Braiding Sweetgrass: Finding a way through environmental despair

At the ASLE conference earlier this summer I heard this book referenced in a number of sessions. And now, having read it, I realize why. Braiding Sweetgrass is a rich collection of essays about plants and animals, indigenous and scientific awareness, and our tenuous relationship with nature. But more than that, it is the story …

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“Penguins are in trouble”

This from a sobering research report published last week by some of the world’s leading experts on penguins. The report notes that “more than half of the world’s 18 penguin species are declining.” The three species most in danger are: African penguin Galápagos penguin Yellow-eyed penguin (seen below in New Zealand) The report notes that …

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The Emergence of Vegan Studies: Q & A with Laura Wright, author of Through a Vegan Studies Lens

Laura Wright is a professor of English at Western Carolina University.  In 2015, she introduced the field of Vegan Studies through her book The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror (University of Georgia Press).  She followed this book up in 2019 with Through a Vegan Studies Lens (University of …

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Allowed to Grow Old, Portraits of Elderly Animals From Farm Sanctuaries

By Isa Leshko Foreword by Sy Montgomery Essays by Gene Baur and Anne Wilkes Tucker University of Chicago Press, 2019 First, a disclaimer. While I wouldn’t call it a sanctuary, my husband and I do take in livestock rescues from time to time, so I have a warm spot in my heart for the creatures …

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Writing Opportunity for Climate Change Poetry

There’s a new poetry prize in town, and it’s designated for “exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present.” Here are the details: Submissions for the first prize will be accepted online from September 1 through November 1. The winning poets will be announced …

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Writing Opportunity: Terrain Contest in Poetry, Nonfiction and Fiction

Terrain, one of the premier environmental journals, is now holding its 10th-annual writing contest across three genres. The judges are: Camille T. Dungy, PoetryCamille T. Dungy, the award-winning author of Trophic Cascade and four other poetry collections, is the editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.  Alison Hawthorne Deming, NonfictionAlison Hawthorne Deming is the author …

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Notes from the ASLE Conference in Davis, California

ASLE is the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Every other year, the organization hosts a conference; this year it was at the University of California at Davis, and we drove down to participate. I’m told there were more than 1,200 attendees, a conference record, and a sign that environmental literature is …

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Dominion: A Christian writes about hunting, factory farming, and other sins against animals

Several years ago, I heard about a Republican, a former speech writer for George W. Bush, who had written a book in favor of protecting animals. I also heard that he was vegetarian (now vegan). I initially wondered if hell had frozen over. I’m joking, but only slightly. Because it was just a few months …

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Silent Spring & Other Writings on the Environment: And our irrational, insatiable, unsustainable desire to control nature

I feel ashamed to admit this, but until recently I had not read, end to end, Silent Spring. I had read parts of the book over the years and have been acutely aware of what the book is about — and perhaps this was the reason I avoided it for so long.  But when I saw …

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