Letters from the Future: How New Brunswickers Confronted Climate Change and Redefined Progress -Edited by Daniel Tubb, Abram Lutes, and Susan O’Donnell; Illustrated by Ian Smith

Visiting a work of speculative non-fiction seems like a strange thing to do these days, and the editors of Letters from the Future: How New Brunswickers Confronted Climate Change and Redefined Progress acknowledge that right off: this project was born in 2018, and written in part before the COVID-19 pandemic, while the rest of the pieces were written in 2020. That leads to some pieces with the strange problem of already having come true, or feeling out of step with how radically our world has changed since 2019. However, this is a work of imagining, trying to put forth ideas of how our province’s future could go, both positive and negative. Each letter offers a conception of the future in New Brunswick, all with the centre conviction that our current system cannot continue as it has, and we have seen the results of climate change increase in danger and effect in recent years.

This was released at a moment in our history where it often feels like the future is even more uncertain, and I appreciated all of the different imaginings: from New Brunswick as a homestead farming workhorse (“Local Food for Local Communities,” by Stephanie Coburn), to a province leading the way for youth (“The New Brunswick Youth Parliament,” by Arianne Melara Orellana), to a province which had reimagined immigration and come to value and support it (“We Came, We Saw, We Helped Build the Economy,” by Lisa-Gay Taylor). Some of these resonated with me much more than others, and some of the letters are far more detailed than others, which are still thought practices.

Overall, I liked this collection and would like it to be widely read, but I know that texts which have the possibility of challenging your conception of the world, and particularly, challenge the status quo, can end up preaching to the choir. This is a really great thought experiment, however, and offers not only dreams, but concrete goals and policy decisions, as well as showing us how many wonderfully engaged fellow New Brunswickers there are out there.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Chapel Street Editions (Oct. 12 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 154 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1988299373
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1988299372

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Alison Manley has ricocheted between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for most of her life. Now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is the Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian at Saint Mary's University. Her past life includes a long stint as a hospital librarian on the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. She has an honours BA in political science and English from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. While she's adamant that her love of reading has nothing to do with her work, her ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly sure is helpful. She is often identified by her very red lipstick, and lives with her partner Brett and cat, Toasted Marshmallow.