FUNDED! This project was successfully funded on 02 January, 2013. Find other projects
My Vanishing Hometowns
In my first-person, narrative nonfiction book, "My Vanishing Hometowns," I’ll explore the interplay among climate change science, geography, and human psychology by looking at a series of case studies of enormous changes made by people in each of my eight “hometowns” in Michigan, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, California and Oregon.
I've written my opening chapter, and have begun work on my first chapter, set in Michigan, where I was born. Next up are the two Dixie chapters. This fundraiser will fund research and travel for me and project photographer James O’Neill to my Southern hometowns in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Over my own lifetime, people have changed their attitudes and behavior in diverse and deeply contentious arenas: the civil rights movement, feminism, environmentalism, the tax revolt, globalization, attitudes about smoking, capital punishment, political party affiliations, and acceptance of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders and races.
My Oregon chapter, for instance, will look at what prompted Oregonians to redefine themselves in the 1970s not as a state of loggers, but as a state of urban planners. My Michigan chapter will consider why unionized autoworkers switched their lifelong party affiliation in 1980 from Democrat to Republican, and my Mississippi chapter will examine the impact of NASA's arrival in the 1960’s as Vice-President Lyndon Johnson steered Moon race pork to the American South.
I want to know why people made these sweeping changes: what were the catalysts and tipping points, how important were personal motivations versus the zeitgeist of society at large, and can the past can point to paths journalists, educators and scientists can follow when talking about climate change.
You can track my progress here: http://vanishinghometowns.com/