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Environmental and Political Problems: What’s Being Done?

By Diane Berman

The Big Read is pleased to present our second program based on Margaret Atwood’s book, The Year of the Flood. Atwood will present the keynote address for the San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival on February 16.

Literature: The San Miguel Big Read presents What’s Being Done?, A Response to Margaret Atwood’s novel The Year Of The Flood. Thu, Feb 2, 5pm. Posada San Francisco, Corner Hidalgo & Canal. 70 pesos, 50 pesos for Literary Sala Members

This program, entitled “What’s Being Done?” is a reaction to Atwood’s controversial position that our world is headed for a chemical and ecological dystopia.  In a world where almost everyone has died, the hope she holds for the continuance of the planet is an ecologically based religion.

First, the program will question the trends that Atwood thinks will determine the future of our planet through an interview with Richard Trumbull, a long time San Miguel resident. He sees very different currents in contemporary culture that he believes will produce a more cooperative, moral society. Richard says, “The pictures that we hold in our head today about the future are important to our experience today. Do they influence how we proceed to the future?”

We will also see a video on “bio-mimicry,” presented by the environmental organization, Bioneers. This is a group of scientists from all over the world who are working on cutting edge scientific projects to save the planet.

And finally, we will introduce Atahualpa Caldera Sosa who will speak for GAIA (Grupo de Accion Interdisciplinaryia Ambiental) about the ecologically exciting projects that his group is working on in the campo around San Miguel.

This program is an exciting and thought-provoking challenge to Atwood’s prediction of a dystopian future. Some characterize the age we live in as “The Age of Stupid,” an assumption this program turns on its head.

To register for the San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival, being held here in San Miguel, February 16 to 19, or to purchase single-event tickets to the dazzling array of workshops, speakers and activities, visit our website at or visit our registrar in the courtyard of the Biblioteca any Tuesday or Thursday from 11am-2pm. To learn more about The Big Read, or to join a book discussion group, contact Big Read director, Diane Berman at

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