Environmentalists try to make the world a better place, each in their own way. This is particularly true of the arts, in which sculptors and painters and film enthusiasts try to capture modern struggles within their respective mediums. This is less obvious in written works of fiction, where anthropomorphic narratives are dominant; in fact, it’s difficult to imagine a novel that could be wholly dedicated to the natural world’s story. But writers still want to contribute to environmentalist causes in their medium. How can this be done? To find out, I decided to read four works of fiction which I believed could be representative of environmentalist perspectives: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Each book represents a separate genre of fiction, for the purposes of discerning what common threads make them “environmental.” I found that each story placed its emphasis on the setting, as it shaped the characters, plots, and themes between all four. I believe, therefore, that environmental literature is most clearly defined by such emphasis, and ought to be critiqued and analyzed with this in mind.
Kiehne, Liam, "Defining the Genre of Environmental Literature" (2018). Honors Capstone Projects. 9.