When people ask me what I do I like to say I'm a "climate activist of the literary kind." Here's why:
I'm not a novelist, and I'm not writing any books about climate change.
But since 2006, I've been working 24/7, no days off from my PR computer in 12 years, to promote climate activist ideas, novels and movies, free of charge. I don't charge anyone any fees, and I'm not in this for personal fame or money. I'm a promoter. It's my hobby, after retiring from a long and zigzagging career with newspapers in Washington D.C., Alaska, Japan and Taiwan.
My most important work so far was to coin a new literary term, ''cli-fi,'' in 2011 and then to boost its popularity in the media as a headline term and an actual literary genre, different and separate from sci-fi. But of course, I borrowed the rhyming sounds from the sci-fi term.
To get where I am today, I used my informal and untutored PR skills to "plant" major media articles about cli-fi in The New York Times in 2014 and in The Guardian in London, the Associated Press, Reuters, and hundreds of media outlets worldwide. Based in a tiny kitchen office in my home in Taiwan, I reach the world with pixels. I don't use the phone. I don't have a phone. I don't make any calls.
I'm a PR gadfly, on the fly. And I've never been so personally energized, although I need to underline that this is a very serious doomsaying business.
This is all I do all day, every day. I'm 70. A happily retired journalist, editor, page designer, headline writer and proofreader, I run a global website called The Cli-Fi Report (www.cli-fi.net) and tweet around the clock to other climate activists and literary types worldwide seven days a week. I eat, breathe and take pride in my PR work and go to sleep at night fulfilled and exhilarated. I wake up every morning full of energy and new ideas.
And I don't make a dime from any of this. I'm paying it forward. Life's been good to me. I don't have much time left and in many ways I'm living on borrowed time. There was a near-fatal plane crash in Alaska in 1983, a heart attack in 2009 (with a tiny steel mesh stent keeping my ticker ticking).
Monthly social security "honorariums" are my only income now, and they're just $300 per check. I live a simple life, far from the large cities of the world. And nobody's ever heard of me. I like it this way.
I'm not one to brag and bragging's not my style. But from a PR standpoint, all this is an interesting story about a lone blogger with no media or literary connections creating an entirely new literary genre to wake people up about global warming. I'm not surprised because in a way this is very much where my wandering peripatetic life was always taking me.
Someone once said that with my climate work, I'm a force of nature. No, I'm a servant of nature. I'm doing this work for the world, not for me. I never put myself at the center of things.
I also never studied PR. But hanging around newspapers and newspaper people since my college days, I learned how PR works, what makes a good eye-catching press release, and how to gently pitch and approach editors and reporters.
My work as a climate activist of the literary kind is the most important thing I've ever done.
THE ''Cli-Fi ''REPORT:
100 academic and media links: