Tanja Rohini Bisgaard's blog

Tanja Rohini Bisgaard's blog

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

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