Thursday, May 21, 2009

Culture and the Environment -- A Conversation in Five Essays

If you haven't yet seen it, then you need to do yourself a favor and head out to your local literary bookstore, or order online, the latest copy of The Georgia Review (Spring 2009).

Among many other outstanding contributions, it includes "Culture and the Environment -- A Conversation in Five Essays:" Scott Russell Sanders (Simplicity and Sanity), Reg Saner (Sweet Reason, Global Swarming), David Gessner (Against Simplicity), Lauret Savoy (Pieces toward a Just Whole), and Alison Hawthorne Deming (Culture, Biology, and Emergence).

From The Georgia Review editor Stephen Corey's introduction:

The keynote work, Scott Russell Sanders's "Simplicity and Sanity," puts forward a wide-ranging examination of humankind's relationship to the natural world and argues for its radical overhaul.

Reg Saner's "Sweet Reason, Global Swarming" embraces Sanders' fears for the literal survival of the human race but gives the argument a different center -- one that conjures a dark figure from all of our high school history classes, Thomas Malthus, whose lone claim to renown is a theory we have let slip into the background while confronting myriad more immediate-seeming dangers.

David Gessner then confronts Sanders with "Against Simplicity: A Few Words for Complexity, Slippiness and Joy," claiming that his sometime-mentor/idol may be entering the fray with the wrong weapon in hand.

Lauret Edith Savoy, in "Pieces toward a Just Whole," initially lauds Sanders' position but concentrates the bulk of her essay on certain racial and economic factors that she believes are being overlooked in virtually all discussions of environmental catastrophe.

Alison Hawthorne Deming's "Culture, Biology, Emergence," the most sweeping of the five essays in this conjured five-way conversation, moves across eons of time and many disciplines of study to reach a conclusion that is, paradoxically, more desparate and more hopeful than those presented by her four compatriots.

If you are familiar with The Georgia Review (which has no relation to Terrain.org though many of the contributors mentioned above appear in our online pages), then you know that its contributions are of the highest quality. With this environmentally focused issue, the journal clarifies the focus by some of our foremost thinkers and writers, literary or otherwise.

We encourage you to check it out.

No comments: