The Ministry for the Future- A Change of Heart

“So, is there energy enough for all? Yes. Is there food enough for all? Yes. Is there housing enough for all? There could be, there is no real problem there. Same for clothing. Is there health care enough for all? Not yet, but there could be; it’s a matter of training people and making small technological objects, there is no planetary constraint on that one. Same with education. So all the necessities for a good life are abundant enough that everyone alive could have them. Food, water, shelter, clothing, health care, education”

The beautiful object is a book called The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. This book was able to arouse a variety of emotions like anger, hope, dread, happiness, and sadness. This science fiction utopian story takes place about 50 years from now in the future and describes multiple climate catastrophes. The story’s protagonist is Mary Murphy and she is assigned with the task to lead the Ministry of the Future implemented by the United Nations after the Indian Heat Wave that killed two million people. The author goes into detail about the horrors of the heat wave and other climate catastrophes that are in the near distant future. The realistic way the story is told gave me chills down my spine when reading the book. The Ministry for the Future goal is to fight and end the climate crisis before the crisis ends humanity. Murphy works tirelessly to get countries to work together to reduce the carbon emissions to net zero. Murphy also creates an intricate system that deals with the influx of climate refugees. Some of the chapters were conveyed by the perspective of a climate refugees, which drives home the hope that this will not happen. The climate refugees lost everything because the rich wanted to keep getting rich by pumping massive amounts of carbon emissions into the air. This seems to be happening today, and I just hope we can fix the problem before there is a climate refugee crisis.

This book sparks tremendous reflection within myself and has even caused to be more aware of my choices and how those choices interact within the environment. Spoiler Alert, the best part and one could even say the heart of the book is the happy ending. We are able to defeat climate change when we as a people work together and implement policy that is not directed towards creating the most money but creating the best practices for all living beings. The United States along with the rest of the world abandons capitalism and adopts socialistic/communistic economies in order to support everyone’s needs and defeat the climate crisis. This has caused me to confront my problem concerning my overconsumption within a capitalistic society. I do not like to play the blame game, but I feel resentment for the ways in which capitalism has ingrained into me that I must have stuff and more stuff on top of that stuff.

The reason I love The Ministry for the Future is because I dream of a world similar to the ending of the book. I would love to see the world reforested, green energy take over, and live in a world where everyone can live a life of dignity. I often feel conflicted being a United States citizen, because while I enjoy the opportunities I have here, I often catch myself thinking about those who don’t have these opportunities simply because they were born somewhere else. In the book, we see those who have not nearly contributed a fraction of the damage concerning carbon emissions yet lost their homes to the climate crisis created by the Western world. I start to wonder what climate justice looks like, being that the Western world is primarily responsible for creating the climate crisis. To conclude, the beauty within the story is humanity itself, and the ways that humanity can overcome big problems. The ending really warms my heart, because it seems possible that people can work together and overcome their differences and greed to create a better tomorrow.

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4 Comments

  1. emilyvaneaton99 says:

    This book sounds very interesting. I love books that make you think. Dystopian almost always does it for me. Even in the most fictionalized worlds, a reader can most likely find similarities between fiction and reality. Though I’ve read many dystopian, I haven’t read one about climate change yet. I’ll have to add this one to my reading list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alyssa N. says:

      Hi Emily,
      I just wanted to point out that the book is actually a utopian story. I think it is considered a utopian story because it ends with a happy ending. Also this author does an amazing job connecting our reality to his science fiction. I recommend getting the audible version the book because each chapter is told from a different perspective, and the perspectives are not just centered in the United States.

      Like

  2. saraham97 says:

    I am going to have to add this book to my list! It sounds very captivating, yet also terrifying. I can also relate to having to look within myself at my apparent need to have things, which is not really a need at all but a mindset. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alyssa N. says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Yes! This book definitely has those terrifying moments. The book actually begins in India during a heat wave that kill over 200 million peoples, and the picture Robinson creates is horrific. The overconsumption culture here in the United States blows my mind, but at the same time it is what to be expected under a capitalistic economy.

      Like

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