I was inspired to create this blog by reading Rob Nixon’s definition of a “writer activist” in his book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Writer activists are “combative writers who have deployed their imaginative agility and worldly ardor to help amplify the media-marginalized causes of the environmentally dispossessed” (Nixon 5). Nixon divides the writers he refers to as writer activists into three categories: “some have testified in relative isolation, some have helped instigate movements for environmental justice, and yet others, in aligning themselves with pre-existing movements, have given imaginative definition to the issues at stake while enhancing the public visibility of the cause” (5-6). It is the goal with the creation of this website to be able to place myself in that third category and put my knowledge and passion to good use.
While, Nixon focuses on writer activism in both fiction and non-fiction, characterizing the latter as being underrated, I believe fiction to be a powerful rhetorical tool especially when discussing topics that are highly politicized. The United States is split by party lines; as a result, there is quite a lot of political debate and every issue under the sun. I know that many of my conservative friends would often become defensive about topics such as climate change, sustainability and fossil fuels, even though I’m certain that you will never catch a conservative saying “burn, baby, burn” when discussing the environment. Fundamentally, we all have the same idea about the planet: a healthy planet leads to a healthier society, so why aren’t we working together to achieve this goal? BECAUSE the issue is too highly politicized. Conservatives and liberals alike often feel that journalistic and scientific reports have some sort of political or social bias. However, fictional accounts about the very same issues are not met with the same sort of scrutiny and often allow a person to experience a viewpoint different from their own in a non-threatening way.
While the goal of this blog is to reach out to the everyday person, I am not making the argument that sustainability and environmental responsibility are personal, private issues. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t bother with reducing the amount of energy you use or stop recycling but ultimately we need to reform on a global scale to curb climate change and to stop energy industry abuses. However, as I mentioned before, our world leaders tend to only focus on these reforms when all other major political concerns have been satiated for the time being.
Therefore, we the people of the Internet, need to have the energy discussion so that politicians can take a page from our e-book and get cracking.