Share your passion…

What’s you #1 concern regarding the environment? Pollution, habitat destruction, pesticides, Monarch Butterflies… whatever it is… Tell the world!  

Share you passion with the world....

Share you passion with the world….

I’m looking for men and women who are worried about what’s going on OUTSIDE to chime in on my blog: Saving the World One Story At A Time.” Tell YOUR story! What stirred you to care? What stirs you to action? When did you become an environmentalist?

Contact me at


How Fiction Saved the World

Almost seventy years ago the first atomic bomb tests were conducted in New Mexico and, to the surprise of all, there still hasn’t been a nuclear war!  What saved us from a nuclear holocaust?   Was it our wise leaders?  Was it our basic instinct to survive?  Did angels intervene?  

Or was it something much simpler that saved us from nuclear war?

War Room from Dr. Strangelove

Option 1: Wisdom of our leaders.   Currently eight countries have nuclear weapons.  United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea.  All have violent histories, and several have instigated or participated in atrocities such as slavery, genocide, and the mass bombing of civilian targets.   The odds that the leaders of all of these countries (and possibly more) have the wisdom needed to prevent nuclear war are slim.

Option 2: Our basic instinct to survive. Since July, 1945, there have been more wars on this planet than I can count.  Brutal genocides haunt almost every continent: The Holocaust in Europe, the Killing Fields in Asia, and the Rwandan Genocide in Africa.  Humans beings show no hesitancy in their rush to kill human beings, so it’s unlikely that either morality or instinct prevented nuclear war.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Option 3: Angelic intervention.  Since angels are unverifiable, let’s put this option aside for now.

None of these three options adequately explain why all eight countries refrained from using the bomb.   None adequately explain why no world leader ever gave the order or pressed the button.  What if something else saved humanity from a nuclear holocaust?  Something so simple that Robert Oppenheimer and the other scientists involved in the 1945 tests would have thought impossible.

Option 4: Popular Fiction saved us!

Yes!   Books and movies about nuclear war and its aftermath saved our planet from “the radiance of a thousand suns” as Oppenheimer called the first atomic blasts, quoting The Bhagavad-Gita.

From Godzilla, King of the Monsters to the original Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston to Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, books and movies have graphically portrayed the wretched horror of a post-apocalyptical world caused by nuclear war.

 Fear of ridicule is greater than fear of death.

Final scene in original Planet of the Apes

Moreover, books and movies illuminate the type of leader who might instigate a nuclear war.  Men like Greg Stillson, the psychotic Bible salesman who rises to the presidency in Stephen King’s THE DEAD ZONE .  Men like Jack D. Ripper, the idiotic general who wants to destroy the earth in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.

Fear of being labeled psychotic or idiotic not only by history, but also by friends and family undoubtedly had as much to do with why neither Khrushchev nor Kennedy hit the red button as did their leadership.  Maybe even more!  No one wants to go down in history as a President Stillson or General Ripper!

In conclusion, popular fiction alerted the public of the dangers of nuclear war and nudged the human consciousness away from thinking of nuclear weapons as a viable method of subduing an enemy.  Now, almost seventy years later, the threats facing the planet have changed.  Both politics and science have failed to convince the general population of the dangers of climate change.  Our leaders have done nothing to lessen the world’s addiction to carbon based fuels.  Quite the opposite, many actually encourage it.   Perhaps if books and movies turned a critical eye towards the causes of climate change, the world would follow and disaster could be averted once more.


TOM TOM Festival – I’m reading on a painted Trolley

I’m reading tomorrow on the Charlottesville Trolley.
The trolley is easy to spot because it is a painted bus! Artist Mickael Broth painted it earlier this monthPoetry on the Trolley

I’m boarding the trolley at 12:20 pm on Saturday, April 18th, at the downtown transit station, 615 E Water St. If you are coming from Lee Park, walk straight across the mall to water street. Make a left and walk down Water St. past the Melting Pot and C&O. The downtown transit center is easily visible from that point.

A full trolley loop is 45 minutes, but my reading will only take about 20 minutes or so. Festival coordinators recommend getting to the transit station at least 7-10 minutes early. I’m not reading from Kingsley but I’m sure you’ll enjoy my story. Hope to see you tomorrow!

NEW KICKSTARTER REWARD – Don’t Chuck That Shuck!!

Dear Friends,

 I’m excited to announce a new perk on Kickstarter for my eco-thriller Kingsley: a field trip to Save the Bay!  Don’t Chuck That Shuck! 

My job is simple.  I go to local seafood restaurants and pick up buckets of empty oyster shells.  I take these shells to a centrally located dumpster.

Don’t Chuck that Shuck. Join me as we recycle oysters and save the bay!

Pick up your ticket to join me as we recycle oysters and Save the Bay on Kickstarter!


I’m also grateful to my Early Birds for selling out the Advance Reading Copy of Kingsley in the first two weeks of my Kickstarter. THANK YOU!

Also, just a brief reminder that you are invited to a couple of cool events:
  • This Saturday, I’ll be doing poetry on the trolley in conjunction with the Tom Tom Festival  Poetry on the Trolley

  • And on Sunday, April 26th , I’ll be celebrating  Earth Day in Fluvanna with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation


This opportunity to pre-order Kingsley only runs through the end of the month. So, be sure to get your copy today!

All my best,

The VA Oyster Shell Recycling Program is newsworthy on CBS19

The VA Oyster Shell Recycling Program is very excited to be a newsworthy story for CBS19 in Charlottesville! Tune your news to Cville CBS19 on Monday, April 13 and catch the VOSRP and our partners in an interview about oyster shell recycling in Charlottesville.

We want to thank all of our partners that have helped us along the way. The VOSRP would not be possible without your involvement and we greatly appreciate it.
If you are not in the viewing area of the Charlottesville news, we hope to share the story via our social media.

Special thanks to Daniel Kaufman and Chef Donnie Glass of Public Fish and Oyster, Melba Atkinson of the Rivanna Chapter of the VA Master Naturalists, Robert Jennings of CBF, Chef Dwayne Edwards of Fossett’s at the Keswick and Talya Cunningham of Newsplex (shes a VCU Ram!)

Best regards,

Todd V. Janeski

Director, VA Oyster Shell Recycling Program
VCU Rice Rivers Center

Virginia Commonwealth University
Center for Environmental Studies
Department of Life Sciences and Rice Rivers Center
1000 W. Cary St PO Box 843050
Richmond, VA 23284