Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MY DOT - Jim Laughter talks about how he came to write POLAR CITY RED

"Up until 2011 when I was first approached about writing a family
drama about climate chaos and set in a future time period in Alaska, global warming was a term I’d only heard about in passing or on nature documentaries. Politicians and Greenpeace environmentalists rattled on about stuff that I didn’t understand. But now that I’ve had a chance to dig into the cause and effect of global warming, I’ve grown to realize that this old world is in trouble and we’re to blame.

"I spent hour after hour on the internet reading everything I could find about global warming and the effects it is having on the polar caps and Greenland ice sheets. I didn’t realize that only a three or four degree increase in air temperatures can serve to melt ice that’s been frozen for millions of years. Of course, I didn’t know carbon dioxide from carbonated water when I started, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that fossil fuel emissions are the culprit behind the whole mess.

"But even though I learn quite a bit about global warming, I’m not a scientist. I’m a storyteller. So I had to figure out a way to create a good story around a serious problem. I knew I needed characters that I could wrap the seriousness of global warming around without boring readers with a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that neither of us would understand. I think I got pretty close with "Polar City Red".

"My technical writing in the US Air Force had very little to do with weapons, operations, or hardware. I was a supply and training NCO for 20 years. I dealt with people on a one-on-one basis, working in customer service, training, etc. I didn’t carry a weapon even though I was a weapons sergeant for a while. Then again, I was also a security sergeant for a while in charge of top secret material. But if you know what you’re looking for, that kind of information isn’t hard to find. As for the science, I figured if I did good research and stuck to the facts, I’m a good enough storyteller that I figured I could weave a good story around it. But as we say in writing, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, talk about it anyway. There’s always a critic out there somewhere that will eventually contact you and tell you what you did wrong.

''My grandchildren are very important to me. Every parent wants their children to have it better than they had it. As a child, I knew I would have opportunities that my parents never had. We were small town people living in a big world. But that was in the 50s and 60s. The air was clean and the streets were safe. Neither of those things apply now. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world where they can be happy and prosper, a world where conservation isn’t a cliché, and a world where business and politicians watch out for the future of the planet instead of the next balance sheet or election result.

''I wish I had a crystal ball that I could look in to and see the future. I’d like to know if fifty years from now we’d have a habitable planet or not. I’m a student of history, so I know that people who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. I turned 59-years old this month, so by the time global warming overtakes this planets, I will have already shuffled off into eternity and my ashes will be helping young things grow. But for the people alive at the end of this century, I believe they will face a hostile world that has turned its back on humanity and is looking for a fresh start. It may take 100,000 years for the Earth to regain its balance, but it’s been around for 4 billion years and has learned patience. I only wish we could learn to respect her wishes and treat her with the dignity she deserves.''

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