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The schisms created by uneven, out-of-sync schedules change how these communities, families and people function. As Julia puts it in the novel: "I think we lost something else when we lost that crisp rhythm, some general shared belief that we could count on certain things. Of course, the changes induced by the slowing aren't just societal, but biological. Birds, no longer able to navigate, fall out of the sky. Whales beach themselves.

Crops wither in the constant hot sun. Astronauts are trapped in the space station. The earth's magnetic shield cracks, causing solar superstorms.


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Most of the reviews focus on the comparison between the planet's global changes and Julia's adolescent "throes of seismic upheaval," as NPR put it. And much of the book does focus on crushes and coming of age, making the point that life goes on, people keep doing the things people do, even in the face of environmental destruction. But it's not Julia and her adolescent struggles that have kept me thinking about this book months later: rather, it's the feeling of slow, creeping doom that permeates the novel, one that we perhaps don't feel enough when we think about climate change.

A few decades ago, a science fiction novel about the slowing of the earth would have involved people floating away without gravity; this one is about the death of crops, the ocean spitting out its emblematic mammals, birds dropping to the earth, and society slowly splintering.

The Slow Miracles Campaign - The Father McKenna Center

Walker's stated goal was to address a slow-moving catastrophe: she wanted to explore "how people would react to a catastrophe like the slowing, which is almost too large to comprehend and which unfolds at a relatively slow rate. Julia and her family still have their home, their jobs: it's the world that's changing around them while they continue to persevere. However, her global catastrophe still unfolds at a much faster rate than ours: the whole book takes place over the course of a year or so.

So while the characters certainly have time to contemplate their doom, science doesn't have time to catch up. Plans to genetically engineer crops to grow in long days and nights are abandoned. There is no great technological boom to develop new fuels; electricity is shut off. There is not time to find a planetary alternative for relocation, even if the technology existed. It reminds me that climate change's slow movement is a blessing. It probably won't cause the kind of global catastrophe described in Age of Miracles , but things will change. And its slow movement means that we have the time to anticipate problems and develop solutions.

John Dear. Originally published in , the critically acclaimed Seeds of Nonviolence chronicles John Dear's early experiments in Gospel nonviolence, from his service to the homeless in Washington, DC; various nonviolent civil disobedience actions against war and injustice; journals and diaries from Central America, the Philippines, death row, the Abbey of Gethsemani and elsewhere; essays on the theological and biblical roots of nonviolence; and a closing journal of peacemaking kept during the First Gulf War in Writing in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.

Seeds of Nonviolence inspires us to undertake our own experiments in Gospel nonviolence and to reap a new harvest of peace and justice. A Shelter Is Opened. A Prayerful Vigil for Peace. Prayers of Protest.

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And much of the book does focus on crushes and coming of age, making the point that life goes on, people keep doing the things people do, even in the face of environmental destruction. But it's not Julia and her adolescent struggles that have kept me thinking about this book months later: rather, it's the feeling of slow, creeping doom that permeates the novel, one that we perhaps don't feel enough when we think about climate change. A few decades ago, a science fiction novel about the slowing of the earth would have involved people floating away without gravity; this one is about the death of crops, the ocean spitting out its emblematic mammals, birds dropping to the earth, and society slowly splintering.

Because Slow is Faster and Fast is Merely Exhausting!

Walker's stated goal was to address a slow-moving catastrophe: she wanted to explore "how people would react to a catastrophe like the slowing, which is almost too large to comprehend and which unfolds at a relatively slow rate. Julia and her family still have their home, their jobs: it's the world that's changing around them while they continue to persevere.

However, her global catastrophe still unfolds at a much faster rate than ours: the whole book takes place over the course of a year or so. So while the characters certainly have time to contemplate their doom, science doesn't have time to catch up. Plans to genetically engineer crops to grow in long days and nights are abandoned. There is no great technological boom to develop new fuels; electricity is shut off. There is not time to find a planetary alternative for relocation, even if the technology existed. It reminds me that climate change's slow movement is a blessing.

It probably won't cause the kind of global catastrophe described in Age of Miracles , but things will change. And its slow movement means that we have the time to anticipate problems and develop solutions. But it first takes recognizing that climate change is an issue worth addressing--and, in that case, its slow drag makes it hard to take that action. Inaction on climate change has an insidious ally: time. The distress signal is emitted at a frequency that scientists can hear quite clearly, but is seemingly just beyond the reach of most politicians.

People could debate how best to fix the problem, but they could not doubt that there was a problem and it had to be fixed. Yet, as Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank, who studied the costs of climate change for the British government, has observed, the risks are vastly greater than those posed by the collapse of the Western financial system. If one of the goals of art is to help people better understand the world around them, let's take a message from Age of Miracles.

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We will adapt to the effects of climate change. Life will go on. But let's make it easier on ourselves and start preparing now, since we have the time.