Chapter 7 of Threshold is available on Terrain.org, an online journal that posts writing, poetry, and essays about living in the Southwest. Threshold was published in 2016 by Fireship Press in Tucson, Arizona.
This captivating story of a community on the brink of crisis awakens the reader to the threat of climate change in everyday life. Realistic characters, representing a cross section of an American desert community, face the challenges of water shortages and a failing power grid as they turn to the methods of their ancestors for answers. Strong female characters – a teacher, a scientist, a border patrol agent, a Native American basket weaver, and a museum veterinarian — quietly lead the way to change and adaptation. The most memorable character, however, is a white jaguar “Ghost Cat,” that tugs at the heart strings of the reader. In fact, some of the best descriptions in the book deal with the Ghost Cat’s plight as well as the animals captive in the desert museum – free to roam, but not to stray. Yet on the “threshold” of climate change, the animals will have to fend for themselves, just like the humans. The book’s predictions – terrorists blowing up damns and refrigerated food banks serving as morgues — could happen tomorrow. But Threshold is not bleak or depressing – it offers hope as the characters carve an optimistic future in a changing world. The author’s descriptions of the desert, mountains, and Old Pueblo show she knows her setting as well as her subject matter. Book clubs and teachers will appreciate the Q & A at the end of the book, which is a bonus for all readers. I look forward to a sequel to find out what happens to my favorite characters, the feisty Irish red-headed scientist and the young Native American basket weaver. ~ Diane Skelton, Author
Susan Feathers has brought us to a “Threshold”, which she crosses over in her book, but which we can also interpret as a serious warning and a “Crossroads”. We are now at those critical crossroads in real life. One road can take us on a path of heroic and life changing decisions to save our peoples’ and environment’s future on our planet Earth. The other road, the one selected by the author, leads down the path to climate disaster, which she describes for us in a deeply personalized and easily readable novel, weaving in elements of and challenges to the lives of recognizable local people in Tucson and the Southwest Arizona region. We have critical choices to make, Ms. Feathers helps us understand, as she also weaves the work of climate scientists, biologists and environmentalists into her tapestry. At the same time, she intimates that work has been and must continue to be done to adapt to our changing climate in order to save lives and our environment, such as building resilient neighborhoods and ecosystems. In the final analysis, however, this book serves as a dire warning about the road we all must take with great passion and commitment: that of working in every way possible to mitigate life destroying climate change by changing our way of living to one without fossil fuels, extreme consumption and toxic degradation of our planet. I like this book because it reaches out to all ages and offers discussion questions at the end. It is needed because, face it, climate change is an emergency.
Barbara H. Warren, MD, MPH
Director, Arizona Chapter,
Physicians for Social Responsibility