Not A Teenaged Fantasy

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

While reading the climate fiction piece, “The Tamarisk Hunter,” by Paolo Bacigalupi, I was reminded of all the dystopian young adult novels I read in middle school and high school – except this time there was a lot less teenage romance and an even greater sense of impending doom. It’s difficult to reflect on a piece like this that is labelled as fiction when it could not feel like a more real depiction of our future.

The piece also reinforces a recurring theme in our class – that people are disproportionately affected by climate change. There is always a group that is more severely affected by the consequences of climate change when they are not the ones solely responsible. In addition, there always seems to be a wealthy group of people that are hoarding all the resources and dictating what they can be used for. In “The Tamarisk Hunter,” this appears to be those in California who had the money and the power to win water rights lawsuits and were able to maintain the resource (water) for their own personal use, while others suffered (and were pushed off their land by the wealthy). Bacigalupi also depicts the water resource as something that those that are not so fortunate can see (and maybe steal from) but are not allowed to use. These parallel so many of the natural resources in less developed countries we see today. The residents can see the resources, are even the ones to extract it in some cases, but none of it benefits them personally. It all goes to those wealthier and those that are doing nothing to improve the overall situation.

The slow descent into the drought reminds me of the frog in a boiling pot analogy. It is clear from the text that the temperature and effects of climate change slowly got worse, until the residents were dying on their land.

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