In February, FLC welcomed author Craig Childs and his book Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Future of the Earth for this year’s Common Reading Experience. In the book, Childs ventured to the earth’s extreme environments to explore what the end of the world looks like. He discussed those experiences with students in several classroom visits, two community lectures, and a panel on writing and publishing.
“I feel like we need to understand our context when there's something big going on environmentally, politically, socially,” Childs says. “What is actually happening and how does it compare to what's happened in the past?”
The annual Common Reading Experience aims to provide an avenue for discussion among students, faculty, administration, and the Durango community, via a shared reading that bridges academic disciplines. During his intensive two-day visit, Childs met with Geology and Writing students and hosted a library Q&A. He dined with the Environmental Center’s Real Food luncheon on campus. And he packed the Community Concert Hall for a keynote presentation on apocalypse.
The ideas that Apocalyptic Planet presents about the future of the Earth are intended to challenge readers, which made the book an ideal choice for the CRE. After all, Childs admits, there are no right answers when it comes to human interactions with the planet.
Yet despite the difficulties of facing our species’ impact, he says he does not feel doom. “I feel great possibility,” he says. “The world is not coming to an end. Or at least, what an end looks like is not what we think it is.”
Among these great possibilities is the hope that his readers and listeners will continue trying to find solutions despite the challenges.
“I want to share the idea of not being fearful, not going into paralysis,” Childs says. “Because that’s where we fail. And I want to say: don’t stop. It’s time to keep doing whatever it is you believe in.”