Eco-Fiction interviews Vermont author Don Bredes, author of Polly and the One and Only World:
Meet author Don Bredes, whose debut novel Hard Feelings was named Best Book of the Year for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Bredes is back with another YA novel, Polly and the One and Only World, a fantasy apocalyptic novel ushering in a vision of a future world that is not so impossible to believe. In the book, a young heroine named Polly Lightfoot tries to survive results of climate change: rising seas, coastal floods, drought, and social upheaval.
Mary: Hi Don, thanks for the interview! You have written a fantastic book with lovable 15-year-old Polly, who, along with her friend and raven, must figure out how to escape a fundamentalist dominion and reunite with her family; this is an epic journey up the eastern seaboard of the United States. Though fiction, this journey opens our eyes to a potential future if we’re not careful with our treatment of the environment. What motivated you to tackle this subject?
Don: Thanks very much, Mary, for your interest in the novel.
One strong motivation has been my reverence for the natural environment that nurtures and sustains us. Each one of our social systems–government, education, health care, commerce, trade, global relations–indeed, everything that characterizes modern civilization–relies on the continuing health of our ecosystems. In recent years, more and more of us have come to realize how the human “conquest” and plundering of nature have disrupted the balance that the world’s climate has enjoyed for thousands of years.
We understand now that increasingly severe disruption–which seems inevitable–will result in ever more intense storms, permanent drought, coastal flooding, the probable end of large-scale industry and agriculture, and, perhaps, the collapse of the Gulf Stream conveyor. Very likely, such convulsive changes will lead to widening inequality and social upheaval, wars over shrinking resources, and the potential for terrorist violence a thousand times more devastating than 9/11.
Somehow, and soon, the nations of the world will have to resolve to ameliorate the devastating consequences of a rapidly changing climate. In the years ahead, the decisions we make in response to the climate crisis will shape the course of civilization for centuries to come. Polly and the One and Only World presents a cautionary fantasy that will inspire young readers to understand the imperative need to make most effective choices.
Read the entire interview here.