To simulate climate change, scientists build minature worlds (May 11, 2017)
WHEN FICTION BECOMES FACT.--Here's a NYT article about a brilliant idea: build a fish tank as a model of the Earth,
then heat it up to simulate climate change and its impacts on the critters in the tank. The work is being done by
Professor Ivan Nagelkerken of the University of Adelaide.
Pretty sharp idea by my estimate. But then I'm biased. The good professor's work follows the plot of my
book FISH TANK: A FABLE FOR OUR TIMES. If anyone out there knows Professor Nagelkerken, please let
him know that a copy of the original FISH TANK is in the mail on the way to Oz as I write!
(PS, light-heartedness aside, this is *really* important work for our planet--science's way
of painting the same picture I am doing through my book)
TrumpelStiltskin: A Fairy Tale is now on the Huffington
Post! Click anywhere!
(Oct 13, 2016)
TrumpelStiltskin: A Fairy Tale released! (Sep 19, 2016)
American politics is a crazy place right now. TRUMPELSTILTSKIN puts that craziness into perspective in a
simple fairy tale. As one early reader said: "To my mind, this has more rhetorical power than the the editorials of a gaggle of pundits."
The story is freely available:
• READ ONLINE: TrumpelStiltskin: A Fairy Tale | sample the readers' play.
• PURCHASE: ebook for Kindle (includes short story & reader's play)--coming soon!
• FREE PDF DOWNLOADS: short story |
TRUMPELSTILTSKIN is a big deal to me because I think story can reveal truth in a way that a thousand news reports or
we-know-all-the-answer-let-us-tell-you polls cannot. And especially story in the form of allegory or, as in this case, fairy
tale. The reason these genres are so powerful is that they allow
the reader to decide how they interpret the story and what they take from it. Both allegory and fairy tales provide, as
Merriam-Webster says, "...the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about
I don't need to tell you the follies of human existence are on full display here at the end of 2016!
My only request as you read TRUMPELSTILTSKIN dear reader, is that you have a willingness to think critically, to engage
in meaningful discussion, and to question your own beliefs and try to understand those of others. If you are
willing to take on these tasks, then it is just possible that TRUMPELSTILTSKIN: A FAIRY TALE may not only be a fun read,
but have some value, as well.
I wrote the readers' play for your group--theater, school, church, dinner party, family, whatever!--to put it on. A readers'
play means just that, you print out the document, staple or bind it, maybe practice reading it
together with the acting troupe (or not, just depends on how big a deal you are making it!), and then GO!
You can sit around and read, or the actors can ... well ... act, wandering the stage as they read their parts. That's up to you!
TRUMPELSTILTSKIN is tentatively scheduled to run as a readers' play in Bozeman Montana on October 26th, 2016! More info as I have it. And I would LOVE
it if other groups around the country took on the TRUMPELSTILTSKIN readers' play! Just download the full readers' play here and GO! (Oh, did I already say that?!)
And if you are doing it, please give me a shout via my
Contact page or maybe take some photos or video and email to me or put it
on my Facebook page. Thanks!
Scott's talk to the UU Congregation, Green Valley AZ (Apr 24, 2016)
Along with being a guest at their world premier of the FISH TANK Readers' Play, the good folks at the
Unitarian Universalist Church in Green Valley AZ also invited me to talk to them at their
Sunday morning service. So let the record show that the first time I ever attended a UU
service, I provided the sermon!
The UUs asked if I might, in my comments, provide some thoughts on
Our Childrens' Trust, a wonderful
group Kate and I are proud to support. And so you will see that the talk works its way toward a short
description of OCT and their critically important use of the Public Trust Doctrine in the court system
as a way to protect kids and their future from climate change. Please check OCT out--a wonderful group!
For better of for worse, a recording of my "sermon" follows, recorded with my phone, yet having remarkable
clarity given the low tech operation.
FISH TANK, The Readers' Play, world premier!! (Apr 23, 2016)
The world premier (!) of the FISH TANK Readers' Play, as created by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Green Valley AZ, took
place before an enthusiastic crown on Saturday just past! Diane Farone of the UUs beautifully adapted FISH TANK to the readers' theater
by consolidating the story from perhaps a dozen characters to a half dozen, and creating a narrator for the play whose role is to
fill in the story line gaps. Diane's diligent editing efforts took a straight perhaps 4-hour-out-loud read of FISH TANK
down to a ~80-min readers' play!
Beautiful music apropos to the play started and ended the play, and lighting rose to open the show, and dimmed
dramatically to end it. The UU Fabric Arts Team conceived and created beautiful representations of the story's
fish and crabs. Then the stage crew built an aquarium from PVC pipe and an aquarium-style shower curtain. Three
puppeteers variously lifted the Fabric Arts Team's character representations each time that character spoke. All so very cool!
Meanwhile, off to the side of the stage were the actors, each with a microphone and script, the scripts color coded
with their parts. The actors read with a gusto and verve worthy of comparison of great Shakespearean actors! And
indeed they came about their talent honestly, having met multiple times a week for several months to practice. To practice that is, under
the careful tutelage of ace director/producer Karen Kluge. Some called her a production tyrant, others called her a pussy cat. Privately
she told me directing is a tough gig, that you have to learn to play good cop, bad cop with your actors. I got enough hugs
and love and joy from Karen, plus glowing comments from her team, to know without doubt she *is* a pussy cat, and a happy, talented
one at that! The cast recognized her efforts by showering her with flowers at play's end!
A truly wonderful, humbling experience. And of note--the play is available to others who might have interest!
Following is the audio of the play for those interested. Not recorded professionally, by any stretch of the
imagination, but rather record from Scott's phone, yet the clarity for the most part is remarkable.
FISH TANK, The Readers' Play, an update!! (Apr 4, 2016)
An update on the FISH TANK readers' play being created by the good folks at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation
in Green Valley, Arizona. Progress continues! A couple days back I had a super fun video conference with members
of the UU Worship Team, both about progress of the play, as well as my sermon/presentation to be given at their Sunday service (gulp). And
regarding the FISH TANK readers' play: the cast has been set! I now have a number of photos, presented to me without actor names for
the moment but as, for example, "left to right--Sarin, Sanger, and Big Moe ." Andd check this out,
the congregation's Fabric Arts Team conceived, designed, created,
and then sewed a collage of FISH TANK characters!
These folks are amazing and it is all quite humbling. Most important, of course, is that the UU Congregation is helping
FISH TANK achieve it's goal of getting people to think critically about the danger of climate change, and the way we as
a society make decisions. ... Oh, and as to my sermon/presentation (UU friends, what do the UU's call it anyway?)...The
service takes place within a beautiful framework they operate under: come, comment, covenant, close. I am still considering
what I'll say during those sections and still, dear friends, inviting your pearls of wisdom!
FISH TANK, the Readers' Play, coming soon!! (Mar 10, 2016)
FISH TANK: A FABLE FOR OUR TIMES, The Readers' Play, coming soon! Yes it's true--how awesome is this? The good folks
at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Green Valley, Arizona called perhaps 6 month back to ask if they
could turn FISH TANK into a readers' play for members of their congregation to perform. "Of course, what an
honor!" I said. I gave few conditions, only two of which bear mention: that they remain true to the book, and that
they make the script they've come up with freely available to anyone else--school, church, club--who might be interested.
Fast forward a few months and the good folks at the UU had succeeded in morphing the book into a readers' play. Then fast
forward all the way to last week when they held tryouts. This week--OK I think a drum roll is in order!--the parts
will be announced. So yes it is truly exciting and an honor and I am so excited to see what they have created. And
yes, they invited me to Arizona for the Apr 23rd (the astute observer will note that's the day after Earth Day!) to be
at the grand unveiling of the FISH TANK Readers' Play! I have been given a bit of insight into the production, such as
that they are considering having a waving blue shower curtain behind the readers to invoke the waters of the fish tank!
Oh, and please some help dear friends. The following day, Sunday, I've been asked to give a talk, perhaps a bit of Earth
Day inspiration, during church service. Brilliant, inspirational ideas are welcome, just message me!
National Center for Science Education blog about FISH TANK! (Feb 2, 2016)
I am so happy to report that Minda Berbeco, Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE),
a kind blog about FISH TANK. Minda's blog opening includes: "I’m often approached by teachers looking
for new ways to connect their students to climate change....As I was looking for ideas to help them out, I was thrilled
to discover Scott Bischke’s book, FISH TANK: A FABLE FOR OUR TIMES. "
As I said, kind. It is an honor to have NCSE have a look at, and then positively review, FISH TANK. NCSE has a specific
goal. In their own words, "NCSE was founded to provide a central information and resource clearinghouse, helping to
coordinate the efforts of people working at state and local levels to preserve the integrity of science education." Tough
to have a more worthy (or in this day and age, more important) goal than that. Among the items that NCSE focuses on
are climate change and public policy, likewise two key elements in the story of FISH TANK. My appreciation
to them for the work they do and my encouragement to people reading this item to check out Minda's blogposts
(about FISH TANK, yes, and also many others!), and the important work being done at NCSE.
FISH TANK to be used in youth climate leadership training! (Aug 25, 2015)
FISH TANK will be recommended reading in Our Children’s Trust’s upcoming youth climate
leadership training, now with dates reset. The free August 25th camp is designed to give kids
the skills they need to advance climate recovery planning in their own communities. Kids will
be empowered to make a real difference by exchanging ideas and collaborating with students
from around the Pacific Northwest; leaning about climate change and the ways young people
around the country have madea difference; learning to motivate their towns to achieve meaningful
action on climate change; and more. Our Children’s Trust
successfully piloted YouCAN in Eugene, Oregon, where the city council acted on youth’s
actions and requests and adopted the first legally-binding, science-based Climate Recovery Ordinance
in the nation!
It gives us a great sense of pride to be included in this extremly important work. To learn more,
click here or on the image above for the Training Camp flyer!
FISH TANK to be used in NOAA-sponsored teacher training! (Aug 5, 2015)
FISH TANK will be recommended reading in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
Climate Stewards Education Project teacher trainings, to be held in Silver Spring, Maryland.
NOAA CSEP is collaborating with Federal,
State and NGO partners to convene the training for formal and
informal educators. Participants will hear from and interact with climate science,
education and communication experts, and visit research facilities to explore foundational
technologies and innovations in Earth-system research. This workshop has a central
goal of connecting educators and their students/audiences to the best-available,
science-based information and resources about climate change.
It gives us a great sense of pride to be included in this extremly important work.
Click here or on the image above for more information!
FISH TANK being used by local Montana educator! (Jun 18, 2015)
So this is great news: FISH TANK being used by in a Climate Change Workshop, slated at teachers
to be taught by super educator (and friend!) Susan Kelly! Here are some comments fom Susan, as posted on
her Facebook pages: "A shout out to Scott Bischke and his excellent book FISH TANK, that I'm using next
week in a Climate Change Workshop for teachers. Thanks Scott!"
And then my words back to her: "Thank you, Susan! What great news made more so
because as you will know this is the first
I've heard! I appreciate that you are including FISH TANK, but even more appreciate your unwavering
commitment to teaching science to folks of all ages, and in particular your focus on helping people
understand the serious challenge climate change poses to society...indeed to the planet."
FISH TANK to be recommended in worldwide MOOC! (May 2015)
FISH TANK to be used as part of Climate Recovery youth leadership training at Concordia University! (Summer 2015)
FISH TANK will be included as part of Concordia University's (Portland OR) upcoming youth leadership training in climate recovery, in
part sponsored by Our Childrens' Trust (OCT). OCT seeks to
secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate for all present and future generations using the public trust doctrine as a
basis to bring lawsuits on behalf of youth plaintiffs. This is a tremendous group worthy of your support! For more on OCT, see
the Our Childrens' Trust website or their active
Our Childrens' Trust Facebook page.
FISH TANK highlighted on What's Hot?! (Mar 2014)
"...Fish Tank is a very easy read that I sped through in one sitting. It's an interesting
tale that explores different personalities and different attitudes towards dealing
with problems facing society, in this case a shortage of food, but the same model
can be applied to other situations facing society today, such as global warming.
Although it may seem a little silly to use fish as the characters for such a story,
that is what is so effective about this fable. You think that you are reading a
simple short story, with interesting characters, but in fact this is subtle commentary
on society. The nature of the characters as fish means that this novel is easy to
understand as well as entertaining and can be read by readers of all ages. This
is the sort of book that should be studied in schools and discussed and debated
openly because this isn't a story about fish, it is a story about us and the society
that we are living in today." (...see more)
Bozeman Pecha Kucha presentation--The Lighter Side of Long Distance Backpacking (Feb 2014)