Tag Archives: climate change

Caves of Ice, Prophecies of War

Scientists are detecting faster-than-predicted melting of the Greenland glaciers, which would lead to catastrophic sea level rise. Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” with its caves of ice and prophecies of war, comes to mind.

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Trump, GOP Sacrifice Our Climate Future

Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out the the Paris Climate Accord, and the GOP’s willingness to go along, reveal an absolute contempt for the next generation. Such contempt is at the heart of Russell Hoban’s dystopian nightmare “Riddley Walker.”

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To Save Planet, Scientists Must Protest

Saturday’s March for Science is a sign that scientists are realizing they don’t have the luxury of remaining aloof from politics. Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” explores the issue.

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Climate Change, Fairies Fighting

Some of the extreme climate events we are currently experiencing are described in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” where they are the result of fairy infighting

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“Enemy of the People,” Badge of Honor

Donald Trump has been attack the media as “the enemy of the people,” bringing to mind Heinrik Ibsen’s 1882 play. The play is about a truth-telling scientist but the parallels are still very apt: stand up for truth, regardless of the consequences.

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Civil War Battle, Image of Climate Denial

Ambrose Bierce’s disturbing short story “Chickamauga” can be applied to climate change denialsm.

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Climate Scientists, Our Cassandras

Our climate scientists must feel like modern day Cassandras, as she appears in Aeschylus’s “Agamemnon” or Robinson Jeffers’s “Cassandra.” The prophetess knew what would happen but no one believed her. As a result, Troy fell.

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Using Lit to Discover Purpose in Science

My Intro to Literature students, few of whom are English majors, are often startled to discover that literature understands them better than they understand themselves. Today’s post describes the encounters between two science majors and, respectively, Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality” and Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior.”

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Finding Beauty in Ravaged Landscapes

In “Gift of Gravity,” Wendell Berry finds beauty even in ravaged landscapes. But is there a limit to how much of a devastated landscape he could learn to love?

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Our Children Will Reproach Us

If we fail to take adequate measures to stave off catastrophic climate change, our children and grandchildren will see sea levels rise by three meters by the century’s end. Lucille Clifton has a poem that describes how they would regard us.

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Oh the Ice Will Split and the Cities Be Hit

As we receive news that the Antarctic ice sheet is less stable than we thought and that we could be facing catastrophic sea level rise in the next century, China Miéville’s nightmare vision of a polluted city in “Perdido Street Station” is a wake-up call.

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Literature and Climate Change

Thoughts about the genre label “cli-fi” and an annotated list of past posts about literature and climate change.

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A Talk with a Cli-Fi Activist

Dan Bloom, inventor of the term cli-fi for climate fiction, tirelessly advocates for such fiction, regarding it as indispensable in the struggle to save the human race. I interview him in today’s blog.

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Monarchs & Ezekiel’s Burning Coals of Fire

Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” shows us Baptists farmers, not normally friends of environmentalists, turning to religious language to save the environment.

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Introducing a New Genre: Cli-Fi

Weather disappeared largely from literature when it was seen unrealted to the actions of humans. With climate change now upon us, however, a new literary genre has arisen.

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Donne’s Warning about Climate Change

Looking back over the past year, I repost an essay on John Donne’s “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” and climate change denial. Given that 2015 has been the warmest year on record and that “the weather outside is frightful,” Donne’s comments about “moving of th’ earth” are only too relevant.

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A Season for Miraculous Breakthroughs

In this Scott Bates poem about Operation Breakthrough, the 1988 American-Soviet rescue operation that liberated three ice-bound gray whales, the possibility for international cooperation to save the planet is imagined. Were he still alive today, my father would be excited by the 2015 Paris climate accord.

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Climate Hope Shines in Dark Times

Madeleine L’Engle’s 1971 Advent poem anticipates the gloom we feel today about climate change. Yesterday’s international accord, however–miraculously signed by 195 countries–gives us some glimmer of Christmas hope.

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Climate Inaction Will Lead to a Dystopia

If we refuse to do anything to counteract climate change, we are doing grave injustice to our children and grandchildren. Russell Hoban’s post-apocalyptic fantasy “Riddley Walker” captures the selfishness that we would be guilty of.

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Tolstoy and Climate Change Denial

The denial of the citizens of Moscow as Napoleon approaches the city, described by Tolstoy in “War in Peace,” resembles climate change denialism.

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An ABC of Our Attack on the Earth

In his “ABC of Radical Ecology,” Scott Bates sets forth an alphabet primer for various environmental ills.

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Donne and Climate Change Denial

Somewhat unexpectedly, John Donne’s “Valediction Forbidding Mourning” gives insight into climate change denial.

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The River’s Blood Turned to Stone

This Scott Bates fable captures the tragedy of California’s drought.

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When American Fantasies Are Dangerous

The denial of reality that has taken over certain segments of the GOP is well described by Neil Gaiman in “American Gods.” America has a long tradition of such fantasizing.

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The Animals Are Trying to Warn Us

Scott Bates invokes “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in this Nativity poem.

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Climate Change: Signs of Witchery

Native American author Leslie Marmon Silko warns of ecological disaster if we don’t change our relationship to the earth.

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Koch Inc: Oligarchs of Order and Ordure

A Scott Bates poem framing our oil barons as “the officious oligarchs of order and ordure” and “the lizards of ooze.”

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Kingsolver Tries to Save the Planet

I’m not entirely sure what to make of Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior (2012), which I’m currently teaching in my Introduction to Literature class. It fits well with my theme, which is “Humans in Nature,” and I certainly agree with Kingsolver’s point that climate change is one of the greatest dangers facing humankind. I just have […]

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Hydrocarbons Unleash an Angry God

Euripides’ “The Bacchae” can be read as a parable of climate change denialism.

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Mass Extinctions Followed by Life

Richard Shelton’s poem “Death” reminds us that we are part of the world that we are destroying.

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GOP Denies a Giant Problem

Faced with climate change denialism, Obama has been forced to take executive action. Jonathan Swift would understand.

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