Socio-Environmental Issues in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Part of the world-building behind Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi deals with various socio-environmental issues. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few of them that are addressed in the book:

Nuclear Waste

The former site of a nuclear power plant is a key part in Shatter Me — and though it is only lightly touched on, the real question is about the results of nuclear waste and radioactive materials. Real-life examples of disasters including nuclear waste include:

Food Shortage

The issue of food, how it is produced & distributed is a huge part of Shatter Me. When she is isolated, Juliette eats a tasteless, unidentifiable glop — and later, she talks about how people are constantly struggling to eat. There aren’t enough plants to feed livestock, and not enough livestock to feed people, and the on-going shortage of water makes both problems even worse. But when she arrives at Warner’s complex, she finds herself living in the lap of luxury — and wondering how so few can have so much, while so many other suffer. Even later, she discovers that many people don’t even eat real food — they survive on small portions of food that are scientifically multiplied to make you feel fuller, without adding any extra nutritional value.

Though in the modern world, food shortages are not common — they do persist in other parts of the world.


Part of the cause of the food shortages in Juliette’s world stems from an on-going pollution problem. Plants, water, etc. are all in short supply because the environment just can’t sustain life like it used to.

The causes of pollution are varied, but are issues we are currently dealing with in the real world. Types of pollution include:

For the comments: Have you read Shatter Me? What other issues did you notice in the book?


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