Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In

English

First Advisor

Bonnie Sunstein

Abstract

Assisted migration is a term for when people take species and move them out of their historic ranges because they are threatened by climate change.

No minor hobby, invasiveness is a a risk that keeps many scientists up at night. Just ask any ecologist from the South. Kudzu vine covers some 120,000 new acres annually, its control thought "non financially feasible anymore" by the USDA. In the Chicago Shipping Channel, Asian silver carp, also known as "jumping fish" for their habits of leaping into the faces of boaters, threaten to swim into the Great Lakes, decimating $7 billion of fishing industries.

The list of invasive species is extensive, but the consequences of not moving species are equally severe. Up to fifty-two percent of all life is slated for extinction as soon as 2100 because of climate change. And if global warming is overhauling the planet anyway, it makes little sense to draw fences around wildlands anymore and expect them to stay just as they were.

Although my book is aimed in part at nature/science readers and will be well-researched, my prose ultimately uses a whimsical, probing stance that wider audiences will find appealing. Particularly the jargon-free tales of Florida panthers, rabbits in Australia, Texas snow monkeys, kudzu, Iowan prairies and the ancient, rare and dying (memorably named) stinking cedar, and the people who are assisting their migrations, should prove entertaining and instructive to readers who are interested in questioning what it means to be human in the 21st century. The guiding questions for this book are how can we tweak what we barely understand (ecosystems and nature) but then how can we not given the calamities that we face? And, perhaps more philosophically, what does it mean to be a human, a member of the living, in the age of human-induced climate change? These are two paradoxes that I hope to spend 60,000 words sorting out.

Keywords

assisted migrations, creative writing, fine arts, nonfiction, torreya

Pages

ii, 206 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 199-206).

Copyright

Copyright 2013 Clinton C. Peters

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