This teaching resource was contributed by Christina Katopodis, Ph.D. Core Text Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1962). Summary…
In this gothic masterwork, Mary Shelley tells the story of an arrogant scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who brings to life a being assembled from dead body parts.
When the inhabitants of earth run out of trees, they colonize the planet Athshe, dispossessing the small, green, furry humanoids who live there and harvesting the wood from their forests.
Ruth, a Japanese-American writer based in Waletown, British Columbia, finds a hello kitty lunchbox on the beach that carries within it the diary of Nao, a California-born teenager who moved to Japan with her family after her father lost his Silicon Valley job in the 90s. As Ruth becomes immersed in the drama of Nao’s life, she begins to worry that Nao’s journal was carried across the Pacific in a gyre after the 2011 tsunami.
In this sequel to Parable of the Sower, Butler continues the story of Lauren Oya Olamina and her religious movement called Earthseed. Butler interweaves multiple narrators through collected journals, mostly Olamina and her daughter Larkin, but also occasionally her husband Bankole and her brother Marcus. Both Bankole and Larkin accuse Olamina of choosing Acorn and Earthseed over them. But all of Olamina’s care and work come to a horrific end when a fascist religious fanatic is elected who establishes Christian America (CA).
These three novels tell stories from multiple characters’ viewpoints before, during, and after the “waterless flood” in which bioengineer Glenn causes a mass extinction event for humans through dissemination of a Viagra-like pharmaceutical drug called BlyssPluss. To replace humans, Glenn has bioengineered a new species, referred to as the Crakers, who are human-like but free from hierarchies and violence. The title of the novel, and the name Crakers, derive from the game Extinctathon about animals that have gone extinct, including the oryx (antelope) and crake (bird).
This novel imagines that the Monarch butterflies’ annual spring migration to Mexico is disrupted by climate change in an event that forever changes the life of the main character, Dellarobia Turnbow. Set in Appalachia, the novelist’s current residence, the novel explores tensions between scientists, environmental activists, and poor rural communities over climate change.
Lilith Iyapo wakes up in a spaceship orbiting Earth to find out that humans have destroyed the world and made it unlivable and an alien species, the Oankali, have saved the few humans who survived the war. Lilith is charged with waking her fellow humans to establish a new Oankali-Human society on Earth.
This post was developed and authored by Christina Katopodis, Ph.D. Core Text Thoreau, Henry David. “Sounds” in Walden, ed. J.…
This short essay could be a good beginning text—clear, concise, full of factoids—that emphasizes the slippery environmental rhetoric of both corporations and institutions as well as the ways in which the climate crisis is not a coming event but current and widespread violence.
In this autofictional novel set in New York City, the narrator tells the story of how the book came to be. We learn that the novel was financed based on the promise of a short story that the narrator “Ben” published in The New Yorker, and we see the conception of the project change as the narrator works his way from “fraudulence to sincerity in the sinking city.”
These three short texts all raise questions about apocalypse, hope, and culture change, and might serve as a starting point for inviting students to explore their own fears around climate change as well as what kinds of cultural change they hope to see.
This novel takes the form of diary entries, written from 26 year-old Cedar Songmaker to her gestating child over the course of her pregnancy. The United States may be politically collapsing and is becoming ever more violent and carceral in this process, while strange evolutionary mutations lead to the rumor that evolution has started to run backwards–together, these events lead to governmental attempts to imprison and control all pregnant people.
This is the first of two novels (Parable of the Talents) centered around a young Black teenager named Lauren Oya Olamina. Due to climate change, a scarcity of resources (especially food and water) has led to a collapse of institutions and a rapid rise in violent crime.
Sila (breath in Inuktitut), a play set in the Canadian arctic/Nunavut, depicts the complex relationships between Inuit activists, Canadian scientists, government coast guard officials, and a polar bear mother and daughter struggling for survival.