Sunday, June 11, 2017

Science in Fiction (#29): The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd!

The Gauntlet is the third and final book of Megan Shepherd's second YA trilogy. In this series, teens are taken from Earth, a planet that may not even exist anymore. Humans may have destroyed their planet and no life may still exist. Cora and her friends don't know, because they've been taken to an alien planet with no knowledge of what happened to Earth.

I'm going to tangentially relate my topic to The Gauntlet. Life on earth in The Gauntlet could be destroyed, because of pollution, greenhouse gases, lack of clean water - who knows. Just like life on our Earth could be destroyed fort the same reason.

If it wasn't obvious, today I'm going to talk about the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement was adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris. 195 UNFCCC members signed the Agreement. The countries that have not adopted the Agreement are Syria and Nicaragua. As of June 1st, 2017, that is. 

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris agreement deals with the increase in the global average temperature, the impacts of climate change, and the financing of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. There are several important points of the Agreement, the most important being the following:

"Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change"
(Article 2 of the Paris Agreement)

Why is the Paris Agreement necessary?

In my last Science in Fiction post, I talked a lot about certain impacts of global climate change and global warming. The Paris Agreement is so important if we (the world) want to work together to slow down the effects of global climate change. By signing the Agreement, we (the world) recognize that we must work together to make efforts in slowing the increase of the global temperature, and slowing the rapid effects of climate change.

To withdraw from the Agreement would mean that the country withdrawing doesn't care about the increasing average global temperature, rising sea levels, disappearing islands, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing carbon in the atmosphere... well, we all know that the current U.S. president has a head of the EPA that doesn't even believe climate change is real.

Which, to put it bluntly, is utter stupidity. 

Keep in mind, the U.S. is a top emitter of carbon (with China). We need to be committed to the Paris Agreement. For us to withdraw sets a bad precedent for the rest of the world. What if China pulls out too? And India? The U.S. is responsible for a lot of human impacts on the environment (like carbon emission). We should be held responsible for this, down to the citizen level (yes, I'm implying exactly what you think I'm implying). 

Why is President Trump/the U.S. government pulling out of the Agreement?

Great question. To me, it doesn't seem like Trump is concerned about climate. Or even the U.S. economy, a reasoning I've seen many Republicans use to justify the withdrawal. To me, it seems like the President is trying to isolate the U.S., and this is a slap in the face to the rest of the world. A "bye Felicia" moment, if you will. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement isn't going to create jobs in the coal industry (a dying industry, mind you). It isn't going to bring back jobs (Trump claimed that the Paris Agreement would cause jobs cuts - no sweetie, it would create jobs). It isn't going to ensure that the U.S. comes up with "better" alternative ways to deal with global climate change (remember that Republicans don't believe in global climate change!). The Republicans don't even care about the environment, so I have no doubt that they are not going to propose anything in place of the Agreement, for the U.S. alone or for the world. 

But, this is my opinion, and it's worth what you're paying for. You can check out this Politico article that I found fascinating, Or better yet, check out this Fox News article but a very intelligent man that doesn't know how to cite facts. (Spoiler alert: the article is garbage.)


The Paris Agreement (provided by UNFCCC)
Paris Agreement Tracker (provided by the World Resources Institute)
Full text and annotations of Trump's speech on the Paris Agreement withdrawal (provided by NPR)
Fact-check on Trump's speech (provided by USA Today)

So, fellow earthling: what are your thoughts on the latest environmental decisions that the U.S. president has been making? I welcome all thoughts, agree or disagree.


  1. My thoughts are mixed on some factors, but not on each person's responsibility to caretake our planet to the best of our ability. I think we are all citizens of earth and it is the only planet home we've got so we need to leave it in good shape for the current and future generations.

  2. It does seem like the President is trying to isolate the U.S. Wrong move I think.

  3. I have never liked Trump's position on the environment. Trump thinks too short term and doesn't seem to put plans out there for later generations.

  4. The whole world supports this agreement, so it is a crazy move from the US. However I have read that many US states have or are going to sign climate agreements, but of course it would've been better if it was done from a national point,

  5. I'm not an American, but rather a Canadian, and am a full supporter of the fight against climate change. It's unfortunate decision by President Trump to leave the Paris Agreement.

  6. I agree with the points you made. I think global warming is important to pay attention to and I really worry about how withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will affect us long term.

  7. I agree with your thoughts! It's a very important issue, and knowing that the US has so much impact on the other countries worries me that Trump made that decision.

  8. Amazing post! This is such an important issue and I feel like a lot of people don't have enough knowledge about the subject to do something about it. I'm so proud of you for posting this, because more people definitely need to read it.

  9. Important and great post! We all must be responsible for the future of our planet, unless we want to end like a dystopian YA in the future.

  10. I haven't read this series yet but will. I really liked her Madman's Daughter. Very unique story.

  11. As always, such an awesome post Alyssa :) Love reading your science posts. <3 And ahh, I feel like things keep getting worse and worse for the US. Not good :\ I hope the world doesn't go to hell, gah.

  12. Sincerely,not big fan of politics,so I stay far away from them :D
    But this series sounds really interesting :)

  13. I always enjoy reading your sci fi posts they make you think.

  14. This is a great post. I think it's really important to pay attention to global warming and do something about it.
    I haven't read this trilogy yet but I'd love to!


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