Suburban Mosaic

The Carbon Diaries 2015

By Saci Lloyd

High School Title

In 2015, global warming has done so much damage that the United Kingdom enacts severe carbon rationing. Now sixteen-year-old Laura must make decisions about daily life that she never imagined. Travel, cell phone use, and even the toaster are now rationed. Laura’s world is crumbling, and disaster is becoming normal. Laura describes the first year of rationing through diary entries and emails to her cousin in the United States.

Discussion Questions
The Carbon Diaries 2015

  1. How does the family become more polarized as the living conditions in London get worse?
    Why does Laura feel that her parents are in denial about their family’s problems?
    What advice would you give to the Brown family as they attempt to fix their broken relationships?
  2. Describe Laura’s relationship with Kieran, the Carbon-D8ing entrepreneur who lives next door. He tells Laura, “Life is what you make it” (p. 96). How does Kieran model this advice?
    Kim helps Kieran work out the plans for his Carbon Dating business.
    Why is this a safer and more positive path for Kim?
  3. Laura says, “We’re addicted to oil and gas. . . . And the drug’s running out” (p. 20). How is Kim’s involvement with Tracey Leader and the sale of carbon ration cards on the black market similar to illegal drug dealing?
    Discuss our nation’s addiction to oil and gas.
    How might this foreshadow more environmental issues and problems facing our nation?
  4. Why does Laura say the energy crisis is about greed? How does panic buying create a greater crisis?
  5. Kim refuses to open her ration card. Explain why she feels that the card is a symbol of lost youth. How might American teenagers have similar feelings should they be forced to ration energy?
  6. Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe and the chemical basis of all life. Explain why the British government volunteered to impose carbon rationing after the Great Storm. Debate whether this was a political decision.
    After a cholera epidemic breaks out, Gwen Parry-Jones says that they are now living in a Third World. What constitutes a Third World country?
    Discuss how natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and others may cause a global, ecological, economic, and health crisis. How did Hurricane Katrina create a Third World feeling on the Gulf Coast?