Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

What is CliFi? An Earth Day Primer

So I’m flipping through my February 2014 issue of VOYA Magazine and I see a head-shot of author Mindy McGinnis – what is she doing there I wonder? Her book, Not a Drop to Drink (I’m a fan), is mentioned as being an example of CliFi. Wait – what is this CliFi thing?

You know how we’re always making those displays of climate change induced dystopian fiction for Earth Day? Yeah that, it turns out, is CliFi. Climate Fiction.

According to the VOYA article written by Rebecca Hill, the term CliFi was popularized by Dan Bloom. CliFi is fiction that deals with climate change.

I had never heard this term, but it is perfect.

Last year, Christie put together THIS list of climate change dystopias. Turns out, they are CliFi.

And I put together THIS collection of Earth Day activities, inspired in part by 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment published by Zest Books. Earth Day is coming, a great time to introduce your patrons to CliFi.

And here are 5 2014 CliFi books out now or later this year:

Endangerd and Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Publisher’s Description: “As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.” See entire description at Goodreads. Published February 25, 2014 by Scholastic Press. ISBN: 9780545551434.

I have read Endangered and it was really very good. 

Sunrise, the final book in the Ashfall series by Mike Mullin

Publisher’s Description: “This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.” See entire description at Goodreads. Coming April 15, 2014 from Tanglewood Press. ISBN: 9781939100016.

 This is a really good series and I am looking forward to reading the conclusion.

Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Publisher’s Description: “In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” See entire description at Goodreads Coming June 2014 from Black Sheep. ISBN: 9781617752766.

Survival ColonyNine by Joshua David Bellin

Publisher’s Description: “In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.

Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to–because heat, dust, and starvation aren’t the only threats in this ruined world.” See the entire description at Goodreads. Coming in September 2014 from Margaret K. McElderry Books. ISBN: 9781481403542.

Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
In a world where water is scarce, what would you do to protect what little water you have?

Publisher’s Description: “In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.” See entire description at Goodreads. Coming in September from Katherine Tegen Books. ISBN: 9780062198532.

Be sure to check out the VOYA Magazine article for further discussion of this emerging genre, some additional titles, and some nonfiction titles that may also be of interest. Hill, Rebecca. “Weathering the Change: CliFi Settles in for the Duration”. VOYA Magazine, February 2014, pages 44 and 45.

Dan Bloom, who coined the term CliFi, can be found on Twitter @polarcityman. There is also a CliFi hashtag (#CliFi). You can also follow @CliFiBooks, though these are not specifically YA books or visit their webpage at www.clifibooks.com. Cli-Fi Books explores climate change themes found in novels, prose, short stories, and other fiction. Earth Day is April 22, 2014.
Please share your favorite CliFi books with us in the comments.

TPiB: Earth Day Projects (and project resources for your collection)

It’s Earth Day! 

Today is a day when we remember that we all share this big Earth and that many of its resources are, in fact, limited.  As you drive wherever you are going today (all though a good Earth day guru would ride a bike or walk), take a moment to look at all the trash you see on the sides of the road.  Earth Day is not just about global warming or oil . . . it is about seeing the beauty in the world around us and working to keep it clean, working to make sure that we have access to clean water and nutritious food now and in the future, and just being responsible consumers as we live together on this 3rd Rock from the Sun.  Earth Day is a reminder to just stop for a moment an exam how we live our lives and the chain reaction that it can have.

Now is a great time to look at ways that we can do more responsible programming with our teens, and teach teens how they can use the materials in their daily life in more than one way.  Below are some great programming ideas you can use in your libraries and some resources to share with teens on eco-crafting.

One of my favorite resources is 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment, written for teens – and very accessible.  It includes hands on activities and simple steps you can take to live in more environmentally friendly ways.  More than just a craft book, this is a guide book for eco-living.  In addition, 47 Things does include some craft projects which can be done in a program setting.

re·cy·cle /rēˈsīkəl/
  1. Convert (waste) into reusable material. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Here are 5 Things You Can Do Today – and for Fun! – to Help the Earth

Recycle Your Discarded Books
Here is a Pinterest board full of Recycled Book Crafts
Word Art Necklace
Tutorials for Recycling Books, including some very cool shelves which would look awesome in a teen space

Recycle Your Discarded Magazines and Newspapers
Recycled newspaper crafts on Pinterest
Magazine Bead Bracelet
Step by Step Instructions on how to make your own paper beads out of old magazines

Recycle – or Upcycle – Old Clothing

50 Creative Way to Reuse Denim
T-shirt Wall Art
More t-shirt crafts on Pinterest

/ˈʌpˌsaɪkəl/ Show Spelled [uhp-sahy-kuhl] noun
verb (used with object)
to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original: I upcycled a stained tablecloth into curtains.

Don’t Throw It Away! Make Something With It
Pop Tab Jewelry
Bottle Cap Crafts
Can Do Robots
Recycled Pouch Purses
Upcycled Washer Necklaces
Earth Day/Recycled Crafts on Pinterest

Let Teens Get Techy
We all have some old technology floating around somewhere.  What better way for teens to get some hands on experience then having a Tech Take It Apart event.  Basically, you get a bunch of junky computers, printers, etc. and let teens take them apart.  Be careful, as some tech has some environmentally tricky parts; cell phone batteries for example contain toxic chemicals and should be removed and properly recycled.  This would be a great Beneath the Surface program for the 2013 Summer Reading Cooperative as teens are invited to “go beneath the surface of the technology” they use every day.  After you are done exploring the “guts” of your technology, use the pieces you have extracted to create decorative robots.

Craft books like these are not only great for your collection for your teens, but they are great for any adults who want to do environmental activities with teens. 

Take 10: Teen Titles with an Earth Day Theme
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell
Torched by April Henry
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
Rootless by Chris Howard
The Pearl Wars by Nick James
Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd
Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Empty by Suzanne Weyn

Previously on TLT: We’ve only got this one Earth!

Get active, change the world: Social campaigns for teens (Teens Can Make a Difference)

If you spend any time looking at the 40 Developmental Assets (which you should), you’ll note that several of them touch on the idea that teens want (and need) to have a sense of purpose and feeling of control over their lives and futures; they need to know that they can have a positive influence on the world in which they are living.  But if today’s current spate of dystopian fiction is any indication, we are living in a world with an increasingly bleak looking future.  I think the popularity of dystopian fiction reflects some of the hopelessness and despair that is par for the course in the teen years, but it is also a distinct reflection of the economic despair and concern that influences our current climate.  Having given you that ultra cheery look at the current zeitgeist, let me tell you that there are people out there every day working to make positive changes in our world – and offering teens the opportunity to do the same.  Today I share with you several campaigns that you can share with your teens and help them get involved in being a positive force in the world – and helping them meet the 40 Developmental Assets in their lives.  Remember, more positive assets equals more positive teens.  Our job is to get the information to them, the rest is up to them.

Teenage Depression  * Bullying  *  Dating Violence  *  Human Trafficking  * Being a Guy  *  Being a Girl  * Saving the Earth  * and More . . .

Their mission statement: To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
The message of the It Gets Better Project is simple: everyone deserves to be loved for who they are and it does get better.  They ask everyone to take this pledge: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens by letting them know that it gets better.
The Big Help is an initiative of the Nickelodeon chanel that encourages tweens and teens to get involved in local projects to help their communities.  The audience definitely skews younger tween, but the way it is designed encourages local action, which is great.

Donate My Dress is an initiative sponsored by Seventeen Magazine that encourages teens to donate their special occassion dresses to others in need.  The 2012 spokesperson is Victoria Justice.
Do Something is all about encouraging teens to, well – do something positive for their world.  This is what it says under their Who We Are page: e love teens. They are creative, active, wired…and frustrated that our world is so messed up. DoSomething.org harnesses that awesome energy and unleashes it on causes teens care about. Almost every week, we launch a new national campaign. The call to action is always something that has a real impact and doesn’t require money, an adult, or a car. With a goal of 5 million active members by 2015, DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US for teens and social change.

I am a huge advocate of teen volunteers, and many libraries have been using teen volunteers for years in the form of Teen Advisory Groups (TAGs).  But not all libraries have the staffing or funds to successfully incorporate TAGs into their programs.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage teen volunteering by providing teens access to volunteer information.  Volunteen Nation is here to help.  Volunteen Nation encourages organizations to add volunteer opportunities to their programming and they also help teens find volunteer opportunities through their website.
With the explosion of technology comes the explosion of cyberbullying, find information and take the pledge to step in and speak up here.

As part of their ongoing campaign to promote tolerance, Tolerance.org sponsors Mix It Up at Lunch Day in November (this year it is November 13th).  On this day teens are encouraged to sit with new people at lunch.  I have gone to schools on this day with displays and just went and interacted with the teens at lunch.  Most teens like to sit in the same place with the same people, but it can really open up dialogue.
T4PE is a social network by teens, for teens to learn more about conservation efforts and to share information about local projects.
From their about page:
PROJECT GIRL combines art, media literacy, and youth led activism.
PROJECT GIRL is a ground-breaking girl-led, arts-based initiative created to enable girls to become better informed critical consumers of mass media advertising and entertainment. In other words, to become more media literate.
PROJECT GIRL’s unique approach uses art as the means to educate, inspire, and create social change. . The Project Girl gives girls the structure to be the producers of their own culture, not just passive receivers of a culture that is trying to sell them something.
Stay Teen provides information on sex, dating and birth control.
Love is Respect talks about the positive things that love is, and highlights the negative things that it is not – including sexting and abuse. There is some good discussion under the Is This Abuse? tab.
Break the Cycle is also committed to helping to end dating violence and promoting healthy relationships.

International Day of the Girl is a movement…
to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.
Human Traffikcing is a form of modern day slavery that is bigger than we realize.  Teens on Trafficking gives teens facts and tools to help end it.
This is another resource aimed at ending human trafficking and sex crimes against children.
Here ya author John Green and is Bro join with teens to fight suck using their brains.

I know that there are more, so please share your favorites in the comments.  The more we have, the more likely we are to meet our teens informational needs. Thank you.