Today, 22 April, is the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. Under different circumstances, there would probably be big outdoor concerts for fund-raising or maybe community-wide cleanups. This year, we’ll be celebrating the earth online.
An adaptation of a classic dystopian novel connected to Earth Day is giving a new, digital audience reason to be optimistic. The story is about climate catastrophe, class warfare, dogmatic religion, and a president who believes so devoutly in capitalism that he sells an entire town to a private corporation.
Octavia E. Butler’s 1993 Parable of the Sower, which is set in 2024, is now almost always tagged with the word “prescient” because with every passing year, it seems to become more relevant. It makes sense to think about Parable on Earth Day because so much of the novel is concerned about Earthseed, the name that Lauren Olamina, the novel’s heroine, gives to her spiritual beliefs—beliefs that challenge the religious orthodoxy of her preacher father.