Passion for conservation and climate change inspires novel

Dr. Sam Stea, of Cogan Station, transformed his love of North Central Pennsylvania’s natural beauty not only into a passion for nature and conservation but also his first book, “REIMAGINE,”

The pages of “REIMAGINE” revolve around the themes of climate change, conservation, the music of The Beatles and of the ’60s and the science of Albert Einstein, said Stea. And although the area’s ample beauty gives Stea much inspiration, he also finds inspiration within the white walls of medical settings.

“The day-to-day struggles of my patients … more than anything, has given me a sense of priorities, and a keep understanding of what is truly precious and enduring — what needs to be passed on,” said Stea.

Stea, a practicing nephrologist with offices in Williamsport, Lock Haven and Lewisburg, came to live in the area after working and studying in cities the size of Montreal, New York and Charlottesville, saying he prefers the wide-open spaces of a more rural setting.

As a doctor and a conservationist, Stea’s passion for preservation is evident in “REIMAGINE,” which follows the story of three climate change refugees in 2079. “Abbey, Max and Paul … are the teenagers of tomorrow, possibly any of our children one day, in search of hope in a world of climate ruin and despair,” said Stea, “and they’ve discovered a way to go back in time” thanks to lost Einstein texts inside Princeton University.

“REIMAGINE” is set in New Jersey, in the wake of environmental collapse, and sparse communities struggle to keep going, said Stea. What is interesting about Stea’s novel is that it is not set in the unbelievable dystopia people have seen and read about.

If you read the current scientific data concerning the rate of change of CO2 levels and predictions for the later half of the 21st century,” said Stea, the setting and reality of his novel is not that far-fetched.

After discovering Einstein’s texts, the three main characters travel back to 1971 via tiny, naturally occurring wormholes — a phenomena predicted by Einstein’s relativity equations — to reverse the demise of the earth, said Stea. But readers will have to see for themselves how it all plays out.

“REIMAGINE” is Stea’s science fiction looking glass into the possible future, and is a new perspective on an often overlooked topic.

Stea respects and believes in the impact creative feats have on the public. He cites the 1968 Apollo 8 color photograph of our fragile earth that created a push for ecological change a few years after; and the 1983 film “The Day After” that Stea believes incited the US-USSR late-’80s missile treaty, said Stea.

“REIMAGINE” offers a similar perspective, that “through the eyes of our children and grandchildren as they live with the consequences of our own actions, or inactions, in the here and now,” said Stea.

Stea fears climate change will transition from a political and economic issue and become a global health crisis — leading to famine, drought, mass migration and epidemics, said Stea. Essentially, the post-apocalyptic horrors people see as fiction becoming reality, but at a slower, more painfully visible rate.

“As a medical doctor, I am ethically bound to use what I know… to help as many as I can,” said Stea, who believes people must take a more active leading role in their professions and spheres of influence to help reverse the damage being done to the earth. Stea extends a call to action to the physicians – i.e. his sphere of influence — who read his novel to “Change the dialogue. Make an impact.”

Excited for its release in May, available on Amazon, Stea is “proud that the book brings together a diversity of subjects and themes,” as many great novels do. “‘REIMAGINE’ unifies history, environmental science, believable dystopia, sci-fi, poetry, music and art,” played out by a colorful cast of tragic and unlikely characters, said Stea. “‘REIMAGINE’ demonstrates our potential to change the world,” said Stea.

Stea values honest constructive criticism and believes it is one key of a successful novel.

He also attributes avid reading and rereading, patience, getting one’s feet wet with smaller publications and, above all, “to dedicate yourself to becoming a serious writer,” said Stea.

“REIMAGINE” is dedicated to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, and to the memory of German peace activist Sophie Scholl, who was beheaded at 21 by Nazis for spreading peace.

Speaking of earth’s deteriorating condition, “A house on fire cannot stand. Ladies, gentlemen and young people everywhere, our house is on fire,” said Stea.


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