Reaching Canada’s legislated 2050 Net Zero goal has been the subject of discussion for governmental commissions (e.g. Net Zero Advisory Body) think tanks (e.g. Canadian Climate Institute), and even neighborhood associations in Toronto (e.g. Toronto's Harbord Village Net Zero Committee). The focus is usually on the technical and policy pathways for reaching Net Zero, but they have thus far penetrated less into public debate and imagination. Most people have little idea what a net zero world might look like or how it could come about. As one way to address this gap, the Environmental Governance Lab inaugurated a new project to produce a series of speculative fiction magazines set in an imagined 2050 in a Canada that has achieved its net zero goal.
The first volume of the magazine, We Did It!?, was launched in spring of 2023 with stories produced through a series of workshops with writers, social scientists, and technical experts. The stories consider different aspects of how Canada got to net zero, what life looks like, and the work still left to be done to create a just and equitable low carbon society. The magazine explores the pursuit of net zero through stories that imagine how social and political change might look and where it might take us. The foundation of the project is the belief that a future-history approach that uses stories grounded in understandings of social, political, and technical dynamics from the social and sustainability sciences can be a way to enhance the public discourse around net zero and facilitate the conversations required for pursuing a just low carbon future in Canada.