In this book, environmentally conscious writers, poets, and artists exert their opinions about energy transition. How can we envision the future? What actual options are already there? How should society adapt? Is this an opportunity for change regarding equity and reconciliation? What are problems and challenges? What are the cultural changes? To envision and be inspired, Eveline Kolijn, editor and curator of the project, connected the artists and writers with a network of experts,thinkers, and influencers from the Canadian Energy Futures Lab, together with members from towns, rural communities, and First Nations. The covered topic is universally shared around the world. Alberta is Canada’s oil province and serves as a microcosm of all the challenges and opportunities that the world faces in decarbonizing society, with its current energy needs and consumer lifestyles, a fact which makes the Alberta Story a Global Story. To reflect the theme of the book on its manufacture, the paper, binding, and inks used will be from sustainable and compostable sources and have a low carbon impact.
Writers and Poets are: Emma Gammans, Rosemary Griebel, Maggie Hanna, Richard Harrison, Mark Hopkins, Barb Howard, Larry Kapustka, Shannon Kernaghan, Alexis Kienlen, Monica Kidd, Michael Leeb, Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon, Alice Major, Kim Mannix, Natalie Meisner, Mar’ce Merrell, Peter Midgley, Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike, Donna Williams.
Artists are: Sylvia Arthur, Kate Baillies, Carole Bondaroff, Katie Bruce, Hannah Gelderman, Jamie-Lee Girodat, Jill Ho-You, Jaqueline Huskisson, Liz Ingram, Mary Kavanagh, Eveline Kolijn, Kasia Koralewska, Tara Manyfingers, Nadia Perna, Stan Phelps, Jessica Semenoff, Jared Tailfeathers, Alex Thompson, Heather Urness.
About the authors
Chris Turner is one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on sustainability and the global cleantech industry. He is also the author of the bestseller The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need (Random House), a Globe & Mail Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction, the Alberta Literary Award for Nonfiction, and the National Business Book Award. Turner’s first book was the international bestseller Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. His feature writing has earned seven National Magazine Awards. He lives in Calgary with his wife, the photographer Ashley Bristowe, and their two children. Connect with him on Twitter @TheTurner.
Alice Major emigrated from Scotland at the age of eight, and grew up in Toronto before coming west to work as a weekly newspaper reporter. She served as the City of Edmonton’s first poet laureate from 2005–2007. Among her previous books are Memory's Daughter, for which she won the Stephan G. Stephansson Award in 2011; The Occupied World; and The Office Tower Tales, for which she won the Pat Lowther Award in 2009. In 2010, she received a lifetime achievement award, presented by the City of Edmonton and the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton.
Monica Kidd grew up on the rural Alberta prairies. She completed a B.Sc. at the University of Calgary, an M.Sc. at Queen’s University, attended medical school at Memorial University and is now a practicing physician and writer in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is the author of two novels (Beatrice and The Momentum of Red), a book of non-fiction (Any Other Woman: An Uncommon Biography) and a collection of poetry entitled (Actualities). Her short experimental films have shown in Atlantic Canada and in Amsterdam. She has worked as a seabird biologist and as a reporter for CBC Radio, where her news items and documentaries have won numerous awards. She lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her husband and children.
Lee Easton and Richard Harrison are writers living in Calgary. They both work for Mount Royal College. Easton is a specialist in literature dealing with such subject areas of gender, media, literary theory, multi media and film. Harrison — nominated for the Governor General’s Award in 1999 — is the author of six books of poetry. He has also worked as an editor on more than 20 books.
Barb Howard is a third-generation Calgarian who worked as a lawyer and a land contract analyst before receiving her M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Calgary. In 2009, Barb received the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (Howard O’Hagan) Award for short fiction. She has also won contests in Alberta Views and Canadian Lawyer, and was also a finalist at the Western Magazine Awards. Barb's first novel, Whipstock, was published by NeWest Press in 2001. Since then, Barb has published the novella Notes for Monday (Recliner, 2009), and the young adult novel The Dewpoint Show (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2010). Barb currently lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta with her husband, a pair of easygoing sons, and one neurotic dog.
Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis Kienlen currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Author of two poetry collections and numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, Alexis works as a journalist for Alberta Farmer. Mad Cow is her first novel.
Peter Midgley is a poet and storyteller. He has performed in several countries around the world and has published three children’s books, one of which, Thuli’s Mattress, won the International Board on Books for Young People Award for Literacy Promotion and has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He is also the author of two plays and a bilingual volume of poems, perhaps i should / miskien moet ek, which appeared with Kalamalka Press in 2010. A second collection of poetry, Unquiet Bones, will be published by Wolsak & Wynn in 2015.
Excerpt: Reimagining Fire: The Future Of Energy (by (author) Eveline Kolijn, Alice Major, Larry Kapustka, Kim Mannix, Monica Kidd, Emma Gammans, Rosemary Griebel, Maggie Hanna, Richard Harrison, Barb Howard, Mark Hopkins, Shannon Kernaghan, Alexis Kienlen, Michael Leeb, Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon, Natalie Meisner, Mar’ce Merrell, Peter Midgley, Uchechukwu Umezurike & Donna Williams; foreword by Chris Turner)
Selected Chapter Summaries
“Sometimes you have to dig….”
Sometimes you have to dig for hope
Beautiful poem and text on geothermal energy and carbon capture, with a lot of descriptions of geology and references to Greek mythology. It has a primal feel and focuses on hope.
Larry Kapustka in Collaboration with Jared Tailfeathers
This text takes Blackfoot words/concepts and weaves them into ecological ones from Western science. With these words, Larry constructs a sestina of 6 stanzas. It is followed by a text on many topics around climate change and energy transition. It may be one of the more challenging texts to read, but it seems a good one as an introduction, creating a holistic overview. It was a contender for opening, but I decided to put Alice’s piece first, as I deemed her writing a better ease into the book than Larry’s piece.
On the lure of multiple instances
Personal essay about growing up in the prairie immersed in nature and the presence of pump jacks. Follows nicely on the short, personal piece by Kim and leads to the following poems on oil and oil culture. Text in final form.
Boys in the patch
Essay on hypermasculinity in petroculture.
Cling Wrap Made to Break
Poems on our pervasive use of plastics and planned obsolescence and consumption of products. Final form.
A clever series of letters is written in a future time, when the transition to another type of society has happened, with the older letter-writer still being nostalgic and defensive about the past and a young niece living the new type of life in a hotter environment.
The World beneath Our Feet
Well-researched text and poem on soil health, its carbon capture qualities and regenerative farming. Wonderful piece in the collection. Text in final from-some restructuring into endnotes.
Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon
Personal narrative of worries and fears from a new young mother, followed by thoughts on food security and growing her own food with entries in a diary following the Chinese lunar calendar. Some thoughts on energy poverty. This text is still being revised with additional writing on food security.
The In-Between People(short story)
Short story, set in the future, on energy poverty. Slightly apocalyptic; good intro into the next one. This text is still being revised with small edits.
Very apocalyptic, dark and surrealistic fantasy story.
A hundred years from now.
Essay with an apocalyptic start, then discussion.
Short story, mildly apocalyptic, but with hope, featuring the importance of children and their imagination for the future.
A Foot Each in Two Canoes
Elders with the Sun
Poems on reconciliation and life on the margins and energy transition of indigenous communities. Second poem is inspired by the phrase that “the bison is like a solar battery” by Diandra bruisedhead.
How Can the Future Go Really, Really, Well?
Written in a flow-of-consciousness way, fellow Maggie Hanna gives a summary of her presentation: what causes climate change, what actions we can take to mitigate and what should the future look like.
This energy transition is ultimately an optimistic tale. It is perilous but thrilling, a story of opportunity more than mere survival. It is about building a better world. If we succeed—and I believe we will, even though there will be great loss still to come along the path—it will be a story of collaboration and cooperation on a scale and with a speed never before seen in human history. And it is already underway, and it is accelerating. We have already begun to reimagine fire. — Chris Turner, from the Foreword