Affection, Attraction and Aversion
Climate and Cultural Crises in “The Ice People” by Maggie Gee
Keywords:climate change, climate fiction, biophilia/biophobia, Maggie Gee, apocalypse
The multi-faceted nature of the climate crisis in The Ice People (1998) by Maggie Gee is examined from an interdisciplinary perspective aimed at highlighting ways in which the joint effort of the humanities and the sciences can achieve effective environmental communication and audience engagement. An ecocritical reading of the novel incorporates the “Biophilia Hypothesis” (1993),
a set of values through which Edward O. Wilson and Stephen Kellert have articulated genetic explanations to historical or emergent cultural patterns. Biophilic and biophobic values shed light on how humans affiliate to the other-than-human. Throughout the fictional apocalypse, biophobic values such as Aversion reveal the fracture between human beings and other species while Attraction, Affection, and other biophilic values are exploited for biophobic reasons. The values supporting our innate affiliation to nature can be identified, decoded, deconstructed, and consciously implemented to foster a novel cultural climate able to avert the climate apocalypse.
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