Early Draft/ Outline

Early Draft

March 10, 2020

Global sustainability issues take on various forms and the lack of sustainable living has begun to affect our planet. The development of climate change has been a slow process to get where it is today and contrasting reactions from the general public in America have manifested as a result. Climate change and failing to live sustainability has manifested into affecting the weather, seasons, renewable resources, and so much more. However, one aspect to climate change that is often overlooked by the general population is how it affects the Arctic. The Arctic is crucial to the survival of our planet yet it is dying more with each passing day. Why is this happening and why is the general public ignorant to the realities of this situation?

            A glaciologist named Dr. M Jackson decided that she wanted to have a deeper understanding of what glaciers specifically hold for humanity. Her memoir While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change details what happens when these glaciers, and the climate in general, changes for the worst and compares the planet’s death to the death of her parents. While her prose, varied sentence structure, and echoing thoughts make for an incredibly engaging read, she is simply scraping the tip of the iceberg. Her book allows readers to become more interested in what is happening to the planet and to motivate people to learn more. M Jackson’s memoir While Glaciers Slept uses a comparison of familial death and climate change to paint a larger image of what climate change is doing our planet, describes how a refusal to move towards a more sustainable way of life can affect us all, and reveals the importance of the Arctic to open up for more large scale conversations about sustainability that needs to be had if we want any chance at surviving on Earth.

            While Glaciers Slept jumps between the death of M Jackson’s parents to her experiences with the Arctic. On one hand, it keeps the reader engaged and interested to see how these two ideas are connected. On the other hand, this is a comparison Jackson is making between the two ideas. Jackson understands that “death is almost unbearably common, as much as it is, simultaneously, almost unimaginable for each of us as individuals” (Jackson, 18), which is why she is trying to get us all to reach an understanding whether we have personally experienced death or not. She levels the playing field by introducing us all to the heartbreaking loss that she experiences through the death of her parents to simultaneously introduce us to the idea that our planet is dying.

            Unlike novels such as Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Jackson doesn’t have the mindset that the planet is inevitably doomed. Instead, she has a more optimistic approach. Jackson says that even though we haven’t “envisioned a clear future with climate change”, that doesn’t mean that we can’t change the future for the planet (Jackson, 20). Even though she’s optimistic, Jackson still has a deep understanding of what is happening and isn’t ignorant about reality. There a few big questions Jackson doesn’t quite dive into the big question that is relevant to her message about climate change which is what are some of the things people, or more specifically American, do that is so detrimental to our planet?

            One of the big detrimental actions that a vast majority of Americans continue to do is remain in denial. Denialism affects the planet in insurmountable ways by keeping up with an unsustainable way of life while also limiting policy changes to help the environment. Denialism has become more prevalent due to the extensive ways people can interact now and due to leadership. The leadership roles in our American society fail to “address the systemic factors causing climate change” and lead to people living in blissful ignorance (Petersen, 120). However, there are actually different levels of this denialism that range from full literal denial to techno-optimism.

Literal denial can be translated as ignoring “the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is occurring” (Petersen, 122). This denial feeds off of the opinions raised by the public and stalls the creation of policies geared towards sustainable living. One example of a literal denier would be companies engaged in fossil fuels such as ExxonMobil (Petersen, 122). These companies make a lot off of fossil fuels and prioritize their income over the safety of the planet.


March 10, 2020

  1. Introduction
  2. Familial Death vs Climate Change
    • How Jackson compares it
    • What it does for readers
    • Explain climate death
      • Use resources to back up if she is or is not being dramatic about the planet dying
      • Graze the top of the big questions
        • How did we kill the planet this much?
        • What are the things most Americans do daily that is detrimental?
        • Is there a trend to who insists on climate change denial
  3. Climate Change Denial
    • How does Jackson feel about climate change denial
      • Possibly use interviews with her to back this up
    • Is there a trend of who is in denial?
      • Spoiler alert: it’s white, conservative males that make up most of the climate change deniers
        • Suggestion from class: try to find out levels of denial
    • Why the denial?
      • Is it because the reality is too difficult to imagine? Is it easier to be ignorant? Or an underlying reason?
    • Earth 2
      • Is the idea of moving to a different planet easier to grasp than fixing what has happened to Earth? Why?
      • What does Earth 2 have that Earth 1 doesn’t?
      • Wouldn’t we just ruin Earth 2 like we did with Earth 1
      • I don’t plan to discuss this idea for too long, I just really wanted to mention it somewhere in my paper because it’s fascinating to me that people would rather move entire planets than focus any energy into fixing what we’ve done here.
    • How does the denial affect Americans and the planet?
      1. Could we exist with some denial if the majority lived sustainably?
      1. Specifically, how does it affect the Arctic and glaciers?
  4. The Arctic
    • The importance of the Arctic
      • What role does it play for everyone?
      • Why should anyone care?
      • What happens if we destroy it?
  5. Jackson’s message
    • How does her message get across?
      • How does the prose help her message?
        • Overly descriptive
        • Concrete/ active verbs
        • Concrete language (in terms of nouns)
      • How does the varied sentence structure help her message?
      • Why does she echo her message throughout the book?
        • What does it do for her? Does it help or hinder?
        • Echos of choices
        • Thematic manifestation
        • Theme of healing
          • Herself and the planet
      • Turning point on page 38
        • Not focusing on death of planet but rather shows that it’s alive and showing it’s changing in surmountable ways.

Works Cited

Jackson, M. While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change. Green Writers PR, 2017.

Petersen, Brian, et al. “Reconceptualizing Climate Change Denial: Ideological Denialism Misdiagnoses Climate Change and Limits Effective Action.” Human Ecology Review, vol. 25, no. 2, 1 July 2019, pp. 117–141., doi:10.22459/her.25.02.2019.08.

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