Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler: Climate Change And Social Inequality

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In the Science fiction novel the parable of the sower, author Octavia Butler narrates a disturbing dystopian future, failing government of the United States, set in the 2020s, see from the eyes of Lauren a young African American and the Protagonist of the story. This future from the novel was Butler’s very own prediction of what the future will be a future filled with climate change, violence, and chaos. Butler’s prediction of a future is almost disturbingly accurate in our society today even though the book The Parable of the Sower is published in the year 1993, but it’s not really surprising because Octavia Butler graduated from Pasadena City College with an associate of arts degree with a focus in history and she knew like all the historians knew that history just repeats itself. Butler’s dystopian future is not far from our modern society today and if we continue in our reckless, corrupt, and capitalist-driven society where we step on other people with no empathy and big companies take nature for granted to destroy everything for profit and oil, We will likely to end up in this type of future in chaos and there will be no turning back. Here’s my reason why we are moving toward Lauren’s world of the 2020s.

First of all, because of pollution and climate change, both worlds Our’s and Lauren’s suffer the same environmental problems. the novel starts when Lauren and her stepmother are talking about how things are very different from then and now how the stars in the sky are very visible at night then unlike now. Lauren said “I look up at the stars and the deep, black sky “why couldn’t you see the stars”? (Butler 5). Luren and her stepmother can’t see the stars in the sky because of what we know in our modern society is called “Light Pollution”(The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate). According to the CNN newspaper article Loss of the night: Light pollution rising rapidly on a global scale By Manisha Ganguly, Ganguly claims that “excessive artificial light is not good. A landmark study published last year found that 83% of the world’s population and more than 99% of the US and European populations were affected by light pollution and could not see the stars at night”. Light pollution is a growing problem in our society but no one is really focusing on these problems. We take stars for granted what if we can see them anymore and they are just gone for good like in Lauren’s world of 2020. On the same page, Lauren’s stepmother talked about how big companies are creating more carbon that makes their world too hot but they can’t do anything because they’re poor and do not have the power against those big companies. Lauren’s stepmother says “ Lights, progress, growth all those things we’re too hot and too poor to bother” (Butler 5). Big Oil companies today do help to progress our lives but it comes with a lot of consequences like increase in climate change, pollution, deforestation, and polluted sea, all of these consequences are sometimes irreversible, and going against these big companies are most likely useless because of the power they have. In the article from ST.Louis Post-Dispatch Study: Eight oil companies produce as much pollution as the entire U.S. by Jessica Shankleman Bloomberg claim policy make stopped making laws to protect the environment but instead President Donald Trump to slash environmental regulations and possibly withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement, which promises to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels. This leads to Oil companies expanding more and more and carbon footprints are going off the charts according to the study in the same article “The whole oil and gas industry combined produced about 40 percent of the world’s 832 gigatonnes (832 billion metric tons, or 917.1 billion tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent released in the past three decades, according to CDP”. Even though we care about the environment we can’t do anything about it because the president allows it and it’s not illegal so like in the novel parable of the sower common citizens have no power to stop these oil companies from polluting the world.

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Second, today a lot of people suffer from wealth inequality this results in the growing population of homeless people, and the rich just keeps getting richer and the poor stays the same, the same thing is happening in Lauren’s world of the 2020s but way worse. Lauren explains how people can barely afford their essentials every especially for health care. For the street poor, unable to afford medical care, even a minor wound might be fatal. I am one of the streets poor, now. Not as poor as some, but homeless, alone, full of books, and ignorant of reality (Butler). Like today people even tho they work hard it’s not enough because they are not making the money they are supposed to. “A lot of people in America don’t realize they might be two checks, three checks, four checks away from being homeless,” said Thomas Butler Jr. Not having enough money in a paycheck is one of the leading causes of homelessness in America. According to New York City’s website, the city’s unique right-to-shelter mandate ensures “temporary emergency shelter” for every man, woman, and child who is eligible, every night. But not in the City of Angels, where two-thirds of the country’s 40,000 homeless people are without shelter.

Lastly, our world’s growing violence and gun violence can be comparable or be very similar to Lauren’s world of 2020, Lauren explains how her their father told them that in their world they should have the knowledge of how to handle a gun on else they will likely be killed outside by a person with a firearm “Armed people do get killed most often in crossfires or by snipers but unarmed people get killed a lot more often” (Butler 38). This part of the article can be comparable to a newspaper article from the New York Times Should Teachers Be Armed With Guns? Natalie Proulx according to the author President Trump suggested giving teachers guns because of the increasing number of school shootings that result in a lot of death and giving the teachers guns will lessen the fatality of the incidents than actually making gun laws. In chapter 20 Lauren explains more about the violence that she sees happening outside “ In some places, the rich are escaping by flying out in helicopters. The bridges that are still intact—and most of them are—are guarded either by the police or by gangs. Both groups are there to rob desperate, fleeing people of their weapons, money, food, and water—at the least. The penalty for being too poor to be worth robbing is a beating, rape, and/or death. The National Guard has been activated to restore order, and I suppose it might. But I suspect that in the short term, it will only add to the chaos.

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Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler: Climate Change And Social Inequality. (2021, September 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 7, 2022, from
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