Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Fiction for Earth Day

Today is Earth Day so I thought I would honor it by discussing the role fiction plays in spreading the word about the need to care for our environment and respect nature. So I went on a search of memory, my library online catalog and Google for various combinations of fiction or drama with nature, conservation, ecology, environment, green, earth day, climate change, global warming, pollution, endangered species etc.


As usual I got lost in the research and the list making and now I'm too whupped to write up my thoughts. I will just state what I hope is the obvious: that story is the most powerful tool we have to foster a change in attitude. Facts are not enough in themselves, they must be in a context that the hearer of them can relate to and story is the fastest track from head to heart which is the engine of change as one must be emotionally invested in an outcome to be motivated to invest anything of value in it. Like time, energy, money, reputation, creative vision.

I've lost momentum as well on gathering up summaries of the stories so the last half of the list is just title and author. I also meant to sort out book from movie and children from adult fare. And I suppose I should go through and italicize all the titles. Sigh. My eyes rebel at the thought. Forgive my laxness.

I begin with the book I read in childhood (1970s) that I associate with my own waking to the natural world and our relationship to it:

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

The rest are in no particular order:

Furry vengeance [videorecording (DVD)] / Summit Entertainment and Participant Media present in association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi ; directed by Roger Kumble ; written by Michael Carnes & Josh Gilbert ; produced by Robert Simonds, Keith Goldberg.
Summary: Sometimes four legs are better than two. Dan just moved his wife and son to the woods to take a new job with a supposedly eco-friendly housing development. But the fur, and Dan's temper, is sure to fly when the local critters learn of the bleak plans for their forest home and stop at nothing to halt construction.

We planted a tree / by Diane Muldrow ; illustrated by Bob Staake.
Summary: Simple text reveals the benefits of planting a single tree, both to those who see it grow and to the world as a whole.

Firestorm / David Klass.
Summary: 1st of a trilogy--After learning that he has been sent from the future for a special purpose, eighteen-year-old Jack receives help from an unusual dog and a shape-shifting female fighter. After centuries of abuse, the earth is dying, and it's up to Jack to reverse the decline before the Turning Point, when nothing will ever be the same again.

Bloodwood / Gillian Bradshaw.

Flash point / Sneed B. Collard III.
Summary: After school Luther works part-time with a vet who rescues and retrains birds of prey but when he questions many of the community's beliefs about land use, he risks alienation from his friends and family.

Home, and other big, fat lies / Jill Wolfson.
Summary: Eleven-year-old Termite, a foster child with an eye for the beauty of nature and a talent for getting into trouble, takes on the loggers in her new home town when she tries to save the biggest tree in the forest.

The day after tomorrow: a novel / Whitley Strieber ; based on a story by Roland Emmerich and a screenplay by Roland Emmerich and Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

The Day after Tomorrow: the movie

The beasties / William Sleator.
Summary: When fifteen-year-old Doug and his younger sister Colette move with their parents to a forested wilderness area, they encounter some weird creatures whose lives are endangered.


The case of the missing cutthroats : an ecological mystery / Jean Craighead George.
"This book was originally published by E. P. Dutton in 1975 under the title Hook a Fish, Catch a Mountain"

The witch's boy / Michael Gruber.
Summary: A grotesque foundling turns against the witch who sacrificed almost everything to raise him when he becomes consumed by the desire for money and revenge against those who have hurt him, but he eventually finds his true heart's desire.

Arctic drift [sound recording (CD)] / Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler.
Summary: The twentieth Dirk Pitt adventure explores a potential breakthrough that may reverse global warming. After several international events between the United States and one of its closest allies threaten to get vicious, NUMA director Dirk Pitt and his children must follow their only real clue: a curious mineral linked to an old Northwest Passage exhibition.

The final warning / James Patterson.
Summary: While on a mission to Antarctica to save the world from global warming, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride and the other members of the Flock--a band of genetically modified children who can fly--are pursued by their creator, the Uber-Director, who wants to auction them off to the highest bidder.

Sixty days and counting / Kim Stanley Robinson.

Julie and the eagles / by Megan McDonald ; illustrations [by] Robert Hunt ; vignettes [by] Susan McAlileyn.
Summary: Julie and her best friend, Ivy, find a baby owl in Golden Gate Park--and it needs help. At a wildlife rescue center, Julie meets Shasta and Sierra, two bald eagles that will be caged for life, unless money is raised to release them back into the wild. For Earth Day, Julie thinks of a unique way to tell the public of the eagles' plight. The "Looking Back" section explores the beginning of the environmental movement.

Hoot / Carl Hiaasen.
Summary: Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.

The monkey wrench gang / Edward Abbey.

Green Thumb / Rob Thomas.
Summary: While spending the summer in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil doing botanical research, thirteen-year-old Grady discovers a secret language used by the trees to communicate with each other and falls afoul of the dictatorial Dr. Carter, whose motives seem questionable.

California Blue / David Klass.
Summary: When seventeen-year-old John Rodgers discovers a new sub-species of butterfly which may necessitate closing the mill where his dying father works, they find themselves on opposite sides of the environmental conflict.

Avatar the movie

The River Why by David James Duncan

Circle within a circle / Monte Killingsworth.
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Chris, a runaway, joins the Chinook Indian Coyote in trying to save his people's sacred land from developers planning a beach resort.

Ecotopia : the notebooks and reports of William Weston / Ernest Callenbach.
Summary: Ecotopia was founded when northern California, Oregon, and Washington seceded from the Union to create a "stable-state" ecosystem: the perfect balance between human beings and the environment. Now, twenty years later, the isolated, mysterious Ecotopia welcomes its first officially sanctioned American visitor: New York Times-Post reporter Will Weston. Like a modern Gulliver, the skeptical Weston is by turns impressed, horrified, and overwhelmed by Ecotopia's strange practices: employee ownership of farms and businesses, the twenty-hour work week, the fanatical elimination of pollution, mini-cities that defeat overcrowding, devotion to trees bordering on worship, a woman-dominated government, and bloody, ritual war games. Bombarded by innovative, unsettling ideas, set afire by a relationship with a sexually forthright Ecotopian woman, Weston's conflict of values intensifies -- and leads to a startling climax.

Sick puppy : a novel / by Carl Hiaasen.
A friend of the earth / T. Coraghessan Boyle.
The voice of the butterfly / John Nichols.
The buffalo commons/ Richard S. Wheeler.
Flush by Carl Hiassen
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Jaguar by Roland Smith
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Scat by Carl Hiassen
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Last Lobo by Roland Smith
The Voyage of the Beetle by Anne H. Weaver
Thunder Cave by Roland Smith
Stakeout by Bonnie Doerr
Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr

1 tell me a story:

Jamie 4/23/2011 5:54 AM  

You asked me if I remember movies with environmentalist themes and I just remembered a couple while reading your blog: Knowing starring Nicholas Cage and The Day The Earth Stood Still with Kneau Reeves...

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