A group of environmeddlers seek a path to make a difference in a world of Homeland Security, internet communications and ubiquitous electronic surveillance.
Michael A. Lewis Writes!
The Environmeddlers brings the world of environmental protest from monkey wrenching to the digital age. In this high-spirited adventure, Clovis, a reformed Sierra Club organizer, teams up with an animal rights grandmother, an unrepentant defender of raw wilderness and a Taoist computer geek to make a difference in an uncaring world where industrial growth, pollution, and habitat destruction continue unchecked.
Following a twisting path across the landscapes of the West, the tiny band encounters high-tech surveillance, an unexpected member of the security establishment, the overwhelming forces of Nature, and ultimately, their own individual passions and ideals.
"We need a new story, something that’ll capture the attention of people all over the country, people tired of the lies and petty drivel on TeeVee, tired of corrupt politicians, tired of dead end jobs and piles of bills for more and more things with less and less meaning.” -- The One-Eyed Cowboy
A raven, startled by the clap of iron doors, takes to the sky from his perch over the ancient drinking establishment. He soars over the black pavement, dropping a white load on a pristine late model Hummer, leaving a bright smear on its shiny black surface. He spirals above the town, past the top of the stately Sequioa sempervirons under which rests a venerable one speed bicycle.
A breeze from the north wafts the raven away from town and a spiraling thermal from the black pavement carries him into the upper reaches of the local airshed. He pauses, looking down with bright eyes for sources of food or play. A shadow passes over him and ducks his head, tucks in his wings and tumbles down, seemingly out of control, a black streak of dark following after him. Just before he crashes into the treetops, he spreads his wings and swoops back up into the air, his brother matching him wing tip to wing tip. They fly off across the forest, cackling at each other, doing flip-flops and didoes in the warming air.
Higher above, impossibly large eyes above a sharp yellow beak look down on the festive scene. The white tail adjusts, turning long wings away from the undignified display below, moving on to the far more serious task of shopping for lunch. The life of a bald eagle is a serious affair. It's not easy living up to one's reputation as a national symbol.
Even higher above, where the atmosphere begins to thin out and the sky gets seriously dark blue, another eagle, a painted eagle, graces the curving sides of a man made flying object, it's solitary human pilot encased in a protective pressure suit, his head enclosed in a glass, metal and plastic dome, fed with life giving oxygen through a flexible tube, listening to the glissando of electronic transmissions from the human world far below. The bottom of his long-winged craft is studded with various sensors monitoring the slowly revolving scene below, gathering images, measuring air flows, infrared and UV radiation, the ebb and flow of vital and noxious gases, the unseen business of the invisible world of the atmosphere.
Beyond the point where the atmosphere peters out and the illusion of empty space begins, mechanical objects hang in the star-studded sky, seemingly at rest while traveling at 15,658.55 mph, temporarily caught between the pull of inexplicable gravity and the thrust of centripetal forces. Disconnected from the mundane world of life below, yet inextricably linked through vibrating tendrils of electromagnetic energy, these shining metal craft test the cyber waters flowing in and around them and out into the empty reaches of space.
Millions of humans on and near the surface of the earth participate in this electronic dance, adding their text messages, telephone calls, hastily snapped photographs, .pdf files, radio transmissions, television programs, secret CIA encryptions, military commands and counter-commands, calls of distress, and last minute professions of undying love. The Cyber Defense Command, in armored buildings deep in the earth, scattered strategically across the continents, sifts through unimaginable mountains of electronic data, separating the mundane from the potential threats, looking, looking, compiling and analyzing, searching for justification for its enormous presence.