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In a futuristic world ravaged by climate change Nailer endures a harsh existence as a member of the low class "Ship Breakers". He is desperate to flee the dangerous job of stripping decrepit oil tankers but is unable to escape the oppressive brutality and poverty that shapes his existence. When a fierce storm destroys his Gulf Coast community Nailer makes a startling discovery that could change his life if he can overcome his fears. The thrilling plot of this science fiction novel will provoke many student discussions about loyalty, betrayal and how careless choices can devastate our planet.
This novel offers an innovative starting point for science units that explore the environmental and social impacts of climate change. The catastrophic storms and sea level rise depicted in the book could become the basis of student research into weather pattern changes and flooding risks within their own communities. Canada's position on climate change has often been criticized by other countries. Students could investigate environmental policies as well as the practices of our government to see if they are in fact offering real solutions to this complex issue.
The "Ship Breakers" of the story symbolize the ever widening divide between the wealthy and poor which is already occurring in our world. In countries like India real ship breakers demolish old military ships and oil tankers for poverty level wages. This work is also done without environmental or human safety regulations. This talking point could become the basis of a student driven campaign to inform peers about sustainable consumption and empowering the poor.
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