Thanks to Kevin Yanowski, University of North Texas, for sharing this excerpt from an essay by Clinton Crockett Peters, Ecoliterist.
What I love in this below, and other writings like it, is the call to realize and accept an interconnected narrative. I would suggest this is one of the primary evolutionary needs in contemporary culture. Or perhaps, a primary reclaiming of more indigenous ways of being. When everything is connected to everything, we are required to develop both mindset, and practice, that experiments with much more holistic and systems-oriented ways.
How to be more smart in that, together — that’s a big hunk of the community engagement work that I do. Given the interconnectedness, how to do well what we most care about — yup, that’s a hunk too. I’m glad to be in a field of inquiry and practice that seeks to interrupt illusions and remnant strategies of infallible isolation, be it in social pandemics or a committee planning the next office party.
Enjoy the swim in the ecology of this from Peters.
One truth that grants any kind of environmental literature staying power is the physical, material interconnectedness among humans, other earthlings, and processes of this world.
People need air, food, water, friendly bacteria in our guts, soil, oceans, animals that we eat, hunt, or snuggle with, and the sun that keeps us warm and the ozone that keeps us from frying. Our cell phones include materials mined form the Earth’s skin, and plastic is simply the congealed leaves of long ago Triassic ferns.
These encounters may help the perspective of what it means to be a creature among many, a life among many non-lives, a view of humans’ place in the biological, geological, and anthropological processes of our existence. This wider view can aid understanding, not by eliminating humanity, nor slums, nor toxic waste, but including the more-than-human within our own cultural framework, where it is, actually, already.
Being aware of these connections and investigating them seems to be a way for eco-literature to stay alive, to create art and expression, to illuminate what it means to be human as creatures enmeshed within the processes, the metaphysical (if you want) and physical, of this earth.