I thought Al Gore ascending to the top of an auditorium in a cherry picker was the height of global warming sensationalism — the most excited someone could be about global warming in a public sphere.
I was wrong.
UT alumna Perla Sarabia Johnson’s debut book, “Global Warning,” brings environmental passion to yet another level.
The novel takes place in the first half of the 21st century and features a young male protagonist named Dustin Jones who must cope with the consequences of severe global warming. Plants and animals have reached almost unfathomable sizes. Temperatures never dip below triple digits. The food market is saturated by a flood of artificial substitutes.
Dairy products are nowhere to be seen.
Yet “Global” is not a completely abstract, free-floating sci-fi novel. Johnson’s journalism training in newspaper, TV and radio aided her thorough research. She consulted many experts, from a horticulture professor at Texas A&M University to a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers to a curator at the Smithsonian.
Johnson said the most surprising thing she learned while researching for her book was that her “wild” ideas were often plausible.
The “Dallas Down Under” that Dustin designs in the book? Possible. Johnson’s ideas on futuristic agriculture? Also possible. While the likelihood of these events occurring is slim, she said, the idea of at least minor probability made her “surprised and pleased.”
Johnson also weaves discussions of racial identity into her novel. As a child of two Cuban parents, Johnson is passionate about her culture and is not shy to address it in her work, even through such insidiously silent topics as Latino racism.