Me to We founders Craig and Marc Kiel­burger

Sci­ence fic­tion needs a makeover, Craig and Marc Kiel­burger write.

Calgary Herald - - YOU - Craig and Marc Kiel­burger are the co-founders of the WE movement, which in­cludes WE Char­ity, ME to WE So­cial En­ter­prise and WE Day. For more dis­patches from WE, check out WE Sto­ries at we. org.

Lately, it seems Hol­ly­wood is bank­ing more on the fall­out of hu­man­ity’s fail­ure — and we get it, con­flict fills seats. But main­stream movies do play a part in the real-world rep­u­ta­tion of sci­ence and hu­man in­no­va­tion.

There’s a trend in the slate of re­cent sci-fi block­busters: Most don’t give hu­man­ity much to root for.

Ready Player One shows a bleak world on the brink of so­cial col­lapse. In A Quiet Place, the last hu­mans strug­gle to eke out sur­vival on Earth. The­atres screen post-apoc­a­lyp­tic may­hem in the Maze Run­ner and Fu­ture World, and it makes us won­der if sci­ence can’t save us in real life.

Through our de­vel­op­ment work around the world, we’ve seen tech­ni­cal break­throughs help solve some of the world’s most press­ing crises. There are smart­phone net­works that help farm­ers in Latin Amer­ica fight drought and famine with pre­dic­tive weather fore­casts, and mo­bile phone mounts that let op­tometrists di­ag­nose eye con­di­tions in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties thou­sands of miles away.

Who’s writ­ing the screen­play about a world with­out poverty?

“Sci­ence fic­tion started out as­pi­ra­tional,” says Alyx Del­la­m­on­ica, Toronto-based au­thor of the eco-fan­tasy Hid­den Sea Tales tril­ogy.

“We’re go­ing to get off Earth, we’re go­ing to go to the stars, we’re go­ing to find our des­tiny be­yond this lit­tle mud ball.”

Lately, it seems Hol­ly­wood is bank­ing more on the fall­out of hu­man­ity’s fail­ure — and we get it, con­flict fills seats. But main­stream movies do play a part in the real-world rep­u­ta­tion of sci­ence and hu­man in­no­va­tion. Sci-fi shapes pub­lic thought while politi­cians seek support for ev­i­dence-based poli­cies on cli­mate change or vac­cine de­ploy­ment.

“If we don’t start imag­in­ing fu­tures where we make it as a species, we won’t,” says Del­la­m­on­ica.

We’re glad that Del­la­m­on­ica is imag­in­ing it. She re­cently trav­elled to Guizhou prov­ince in China for a writ­ing work­shop de­signed to tap Cana­dian and Chi­nese sci­ence fic­tion writ­ers for sto­ries that en­vi­sion so­lu­tions to ru­ral poverty. Her next book imag­ines a fu­tur­is­tic world where hu­mans make the most of break­throughs like nano-plas­tics that fil­ter clean water from the air and re­cy­cling tech­nol­ogy that turns nu­clear waste into house­hold-safe bat­ter­ies.

We’d love to see more sto­ries where sci­ence is the hero and hu­mankind isn’t doomed.

Imag­ine: Milla Jovovich leads a team of ge­neti­cists to stop the next viral out­break be­fore it hap­pens (sorry, Res­i­dent Evil). Or, Char­l­ize Theron in­vents an al­ter­nate en­ergy source to save the world from post-oil col­lapse (move over, Mad Max).

A lot of us get our in­for­ma­tion — and in­spi­ra­tion — about sci­ence and tech from TV, books and movies.

Star Trek, one of the big­gest utopian sci-fi se­ries in his­tory, is fa­mous for in­spir­ing or pre­dict­ing world-chang­ing in­ven­tions like the cell­phone, ul­tra­sound di­ag­nos­tic de­vices and 3D print­ers. It gave the next gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists a tar­get to shoot for and a vi­sion to be­lieve in. We still need that be­lief in sci­ence and in hu­man in­no­va­tion, now more than ever.

We want young peo­ple to get ex­cited about STEM ed­u­ca­tion and look for so­lu­tions to poverty, hunger, dis­ease and in­equal­ity. We want politi­cians to cam­paign on prom­ises of sci­ence fund­ing and fol­low through be­cause their con­stituents care.

We want what any good Star Trek fan wants: a fu­ture where our planet can live long and pros­per.

WARNER BROS.

Tye Sheri­dan, left, Olivia Cooke and Win Morisaki star in Ready Player One, one of many big-screen fea­tures show­ing a bleak world on the brink of so­cial col­lapse.

PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES

Emily Blunt, left, and Mil­li­cent Sim­monds are a mother and daugh­ter who strug­gle to sur­vive in the movie A Quiet Place.

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