include a diversity of points of view in my stories, since climate change and environmental destruction will affect people on every continent and from every walk of life.

2. Why did you decide to join the author team?

I was intrigued by the premise – what will the world look like in 30 years? – and interested to join a group of thinkers and writers who were pondering the same question. I love making connections with other writers who care about our environment, and find that their imaginations and the nature of the questions that they ask often inform my future work.

I also am hopeful that our readers will have their own imaginations sparked, and will become allies in this work of saving the planet from environmental destruction. In my story, the Southern Resident Killer Whales of the Puget Sound go extinct, and that future doesn’t have to happen. But it’s going to take a concerted effort to avoid it. I wanted readers to think about what it would mean for these whales to go extinct – how they would feel – so that they will change behaviors and systems in order to prevent that future from happening.

3. Where do you get your inspiration?

Working in environmental non-profit has definitely shaped my desire to tell stories about our natural world, and in particular the fearsome future that we will face if we don’t slow down climate change. But I’m really motivated by a love for the natural world and all of the species that dwell in it – each is so unique and wonderful. I love that we humans are learning more about how interconnected all species are, and how the loss of one impacts the rest of us. I always want to remember my (small) place in the whole of things, and writing about people interacting with the natural world helps me to do that.

4. What are you writing at the moment?

I’m working on several projects, all of them set in the near future – a future that’s close but, I think, still avoidable. I’m several drafts into a novel set in the same world as the short story that’s included in the anthology, about a plucky high school marine sciences student whose path intersects with a young woman fleeing the rising seas in the Pacific. The orcas feature heavily in that book as well, with my protagonist determined to save the Puget Sound from collapse. She also struggles to reconcile her frustration with humanity and its reckless endangerment of the natural world with her nascent realization that many humans are also suffering because of environmental destruction.

Besides that, I’m working on a second novel about a climate-related pandemic and how that crisis impacts women who are due to give birth in the middle of this horrific time. Then I’ve got a few short stories in the works as well. I find that the current political climate in the United States is at least having the benefit of inspiring my creativity!

5. Why should we read it?

My biggest hope is that people will read my writing because they connect with it. I want readers to become invested in my characters and the difficulties that they are facing, and root for my characters to succeed. Beyond that, my hope is that readers will read my work because it’s timely – I’m asking questions about how we as a species are going to interact with the earth and shape our future. I hope readers will want to ponder those questions as well, and that they will be inspired to protect the planet in the way that my main characters are.


Read a review of Kimberly's short story by Stories of the World here





Why I created the anthology

2047 Short StoriesPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 03 Dec, 2017 11:33

As a teenager in the 1980s, growing up in Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, I often sat reading the newspaper before heading off to school. What made the greatest impression on me, and stayed with me for years, was the news about acid rain damaging forests in Europe, and radiation from Chernobyl being found in reindeer lichen in northern Norway. These were problems that seemed local to those experiencing them, yet these problems could only be solved by every nation working together globally.

This year, 2017, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Brundtland Commission’s presentation of its work, led by Norway’s former prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland. The General Assembly of the United Nations appointed the commission to create a vision for a sustainable future. The definition of “sustainability” found in the report Our Common Future is still used today by academics, the business community as well as the civil society:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

A great amount of progress occurred very quickly in some areas, while it’s taken longer for action to be implemented in others. A global agreement on reducing the impacts of climate change wasn’t reached until 2015. Politicians, however, are now putting green growth on their national agendas. Companies are innovating to produce without polluting and are using fewer resources. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) continue to create awareness of climate and environmental problems that must be solved. And more and more citizens are making conscious choices regarding how to live sustainably.

Still, I often wonder: what will the world look like in another thirty years if global warming and environmental degradation aren’t reduced as much as we hope? And how will we deal with those problems? After all, no matter which models scientists are using today, it’s impossible to accurately forecast what will happen.

So I gathered a group of authors and asked them to write their vision of what the world will look like in 2047. We want our short stories to make you reflect, or provoke you, or bring feelings to the surface while you read them. And hopefully all of them will make you realize that your actions matter and will encourage you to take part in caring for the world and the people in it.

I hope we will succeed in having an effect on you.


Meet the authors contributing here

Buy the anthology on Amazon, Books, Kobo, Nook, Scribd and others



Inspiration for Winter of Nations

ERINPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 17 Nov, 2017 13:54
My short story Winter of Nations was written after Claudia told me about one of her summer holidays when she visited the Baltic countries in 1989.

It was a peaceful political demonstration that occurred in the three Baltic states to create global attention about the Soviet Union’s occupation of the countries, and their wish to become independent nations. Approximately two million people participated on 23 August 1989, by holding hands and forming a human chain that spanned 675 kilometres (420 miles) across the three countries. By the end of 1991, all three Baltic countries had had elections and declared their independence.

The event was later named The Baltic Way

It was one of several revolutions across Europe. The fall of the Berlin Wall another. The time period was named The Autumn of Nations.




Read my short story Winter of Nations



Inspiration for The Relic

ERINPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 07 Oct, 2017 16:07


After I wrote the first draft of this story, someone told me that Olafur Eliasson and Minik Thorleif Rosing had actually done what I was writing about. I was ashamed and amazed at not having heard about it – and who would believe me when I said I did not know! So I investigated what the Icelandic artist had actually done: in 2015, for the talks about a global climate agreement in Paris (COP 21), Mr Eliasson and Mr Rosing had several lumps of ice transported to the centre of Paris where they lay for days as they melted.

You can read more about the project they named Ice Watch Paris here.

Photo taken by UNclimatechange on flickr.

Even though my idea seemed less original, I decided to write it anyway – in a futuristic version. I hope you enjoy The Relic. Read it here.


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What is ERIN?

ERINPosted by Tanja Rohini Bisgaard 05 Sep, 2017 16:51
ERIN is a future world that I have created where my short stories take place. It is an acronym for The European Republic of Independent Nations.

My vision for a future Europe is a union of states that have agreed to work together on political issues that affect more that one country. Such as climate change, pollution, taxes and so on. Some of the issues the EU are already working on today, but some of them are hard to manage as a union.

I know that a republic is considered a single state, with one ruler. So I should really have chosen the word Federation instead - as a federation is a union of self governing states as I expect Europe to be in the future. However, I did not like the acronym that came out of that - EFIN. So I chose to go with ERIN.

Through a series of short stories set in a future Europe, I describe the lives of people in one country at a time. My aim is to write at least eight short stories - from eight countries. My focus is on climate change, pollution, resource depletion - but also on political and social structures.

I hope you want to follow me as I write one short story a month during the next year. (I do take holidays sometimes, so every now and then I will skip a month smiley)

I am self-publish the short stories. Therefore I find a professional editor every time I am done writing. If you want to support me in that, I have a Patreon page where you can help me with a monthly amount. All of the short stories will be available on Amazon KDP Select.



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