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Issue 16

Issue XVI: Editor’s Note

Today’s environmental movements face an unusual advisory – the crisis of communication. As the world around us rapidly moves on from one story to another, take a pause to read our latest issue dedicated to exploring the culture of reading. In the 16th issue of OpenAxis, our writers will give you a glimpse into the unique ways of expressing environmental ideas – covering all bases, from graphic novels to eco-poetry.

Mongabay India, sits down with the author of the Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation, Jim Ottaviani to talk about the journey of this book and how the idea of capturing scientist Edward O. Wilson’s life in frames came to fruition. Jim Ottaviani shares Wilson’s lessons of environmental study and conservation and how they can appeal to a fresh audience. 

Peter Speetjens from Mongabay India writes about the work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. His latest book, Amazônia, is a visual tale dedicated to capturing the beauty of the world’s largest rainforest and the lives, culture and rituals of the Indigenous tribes. The book not only seeks to immortalize the essence of the Amazon Rainforest, but also serves as a call for the preservation of this endangered ecosystem.

2021 marked the launch of Comixense, a graphic novel magazine created by India’s first eco-graphic novelist, Orijit Sen. Stepping into the world of comics, Devanshi Daga takes a closer look at how this visual medium of storytelling can reform the way we talk about and understand climate change. 

Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited adaptation of Dune has finally hit the theatres. And owing to the eco-centric nature of the film, discussions about climate change and the scarcity of resources have resurfaced yet again. But will these discussions translate into real climate action? Linking psychology to climate fiction, Meera Anand analyses whether or not pop culture has the power to influence attitudes towards the climate crisis.

In recent years, the number of children’s books on climate change, global warming, the world of nature and their readership has increased manifold. In the wake of this reading boom, and with a rise in the number of youth environmentalists leading environmental movements, Aritro Sarkar discusses the impact of children’s books on the climate crisis genre, on the climate movement and what it means for children. 

The Laurel Prize is one of the most prestigious International Awards for eco-poetry. Although they invite submissions from around the world, do their strict language barriers, related expenses and numerous other terms and conditions end up curbing the submissions from poets belonging to marginalised and non-English speaking communities? Ishita Ahuja probes into the selection criteria for the Laurel Prize in order to highlight the limited representation of diverse perspectives through the art of eco-poetry.

Booktube is a thriving microcosm within the Youtube universe. Run by a community of literary vloggers, it is a platform for readers to discuss and recommend their favourite books. But a trend of sharing ‘book hauls’ (i.e. the act of a vlogger displaying their huge collection of books after a shopping spree) has taken over this community. Rishita Chaudhary uncovers the environmental and social impact of this growing trend and if it can be transformed into a more sustainable practice.

The advent of Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs, a piece of blockchain technology, has made the process of publication extremely easy and decentralised, especially for those authors who earlier used to have a tough time getting their work published. This technology however uses massive amounts of energy to operate, having a detrimental impact on the environment. Despite these concerns, authors opt to publish their work through NFTs. In his article, Cefil Joseph Soans looks into why authors are shifting to NFTs and how NFTs can be used to not only reduce but Reverse (RVRS) climate change.

– Ashana Mathur

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