Over 35 AAN Publications Collaborate on Letter-Writing Project Ahead of U.N. Climate Change Conference

october 5, 2015  04:00 pm
Prior to the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Paris, over 35 AAN publications will publish Letters to the Future, a national letter-writing project featuring letters from authors, artists, scientists and the general public. The letters are written to future generations, predicting the outcome of the climate talks and imagining what the world will be like decades from now.

The project is organized by Sacramento News & Review Founding Editor Melinda Welsh. Members of The Media Consortium will also participate in the project.

"Every reasonable person knows that the future of our children’s children is in danger," writes News & Review President/CEO Jeff von Kaenel. "Our current practices will lead to disastrous environmental outcomes, endangering the lives of future generations as well as nearly all current life on this planet."

So far, notable letter-writers include two Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists, an astronaut, and a former Senate Majority Leader. Readers can submit letters at www.LettersToTheFuture.org through November 13.

AAN members will then publish the package beginning on November 18, prior to the start of the talks. AAN editors interested in participating should contact parisclimate@newsreview.com for more details.

From the press release announcing the project:

The Paris Climate Project announced today the launching of LETTERS TO THE FUTURE, a national effort to encourage authors, scientists, artists, activists and citizens to write a letter to their children’s children—six generations hence. A project of the News & Review, LETTERS TO THE FUTURE encourages letters that address climate change in 2015, with a special emphasis on what happened following Paris Climate Talks in December 2015.

Letters can be submitted to www.LettersToTheFuture.org and should be submitted by November 13, 2015 in order to be considered for publication. Letters should be 400 words in length, and authors are encouraged to include their picture. All letters will be published online; select letters will be published across various media by a national consortium of alternative weekly papers in late mid-November—before the Climate Talks begin.

Letter writers to date include Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists Jane Smiley and Geraldine Brooks; T.C. Boyle, winner of the Penn/Faulkner Award; Bill McKibben, 350.org; Senator Harry Reid; Kim Stanley Robinson, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards; Michael Pollan, author, journalist, activist; Dennis Kucinich, former Congressman and presidential candidate; Dr. Stephen Robinson, NASA astronaut; Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff)—and this is just the beginning. People from all walks of life are encouraged to submit a letter and join the conversation.

The project results will be presented to U.S. delegates and citizens attending the Climate Talks in December; it was envisioned and organized by Melinda Welsh, Founding Editor of the Sacramento News & Review. The News & Review is a chain of three alternative newspapers located in Sacramento and Chico, CA and Reno, NV. Other partners in the project include the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (Washington, DC; represents 113 alternative news media organizations across North America) and The Media Consortium (San Francisco, CA; a network of leading progressive media outlets, such as Mother Jones, Grist, The Nation, Texas Observer, Democracy Now and others).

Ms. Welsh notes “LETTERS TO THE FUTURE invites everyone, young and old, to write their future offspring, community, friends—what was it like to be alive when this most consequential summit on climate change occurred? What was the result? What do you wish to say, from your heart or your head, to those who weren’t yet here to speak for themselves, as you are?”

Many of the newspapers participating in LETTERS TO THE FUTURE also participated in 2007’s The Kyoto Project with the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN). Fifty alternative weeklies across the country published the shared climate crisis articles around the 10- year anniversary of the Kyoto Accord. Readership for The Kyoto Project numbered in the millions.

Why the 2015 Paris Climate Conference is so important
Scientists have warned for decades that current greenhouse gas emission trends have put the Earth on track for calamitous storms, floods, droughts and rising oceans. But the world’s governments have yet to sign a legally binding agreement to do what it takes to avert climate disaster. The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 is humanity’s last best chance to finally get this done. Environmentalist and former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore has said, literally, that “the future of the world” depends on the outcome of the Paris talks.

Media contact: Dave Webb