A Letter from Naomi Klein
The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is even more dire and grim than expected. It’s all moving so fast. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, it’s increasingly clear that the devastation we’ve long anticipated has already begun. And it’s not just here, with our Heat Domes, wildfires, and torrential storms. Melting ice and rising seas are swallowing more land. Desertification and other forms of land degradation are ushering in new waves of mass human migration, putting further environmental and social pressures on what remains. Left unchecked, climate change will leave no place on Earth safe for us, or for many other life forms.
And yet having all of this information and raw data at our fingertips is not enough to engender the radical change humanity needs to make if we want to prevent runaway climate breakdown. What I know as a writer and filmmaker is that the work of the IPCC and other scientific organizations is made stronger and more actionable when it is retold through the arts. Humanity has always used stories to nurture ideas and motivate transformations. Facts can shock us but it’s storytelling that breaks our hearts open to the reality of our moment on Earth, with all the responsibilities and possibilities it carries. We need art to help us believe in our hearts what we know in our heads.
For 40 years, Orion has been at the forefront of environmental storytelling. No other organization has been able to publish consistently fresh perspectives and reframe environmental conversations in the way that Orion does. It nurtures writers who have distinctive and unmistakable voices, writers who use their own lives and their deep love of place to make abstractions like “the environment” feel specific and textured. Over and over, the stories in the magazine remind us of how our actions reinforce our values. The words of Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, Robin Wall Kimmerer and so many others have helped shape our collective response to environmental challenges. More recently, Orion has featured powerful work by Lacy M. Johnson, who looks at the horrifying legacy of land enclosure in the Fall 2022 issue.
With each passing day, we must strengthen our resolve to implement and advocate for the structural transformations we desperately need to meet the ambitious and imperative goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We must find the moral and political will to pivot, quickly, and enact the regulatory and market changes that are needed before more dire forecasts become a reality. As I’m reintroduced to our living world with each new issue of Orion, those changes—and the thriving future they promise—feel all the more urgent. I also know that this small but mighty organization can do even more, and reach many more hearts, with the right financial resources.
As somebody who cares about the natural world as much as I do, please join me in supporting Orion with a donation as it seeks to raise $21,000 this fall. When you donate, you are moving beyond a subscription transaction (and thank you for doing that!) and declaring yourself as a charitable partner in better environmental storytelling. You are delving deeper into a community of like-minded individuals. You are banding together and supporting the writers and artists who help us make sense of a moment in history and encourage us to prepare for the possibilities of a better tomorrow. That’s why all gifts matter.
For this reason, I am asking you to donate $20, $40 or $60 by October 21. The more you can contribute at this time, the greater Orion’s ability to engage voices that haven’t historically been included as storytellers in the environmental landscape. Thank you.
The Orion Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization; all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.