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26 March 2014

Environmental destruction - it's still happening...

My forthcoming novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET has a strong environmental message... Young Jack lives in a southern Appalachian mining town completely denuded by a century of poor copper mining practices. There are no birds, no bugs, no trees - the only living things in his world are the people in the community that he loves. And although I wish I could say it was completely made up, my story is based on a real time and place in 1986 in Copperhill, Tennessee near the Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia state lines. And while Copperhill went through an amazing reclamation, it's a story that could happen in many American towns and still does.
      Earlier today, a friend sent me an article at the News Observer: US House votes to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams - posted March 25, 2015 - that's not 1986, that's yesterday. My friend said the article reminded her of A BIRD ON WATER STREET. And indeed it reminds me too.
     It's part of why I wrote the story. Because if the adults of today can still make such debilitating decisions towards our environment, maybe our children are our only hope. Maybe they will save us. Maybe they will read A BIRD ON WATER STREET and see how it relates to environmental issues in their own back yards - whether it be mining, fracking, waste disposal, clear-cutting, you name it. Because the story in A BIRD ON WATER STREET is symbolic of hundreds of stories just like it - of other areas that are still waiting for their revitalization - for their adults to wise up and do the right thing.
     Some of the reviews for A BIRD ON WATER STREET explain it best:
"Dulemba expertly weaves the strands of Coppertown's environmental, economic, and personal relationships and gives a life-affirming portrait of a Southern Appalachian town needing and ready for new life. Jack's story is set in the late 1980s, but could replicate the experience of countless miners' children in this country and the world, in the past century and the present."

"Important lessons for young people abound as it evokes the environmental and financial devastation a big industry and personal greed can have on the innocent lives of workers, their careers, and where they've chosen to live."

"Ultimately hopeful, this story will give readers a first look at the kind of environmental and social issues surrounding large industry that they'll encounter later in books like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle.""
     Yes, mother nature is resilient. Yes, she can make a comeback. But we must never forget that our actions can make our earth uninhabitable for humankind. Mother Nature doesn't need us - we need her! It's a lesson we must learn for our own survival.
     CLICK HERE to learn more about A BIRD ON WATER STREET.

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