Some Miscellaneous Thoughts
This post is doubtless going to be a little scattered because I wanted to sum up some of the thoughts that I had at the end of class today. Firstly, I was thinking about the ideas of ecology and dystopia as interconnected literary genres. I read a book over the summer called The Age of Miracles (See link to the NPR review: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/02/155098886/the-age-of-miracles-considers-earths-fragility) This is a strange title for a book which is exclusively about the end of nature as we know it. The premise of the book is that our interference with the earth had affected gravity, and thus slowed the spinning of the earth, causing a myriad of problems. The genre of the novel is science fiction (as per our discussion a few weeks ago about representations of the ecological crisis.) But I also think that the book could fit into a new and emerging literary classification, ecological dystopia.
My mood after finishing this book was bleak. Though fiction, the ecological predicaments that the book sketches out are all too believable. I felt scared and I felt helpless, just as I did after reading the entirety of Silent Spring for the first time. I agree with the point brought up in class today that we need to focus more on the positive aspects of the environmental movement in order to encourage people to do something. I think that hope is the best emotion to use to stir people to action. After all, why on earth would anybody attempt a task that was considered a lost cause from the start? If we can remind people that not all is lost in terms of the environment, I think that they would be much more willing to put time and energy into thinking about the problems and the possible solutions.
That said, I think that our environmental crisis is a problem that needs to be addressed from the top. We can recycle and use fluorescent light bulbs, but ultimately there are laws that need to be changed and governmental policies that need to be overhauled. Maybe one of the most productive things for us to do at this moment is to petition our governmental representatives about changes that we think would help the environment. We need more Al Gores, that is people with innovative ideas, but also real power to make policy changes. I think that education and knowledge about the problems are a great start, but I also think that making real and lasting change comes down to making sure that the people in power realize the significance and importance of these changes, and use their clout to make them happen.