Greening Dickens @ MLA

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Apparently Rachel Carson no longer provides enough inspiration to environmentalists. They are now going back to find environmental messages written long before the first Earth Day was commemorated.

In Charles Dickens’ novels, “Cities are ugly and dangerous and the country is pastoral and idyllic,” Troy Boone of the University of Pittsburgh pointed out in a panel on Dickens and the Environment at the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) annual meeting in Chicago this year. “Dickens himself asks us to think of him as a social novelist,” Boone noted.

Sophie Christman-Lavin of the State University of New York at Stony Brook offered an “ecofeminist reading of Hard Times.”  The problem Christman-Lavin faced, that she did not admit to, is that there are scant ecological or feminist references in Dickens novel.

Perhaps this is why she spent most of her time quoting Rob Nixon and “James Hansen, the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist.” I swear, every time Hansen’s name was uttered at the MLA (and I counted three such references in as many panels), the mention was followed by a moment of silence.

Nixon is the Rachel Carson & Elizabeth Ritzmann Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a global warming alarmist.  Last year, The New York Times reported that “Hansen, the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming, will retire from NASA this week, giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases.”

They both need to hurry and catch up with the latest science on global warming. “In a joint press conference NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and NASA have just released data for the global surface temperature for 2013,” David Whitehouse of the The Global Warming Policy Foundation stated on January  21, 2014. “In summary they both show that the ‘pause’ in global surface temperature that began in 1997, according to some estimates, continues. Statistically speaking there has been no trend in global temperatures over this period. Given that the IPCC estimates that the average decadal increase in global surface temperature is 0.2 deg C, the world is now 0.3 deg C cooler than it should have been.”