Pop Culture: The Green Invasion

From eco-friendly films to progressive podcasts, Plenty picks the best in summer entertainment

Whether they’ve been around for decades or merely years, these enduring literary works deserve a spot on any ecophile’s bookshelf

Oryx and Crake
(2003) by Margaret Atwood
Sometime in the not-too-distant future, Snowman (né Jimmy) is the last true human being on an Earth overrun by fierce, genetically modified creatures including wolvogs and pigoons. Atwood’s book is both a suspenseful, postapocalyptic tale and a poignant meditation on the dangers of unrestricted genetic modification and thoughtless resource use. —C.H.

A Friend of the Earth
(2000) by T.C. Boyle
In 2025, as the world is being ravaged by the effects of global warming, Tyrone Tierwater, a formerly passionate environmentalist, is forced to eke out a living as the caretaker for a pop star’s private collection of endangered predators. Though Boyle’s vision of the future is a little too close for comfort, his unique blend of satire makes for great fiction. —Jacquelyn Lane

Sometimes a Great Notion
(1964) by Ken Kesey
The Stamper family runs a small, independent logging operation on the Oregon coast. Whereas other loggers in the area have unionized and gone on strike, the Stampers refuse to take part, stubbornly continuing to fell and sell their timber. Kesey’s evocation of the stunning Oregon environment and complex social and family dynamics in an era of transition make this novel a meaningful and important piece of environmental literature. —C.H.

The Monkey Wrench Gang
(1975) by Edward Abbey
Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III returns home to the desert to find his beloved canyons and rivers threatened by industrial development. Hayduke and a cast of kooky green cronies take revenge, carrying out over-the-top, controversial acts of pro-environmental sabotage. Readers will likely disagree with many of the group’s tactics—and that is part of the reason why this seminal work of ecofiction continues to provoke thought and inspire dialogue. —C.H.

The River Why
(1984) by David James Duncan
A young and irreverent fly-fisherman named Gus Orviston sets out on a voyage of self-discovery along the rivers that he loves and finds unexpected environmental devastation there. With humor and sensitivity, Duncan renders Gus’s commitment to protecting the natural world and his newly developed understanding of love. —C.H.

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Issue 25

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