Shades of Nature: Environmental Fiction Blog Carnival

Shades of Nature: Environmental Fiction is the Second Rooted in the Earth Blog Carnival. This time the focus is on environmental fiction or literature. Although I lean towards history and popular culture, I so dearly love fiction too. After reading blogs by the contributors to this carnival, look out for the Third Rooted in the Earth Blog Carnival in the near future.

Many years ago, I learned that Lauret, my friend, was editing a volume that included environmental fiction. The result was The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (2002) edited by Alison H. Deming & Lauret E. Savoy. The second edition of the collection arrives online and in bookstores in February 2011. They edited the book from two perspectives: Deming who is white and Savoy who is of African descent. Both women were clear about their perspectives based on diversity in the preface which defined the collection.

Al Young, the author of one of the essays titled “Silent Parrot Blues,” introduces his piece on environmental racism with a story:

Even I, who knew next to nothing about parrots, understood that this parrot was exceptional . . . His coat of many color was listless and raggedy. Not only did he look as though he’d been plucked and picked on, he looked as though he had been ‘buked and scorned,’ as the faithful Negro spiritual would have it.” (p. 113)

The parrot, a metaphor for environmental racism, could not speak much like people who cannot speak up for and defend themselves when say a company opens up a garbage dump in an impoverished neighborhood skirting environmental laws.

To expand on this idea of inequity, Savoy says, “What is the American Earth to people of color? Of course there is no single or simple answer.” (p. 9) The following blogs come from many perspectives including ethnic-and bio-diversity:


“Yard Yarns (Limerick and Haiku Prompt),” Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

“Time and Tide Pools,” The Daily Neurotic: A Webblog About Life’s Peculiarities Otherwise Known as the Dailies.

“Fiction: A New Heaven and and a New Earth,” The Great Auk — The Greatest Auk: Not Bad for Being Extinct.

“Flying Alone,” Memorizing Nature: Fantastical Yet Critical Writings by Elaine Medline.

“Stone,” Frogs and Ravens: Some Days We Are Ravens; Other Days, Frogs

The Marshlanders Sample Chapter: Beaver Night.

“Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage: An Excerpt,” From the Blog by the Same Name.


“A Review of Toni Morrison’s A Mercy,” The Schleicher Spin.

“A Damn Good Flood,” The Schleicher Spin.

Darryl A. Perkins the author of Into the Night and Understanding Goshawks offers shares some advice for writers of nature and the environment:

“The challenge of environmental fiction is to take something imaginary and not factual, and wrap it around something that is not only real, but necessary for our survival.  A further challenge, particularly of people of color, is to share our experiences and or imagination on the subject, with an audience that is unaware of our history and involvement with the environment.  However, there are heroes out there fighting the good fight like Rue Mapp, and Frank and Audrey Peterman.”

I am moved by the words of the authors who have shared their blogs in the Shades of Nature: Environmental Fiction Blog Carnival. Please take the time to comment on the blogs to encourage these environmental writers as they continue their creative pursuits.

11 responses

  1. Thanks so much for taking the effort to put this together! It’s very enjoyable to read the words of other authors working on environmental topics.

  2. Hello Dianne,

    This morning one of our part-time librarians stopped me to share a book that she was reading. Since I am always sharing and recommending books to her, she delighted in the opportunity to pull my coat-tail. It was your book. I glanced at the title and author as we proceeded to discuss African Amnericans and the enviroment, state parks, the “green” thing, etc. This being her passion, she explained how she was determined to find an outlet. Remarkably, I told her that I have just entered conceptual discussions with someone about creating an museum exhibition that examines the historical path of enviromental distriction, the death of the divine feminine and its consequences. I told her that my goal was for this institution to enter in the discussion in a major way, and to similarly involve this community.

    After sitting at my desk for a few hours, I got up to jot down the title and author, not only becasue I wanted to read the book, but also wanted to find about the author. At a second glance, I told the librarian that the name sounded vaguely familiar to me. She turned to the page that has your photograph,and I was so thrilled! I said, ” I may not be very good with names, but I never forget the face! That is when I remembered where I paths crossed. I worked for eleven years at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Although, the reason for our meeting has faded with time, I know that we were involved in some project. So, tell that I am correct. I am delighted with your success, and with the attention that you have given this more important subject. Kudos to you. Cheers!

    Rick Moss
    Chief Curator
    African American Museum & Library at Oakland

    • Hi Rick, We knew one another when I was teaching in California. At the time, I was also volunteering at the California African American Museum. You were my supervisor. I don’t remember what I worked on.

      Thanks so much for the support concerning the book. And congratulations on your position as Chief Curage at the museum in Oakland.


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