The New Twenties Magazine sets a new pace for climate change discourse

Culture Literature Visual Arts

Climate change is one of the most talked about issues of our time. For UVic alumni Colton Dom, Abby Neufeld, and Matthew Campbell, creating space for discussing this significant topic is both a passion and a necessity.

The New Twenties is an online magazine which regularly publishes climate-focused art, news, and literature. While the website officially launched on Jan. 2, 2020, The New Twenties began a soft launch on Sept. 18, 2019.

“The original plan was to wait for the new year, but the whole team wanted to write about the then-upcoming election,” said Dom. He noted that the ramifications of each federal party’s take on climate change were too significant not to write about as soon as possible.

After their first year of publication has passed, the magazine will also produce a physical anthology for the year containing the team’s favourite pieces. This collection could prove to be an impactful way to get people thinking hard about how climate change affects us all.

According to Dom, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, the magazine began as a way to fill an absence of climate-conscious literature and art. When Dom and the team discovered something called the “hyperobject” — a concept brought forward by philosopher Timothy Morton — they knew it was essential to create a space to discuss the idea. 

Hyperobjects are immaterial objects which have vitality, that are so enormous a single individual cannot fully comprehend them, and that humans cannot touch — such as race, class, or climate change. To discuss global warming as a hyperobject became the team’s obsession; The New Twenties is a place for the discourse surrounding this concept.

“It took living on the other side of the Pacific Ocean to finally get perspective on what was bothering me about North American literature, even literature as a whole: it was no longer a realistic depiction of the planet,” said Dom, who lived in Japan for a short time.

The magazine’s focus on climate change, and what it means to exist on a planet that is quickly being broken down by humanity’s impact, is a crucial topic in the current era. The stories and art featured in The New Twenties strive to bring focus to the many artists currently speaking about climate change, and to help amplify these voices. 

Although many writers and artists tackle this issue regularly, The New Twenties’s focus on this topic aims for what Dom calls an “intense, ground-up restructuring” of the way people see the hyperobject of climate change. The magazine gives space for these conversations to happen in a more laser-focused way. 

On Dec. 7, 2019, the New Twenties team held their first live event, a Climate Variety Show featuring poetry, song, speeches, and drag. The show was a fundraiser aimed to help the New Twenties staff support artists contributing to their magazine.   

The New Twenties publishes online four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, and is currently open for submissions. Being open for submissions, Dom says, means that they will have an exciting variety of different artists publishing with The New Twenties in the coming months.

Climate change is a genuine, urgent threat facing humanity. For those interested in thinking more about climate change and how it impacts us, The New Twenties could be a good place to start.