In April of 2009 I was a community college environmental science professor struggling with a unit on climate change. As a chronic sufferer of OCD (Obsessive Climate Disorder) I endlessly obsessed over how to teach students this most terrifying of topics without them slipping into profound depression, resorting to substance abuse, sending me poisoned chocolates, or, worse case scenario, disengaging from the issue entirely, denying it’s explosive potential, and doing absolutely nothing about it.
As anyone who has ever been a student knows, boredom is the kiss of death in a classroom. And what better way to drive away boredom than injecting a little humor into a topic, right? Here’s the catch: there are a lot of funny things in the world, but climate apocalypse is definitely not one of them. There is not a funny bone in its body.
Yet I knew humor can get student’s attention the way few other things can. Get students laughing and they may actually start thinking. Get them thinking and hey, anything is possible! So during class I showed clips from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and The Daily Show skewering climate deniers and their insane arguments. I put up political cartoons which drove home essential points while making fun. I had students do their ABC’s, listing specific steps to combat climate change for each letter of the alphabet. “F is for fucking with the lights off. Saves energy and is so much fun,” one student wrote. Now that’s pretty damn funny.
But still I struggled. I dragged my sorry ass home from school that day wondering how many students in my class were laughing at me and not with me. And, with such a small class size, I couldn’t help but worry over how few students I was really reaching with my climate change message.
And then, on that late winter March afternoon, I had an epiphany. I’d write a book!
I’d combine climate fiction with romantic comedy. Cli-fi rom-com! Tackle potential world catastrophe in a fictionalized form through humor, social awkwardness and sex while driving home the essential science of climate change. Use silliness and a love story to entice readers into picking up my novel who would otherwise shy away from reading anything to do with such a paralyzing, mind-numbing issue.
Voila! The idea for my first novel, Love in the Time of Climate Change, was born. Published in 2014, the novel chronicles one semester in the life of my community college professor hero (mot me!) as he muddles his way through saving the world while desperately searching for true love.
My claim to fame - I have the distinction of being the first to write an activist romantic comedy about global warming. I’d love to say it was number one on the NY Times bestseller list for thirty-seven weeks in a row, but hey, you’d know I was joking.
I’m a professor emeritus now (i.e. happily retired) which leaves me ample time to pursue my passion of writing romantic comedies with a progressive message. Thank God I don’t have to make a living off of it! Given my book sales, I’d be living on the street and eating out of dumpsters which is really not funny at all.
So I thank my- ten-years-ago-self for their arrogance in thinking that maybe they actually had something new and unique to offer the written world. I especially thank myself for hunkering down and actually doing the work and writing. All things considered, it’s been quite an amusing journey.
Brian Adams’ Love in the Time of Climate Change (Green Writers Press), won the Forword Reviews IndieFAB Gold Medal Winner for Humor in 2014. KABOOM!, a young adult romantic comedy about coal extraction in Appalachia featuring two young activist girls and their environmental and romantic escapades, won gold medals at the 2017 Next Generation Indie book awards and the Literary Classics Book Awards. Offline, a rom-com about cell phone addiction has a release date of April 22nd, 2019.
Brian urges you to learn more about the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts - The mission of PPLM is to protect and promote sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice by providing clinical services, education and advocacy. Their vision is that sexual health is essential to every person's well-being. visit plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-massachusetts.