Can We Manipulate Individuals Into Caring About Climate Change?

“The Tamarisk Hunter” by Paolo Bacigalupi is hands down the most interesting and engaging piece we have read so far this term. I think that Paolo Bacigalupi presented climate change and the implications and effects in accessible, understandable, and relatable manner. The most effective pieces of literature are the ones that evoke emotion and provoke a reaction from the reader, and “The Tamarisk Hunter” did just that. By the end of the short, Cli-Fi story I felt sympathy for Lolo and Annie, which means that I understood the issues that they were facing. 

Often, it is easy to read articles or books about climate change and to think about it objectively. When reading an article about climate change, I understand the concept of climate change and I understand what climate change is going to bring (and how it is going to be absolutely awful), but I don’t take it to heart. I read the article, I process it, and I move on. And that is no way to approach this topic. As Bill McKibben mentioned in the introduction, it is hard to visualize and understand how climate change is going to affect us individually, and that can often lead to a lack of acknowledgement or care by some individuals. This fact is why I believe that “The Tamarisk Hunter” is so beneficial. When I read a book, and I really get into it, I begin to resonate with certain characters and begin to feel for them. I have opinions about what I want to happen to that character, and I feel anger or sadness when something happens to that character that I don’t like. Framing and incorporating the concept of climate change into a short story is an act of brilliance. By using literary techniques to get me to feel connected or invested in a character’s story, and then by implementing the negative, detrimental effects of climate change (and by having those negative effects affect the character in a negative manner), I recognize what climate change really is. I recognize how climate change was created, how it is going to affect the world, and most importantly what it will potentially feel like. That is a perfect way to get readers to care and understand climate change and want to combat it. 

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