Symposium

A Discussion About (Mostly) Books As They Relate to a Theme of Contemporary Interest

We all see the polar bear dying

Every time I take my birth-control pill, I think about the ozone layer. As a child raised in the early ’90s, when scientists were shouting, “Hairspray makes Earth hot!” and puppets shaped like robots rapped about recycling, fear of the waning ozone layer made me worry about my own future, not to mention that of a future generation. It is this tension, this fear of our legacy and of rising floodwaters, that animates Jon Mooallem’s Wild Ones. Mooallem is a new father watching his daughter’s room fill with toy versions of sweet, furry animals, while outside all of the real animals are disappearing. So he begins to tell informed, natural-science-tinged bedtime stories, recognizing that, in the same way that wild animals are anthropomorphized in children’s books, our natural crisis must be humanized through story as well.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Donna Kozloskie is a cultural critic who has recently worked with the Rooftop, True/False, and Tribeca film festivals. Sometimes she writes on her blog, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then. She is currently unemployed; send food.


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