Jane Bonfiglio ‘20 has always loved writing stories and is using her creative writing abilities to convey how climate change will affect humans. In the portfolio she has created for her sustainability capstone, Jane engages with the current narratives on climate change and communicates climate change implications on human relationships through her own prose fiction short stories. She was inspired by creative writing courses at ND and a literature course called “Literature: Nature: Now” taught by Professor John Sitter in which she was exposed to the genre ‘climate fiction’. Through her capstone, Jane has been able to combine her skills in creative writing and her interests in climate literature.
“I enjoy the creative writing aspect the most, as it is something I am very passionate about and simply enjoy. But I also love reading what other people have published in the realm of climate change and learning from the different ways they engage with and try to communicate the threats facing our world,” said the English major. “Ideally, people who read my work will be scared by the effect that climate change has on the characters and their personal relationships, and realize that no one is safe if we do not address and try to fix what we have broken.”
Jane has been passionate about sustainability for a long time and this project allowed her to explore it further, honing her skills under the mentorship of Dr. Roy Scranton, Professor of English and Creative Writing and author of multiple books on climate change. By writing her own prose on climate change and human interactions, she was able to form new ways to think about climate change and shape the narrative using her own voice. The sustainability minor has allowed her to immerse herself in her passions and expand her knowledge of the environment.
“[The Sustainability Minor] has made me realize that I want to continue to pursue sustainability in my career. But most importantly, it has made me aware of the threats facing our world and what must be done,” explained Jane. “Though it is often depressing and disheartening, especially in light of our government’s current stance on climate change, I have been armed with knowledge and a desire to contribute to change.”
Jane’s work was recognized this spring when she was awarded first prize by the Indiana National Society for Arts and Letters Literature Competition for her story What We Had, which has been published in Cultivating Resilience: A Response to Climate Change Volume 1: 2020.
Jane aspires to work at an environmental nonprofit after graduation. She is looking forward to combining this goal with her interest in the publishing industry in her future career.