Planetarianism is an epistemological orientation proposed by Marek Oziewicz as an alternative to the dominant neoliberal discourse that renders Earth as expendable and unsavable (Link TBA). A two-level phenomenon, planetarianism refers to a biocentric commitment to stand up for the planet and our common biospheric legacy in everything we do: how we work, eat, travel, and live. In the realm of language, planetarianism operates as applied hope articulated through stories—a form of hope-as-resistance and a conceptual tool for ushering in the future we want (instead of the future we fear).
Informing the notion of planetarianism is the assumption that Earth’s future will largely be shaped by the stories we choose tell in the present (link TBA): that the challenge of addressing climate change is primarily the challenge to our imaginations and story systems. Planetarianism recognizes that to successfully navigate the Anthropocene we need to develop a new awareness of how to use stories and specifically to challenge ourselves to imagine a biocentric future and an ecological civilization. Planetarianism is a name for the process of unleashing our anticipatory imagination and channeling it into designing alternatives to the ecocidal present. So conceived, planetarianism can be examined as a distinct component of narrative fiction.
Planetarianist fiction envision the planet as a living entity, imagines a non-ecocidal socioeconomic system, depicts disanthropocentrized relations among humanity and other life forms, and gestures at a biocentric multispecies future that is worth living for. Such fiction prefigures attitudes and relations. It mobilizes hope for the planet by engaging anticipatory imagination as a tool for disrupting ecocide, creating space for healing, and enabling meaningful change. Planetarianist fiction largely overlaps with what Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone have called stories of the Great Turning: stories “committed to the healing and recovery of the world” in which “the central plot is finding and offering our gift of Active Hope” (p. 5). The cultural work of planetarianist literature(s) builds on two aspirations. One, to nourish a sense of hope for the planet even in the absence of specific solutions—a task especially crucial in children’s literature and media. Two, to explore the meanings of hope as a form of collective action rooted in anticipatory imagination. Planetarianist literature(s) showcase hope for the planet as an emergent quality arising from collective dreaming. They assert that stories are the best tools we have to rewire our affective and cognitive modes of being in relation to the planet toward creating an ecological civilization. ©2021 ClimateLit (Marek Oziewicz)