By Dave Zink
Let me tell you a bit about my book, and why I wrote it.
Working in the environmental sciences, military and civilian (WA State Department of Ecology) for over thirty years, I’ve had my share of interesting encounters, and met some memorable people. I thought writing a novel would be a fun way to share some of these characters and experiences—a precautionary tale wrapped in a science fiction and love-story package.
The dominant theme of A Hundred Lifetimes is the greed and the chase for profits that are destroying all we hold dear, interlaced with several supporting themes, including climate change, racism, and the repression of indigenous peoples.
As I type this piece, the tar-sands project is scalping massive acreages of carbon-sequestering boreal forest in northern Alberta. It would be far better to leave petrol, natural gas, and other greenhouse-gas producing fuels in the ground; build an energy network based on the generation of wind, solar, and tidal power; and replace our cars with electronic models that can go long distances between charges.
Perhaps the single major obstacle to building an ecologically sustainable society is the meddling of the trans-national fossil-fuel corporations in our political process. The power of million-dollar contributions—with subsequent relentless pressure by well-paid corporate lobbyists—outshouts the voices of the working-class majority, and corrupts our political process. The game is rigged, as Bernie Sanders says.
We’ve done a pretty poor job of controlling Capitalism, and that’s produced a staggering array of detrimental effects, exacerbating problems ranging from militarism, environmental troubles, the prison-industrial complex, and general widespread social injustice.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen environmentalists stumbling repeatedly into the same obstacles. It’s easy to point the finger at the “bad guys”, but it’s really not a “good guys vs. bad guys” situation, and those who play that game are guilty of misleading via over-simplification and dumbing things down. If there is any “bad guy”, it’s the profits-first System itself. Each year, the world’s wealthiest corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars to protect their ability to extract water from drying aquifers; replace meadows, forests, and farms with biologically barren parking lots and malls via so-called “development”; pollute our air and water; and wreak general eco-havoc with little if any regard for the future beyond their next corporate quarterly report. And, they set the pace and supply the model that smaller companies must emulate to survive long in this system.
A corollary contributor to our predicament is a crisis of leadership. People are looking for alternatives, but the Left is fractured into increasingly marginalized competing sects, each so weak that most people are either ignorant about their existence, or consider them as irrelevant jokes. Wouldn’t it be great if these groups could bury the hatchet, stop quibbling about divisive matters, and unite into an effective movement for social and environmental justice? In my story, I describe a scenario of this happening. In A Hundred Lifetimes, there are analogs of several characters currently active in North American politics. WIP readers might even find themselves among them.
The reader will detect much satire, parody, exaggeration, & extrapolation in these pages. Hope you enjoy the book!
A Hundred Lifetimes is now available at Orca Bookstore, or from Amazon Books.
Dave Zink was an early Works In Progress contributor and currently resides in the Tacoma area.