Margaret Atwood interview

From The Guardian:

Margaret-atwood-in-london-007 Atwood's pressing interest, as the daughter of an eminent Canadian entomologist, is our planet and its future. Nothing seems more important to her, and since this concern animates almost everything she does, her conversation segues as easily into global warming as Canadian literature: “The threat to the planet is us. It's actually not a threat to the planet – it's a threat to us.” She goes on: “The planet will be OK in its own way. No matter what we do to it, we won't eliminate every last life form from it.” As evidence of this, there's the Canadian city of Sudbury, a favourite of Atwood's. When she was growing up in the 1940s, the place was as “barren as the moon” through overlogging, forest fires and relentless mining. “All the rain was acid,” she says. It was so bad that “a Sudbury” became a unit of pollution. But then a volunteer programme of regeneration was launched. Earth and seeds were painstakingly stuffed into the cracks between the rocks. Now, “Sudbury has forests again, birds in the trees and fish in the streams.” For her, Sudbury, “a symbol of hope”, offers a paradigm for the planet. And so, Atwood continues, with rather bracing realism, “some form of life will remain after us. We shouldn't be saying 'Save the planet'; we should be saying: 'Save viable conditions in which people can live.' That's what we're dealing with here.”

Atwood likes to tell the Amoeba's Tale as an illustration of the “magic moment” at which planet earth now finds itself. There's this test tube, and it's full of amoeba food. You put one amoeba in at 12 noon. The amoeba divides in two every minute. At 12 midnight the test tube is full of amoebas – and there's no food left. Question: at what moment in time is the tube half full? Answer: one minute to midnight. That's where we are apparently. That's when all the amoebas are saying: “We are fine. There's half a tube of food left.”

More here.