Dune’s Answers to Ecological Sustainability

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Dune’s Answers to Ecological Sustainability Earth is experiencing greater and greater levels of climate change, from melting polar ice caps to more severe storms. To address this predicament Frank Herbert wrote the Dune novels which address ecological sustainability through the Fremen. Herbert’s first encounter with environmental sustainability came with “a newspaper assignment in 1957 to write about a government project on control of sand dunes which successfully applied not engineering, but an ecological approach, to the problem of creeping dunes”(Stratton). This sparked Herbert’s fascination with ecology, and a couple of years later, he made it his basis for the famous Dune novels. The story takes place on a desert planet named Arrakis, or Dune. The planet has very little moisture on it, and as a result, the indigenous people, the Fremen, have found methods to adapt themselves to the harsh life on the planet using numerous methods. When the Atreides Duke, Paul, arrives on the planet to begin his rule and to harvest the geriatric spice mélange from the planet, he is betrayed by the former ruler, Baron Harkonnen, and thrown into the desert. The duke then takes refuge among the Fremen, and through their knowledge of the planet’s ecology, he is able to retake the planet using what he refers to as “desert power” (Herbert). Using the novel, Frank Herbert examines the notion of environmental sustainability in modern society by linking the environmental practices of the Fremen to their harsh desert planet of Arrakis. The arid environment of Dune forces the Fremen to conserve as much water as possible by using various methods. One of these methods is to develop new technologies such as “stillsuits [which] they wear to conserve water in their bodies” (Otto 17). The stillsuits are used as personal water catching devices and can help to conserve the water of a person to

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