Earth Day Digital Handout library.georgetown.org/handout
Flight Behavior Book Discussion Questions
1. What is the significance of the novel’s title? How is the imagery of flight represented throughout the story?
2. What are the people like in the small Tennessee town where Dellarobia lives? What are their major joys and concerns? Are they familiar to you?
3. How are Dellarobia and her family connected to the land and to nature itself? How are they disconnected? How does this shape their viewpoints?
4. How does Dellarobia react when she first sees the monarchs? What greater meaning do they hold for her? How is she like the butterflies? How does finding them transform her life? Are the butterflies a miracle?
5. How does Barbara Kingsolver portray portray religion, faith, and God in the novel?
6. What does Dellarobia think about her new friends, and especially Ovid Byron? How do the scientists view people like Dellarobia, her family, and her neighbors? Does either side see the other realistically?
7. Dellarobia believes that, “educated people had powers.” What does she mean by this? How does education empower people? Can it also blind them?
8. Flight Behavior illuminates the conflicting attitudes of different classes towards nature and the idea of climate change. How does each side see this issue? Where do they find common ground?
9. How is media both a help and a hindrance in understanding social issues? How does it offer clarity and how does it add confusion? How is the media portrayed in Flight Behavior?
10. Flight Behavior interweaves important themes: religion and science, poverty and wealth, education and instinct or faith, intolerance and acceptance. How are these themes used to complement each other and how do they conflict?
11. What did you take away from reading Flight Behavior? Did it affect your thinking about climate change?
What Can You Do to Help Monarch Butterflies?
You can do a lot to protect the vanishing monarch butterfly, from planting milkweed to collecting data on monarch breeding and migration.
Create monarch habitat
Monarchs depend on milkweed for survival. It’s where they lay their eggs, where caterpillars first hatch and
feed. Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation and research program, needs volunteers to create
“Monarch Waystations” (monarch habitats) in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, nature centers,
along roadsides or gas stations and on other unused plots of land. The program offers volunteers a seed kit
and a registry. A limited amount of free milkweed is available. Monarch Watch also has useful instructions for
growing milkweed on your own.
Become a citizen scientist
Members can also help solve some of the enduring mysteries about the monarch. To better understand monarch migration, science organizations rely on citizen scientists to collect data during the annual life cycle of monarch breeding, migration and overwintering. Your actions can improve and inspire monarch conservation.
Donate to restore monarch habitat
Your help is urgently needed to protect vanishing monarchs. Donate to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange, which is administered by the nonprofit Biodiversity Works in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund. Your donation will go directly towards creating monarch habitat.
For more information and links to resources, please visit the Environmental Defense Fund’s Monarch site.
Source: Environmental Defense Fund
The First Earth Day
The First Earth Day was April 22, 1970. Before 1970 it was perfectly legal for a factory to spew black toxic clouds into the air and dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream. How was that possible? Because there no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act, and no Environmental Protection Agency.
In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force pollution control onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and it worked! In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of the EPA to tackle environmental issues.
For more on climate fiction, read “‘Cli-fi’: could a literary genre help save the planet?”
Remaining Earth Day Events
Thank you for coming today! Please join us again for these remaining events:
Monday, Apr. 30 at 7 pm: “Monarch Butterflies: Threats and What You Can Do to Help,” a talk given by David Wolfe, Director of Conservation Strategies at the Environmental Defense Fund. In the Georgetown Public Library’s 2nd floor Hewlett Room.
Tuesday, May 8 at 7 pm: “Reducing CO2 Pollution for Monarchs and Humans,” a talk given by Emily Northrop, Professor of Economics at Southwestern University. In the Georgetown Public Library’s 2nd floor Hewlett Room.
All four of the Earth Day events are co-sponsored by the Georgetown Public Library and the Southwestern University Environmental Studies Program and Smith Library Center.