Magazine
2068: The Speculative Journalism Issue
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August 19, 2019

In this special issue, we venture into the realm of science fiction. Using last year’s Fourth National Climate Assessment as our guide, HCN writers and editors asked what the West would look like in 50 years, and how we would cover it. The result is a range of fictional short stories based on the assessment and other climate research. Through the lens of speculative journalism, we look at agriculture in a rainier Montana; the pursuit of climate criminals in a collapsed United States; unethical conduct around drone cloud-seeding; the potential of a “Fire Service” instead of a “Forest Service”; the misuse of flies to devour human waste on the country’s last ski slopes; and the potential use of virtual reality to help people imagine glaciers past. Taken together, these stories represent myriad futures for the America West under different climate scenarios. They also make a subtle argument for human imagination in helping us grapple with climate change.

Feature

The mysterious cow murders at Missouri Breaks
The mysterious cow murders at Missouri Breaks
In 2068, a West Obsessed investigation.
Climate criminals
Climate criminals
In 2068, as the world’s last climate change deniers are brought to justice, those tasked with going after them face a final challenge: retirement.

Editor's Note

The case for speculative journalism
The case for speculative journalism
Climate fiction can help us imagine the impacts of climate change in a way that science journalism can’t.

Current

The latest from our hologram portal
The latest from our hologram portal
We speculate updates to stories and the readers who speak out in 2068.
Will a thirsty Southwest put the Midwest underwater?
Will a thirsty Southwest put the Midwest underwater?
In 2068, tensions remain over the Great American Connector pipeline and a weather meddling program isn’t helping.
Q & A: Why a whistleblower went AWOL from the Fire Service
Q & A: Why a whistleblower went AWOL from the Fire Service
In 2068, the U.S. faces year-round wildfires across the West with drafting wildland firefighters.
Last Resort West experiences mayhem on the mountain
Last Resort West experiences mayhem on the mountain
In 2068, the Lower 48’s last ski resort deputized soldier flies to manage human feces. The plan backfired.
Montana’s ‘Argus’ prototype projects glaciers where they once were
Montana’s ‘Argus’ prototype projects glaciers where they once were
In 2068, an augmented reality program takes hold of its designer.

Book Reviews

The heart of California, captured
The heart of California, captured
Robb Hirsch hopes his new book compels readers to act on the behalf of Yosemite National Park.

Heard Around the West

Heard Around the West in 2068
Heard Around the West in 2068
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Coming home to the West
Coming home to the West
Old friends swing by our offices, and we say a few sad goodbyes.
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