Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ASLE Conference Review : Day 1

Terrain.org editor Simmons Buntin blogs the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment biennial conference:


The Empress Hotel at Victoria's Inner Harbour. I didn't make it back there today, but hopefully tomorrow! This photograph is from yesterday (Monday, for those keeping track of such things).

The first (half) day of the ASLE conference in Victoria, BC:
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Summary
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Today I had the morning off to figure out this internet connection stuff, as well as to check in at registration and set up the Terrain.org table in the exhibit hall. This afternoon I participated in the Ecomedia pre-conference session, for which I prepared (but we did not at all discuss, nor even mention, much to my chagrin, my "Virtual Sense of Place" hypertext essay).
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After the three-hour session I had the (easy) opportunity to photograph the sprawling herds / flocks / pods / kettles of rabbits here on campus (see below), which is when I ran into my friend and Terrain.org editorial board member Lauret Savoy, who no doubt thinks I'm crazy. Crazy like a rabbit, I say!
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The ISLE Reception, sponsored by Oxford University Press which now publishes ASLE's fine journal Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, gave me the opportunity to mingle with conference participants, including a couple Terrain.org contributors and Susan Cohen, who organized the Wildbranch Essays panel for which she, Eve Quesnel, and I read tomorrow (10:30 a.m., Session B14, Clearihue C115).
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I finished the evening by walking down Sinclair Road to Cadboro Gyro Park (a couple photos below), which has a beach loaded with driftwood off a small inlet adjacent to the Strait of Georgia. The walk back up the long, steep hill was definitely good exercise.
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Environmental Note
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The problem, folks, is that I need caffeine, but I don't drink coffee. Sure, I'll drink tea -- had some this morning and again at a stop at Starbuck's on the way back from the park this evening -- but there's something about a cold Coke Zero that gets me going. Sad thing is, all the soda up here seems to come only in plastic bottles. So I've added another to my collection. Perhaps I'll line them up outside before I leave and photograph them with the rabbits?
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Best Event/Activity
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A toss-up between the park, with the glowing boats on the water, and tracking down the feral European rabbits. Not sure what it is with me and these critters, but I find them fascinating. Learn more here, and here, too. Those are the official UVic sites. Now check out this article about the bunnies moving off-campus and the dreaded Rodentator. Or you could just kill and cook them, a certain kind of sustainability, I suppose. Guess that means that rabbits aren't entitled to graduate and move off-campus like the rest of us...?
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Worst Event/Activity
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I see now this section could get me in trouble, so I may change it to something a bit more politically correct. Suggestions?
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While I enjoyed reading the papers of the Ecomedia pre-conference seminar, and there was interesting discussion, I admit it wasn't relevant to my needs as an editor, publisher, writer, or environmentalist on more than a peripheral level. That's primarily because of the nature of the discussion, which focused not on technology or even content, as I hoped, but on research and teaching methodologies for ecocriticism and ecomedia. That's fine: of the dozen or so of us in the session, only two people (me one of them) isn't a full-time professor. I had this concern -- about being a right fit for the session -- before I put together the hypertext essay.
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One notable exception that warranted much discussion and interest is Claudia Hemphill Pine's research on ecological thinking in the transformative culture of fandom. Apparently, online communities of fans -- think of the Harry Potter fandom -- tend to rally around social causes, with the notable exception of environmental issues. Claudia explores why, and why not.
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Beer Note
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I had a localish Canadian ale at the ISLE Reception, but I didn't get the name, gosh darnit. Not bad, but not as tasty as Canoe's Beaver Brown.
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Take Away
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My take away today is: I'm rolling my sleeves up for the full conference kickoff and sessions tomorrow. I'll be dancing back and forth between the Terrain.org table and sessions, including my reading in the morning. There are fifteen concurrent sessions in each time slot, and while there are 670 registered participants, I wonder just how many audience members each panel can expect. I'll let you know tomorrow evening!
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Photos


First, you see one of these cute, pet-looking bunnies.



Then you see a few more lounging around in the full spectrum of pet bunny colors and sizes.



Being European rabbits, I can't help but think of Watership Down, which I recall so well from my fourth-grade teacher's reading of the classic book. Here, as there, they're territorial and heirarchical -- and dig broad networks of warrens.



Then you begin to realize the damn things are everywhere....



Everywhere, I say, and they're coming after me!



The rabbits are not, however, down at the beach at Cadboro Gyro Park, where this photo was taken as the sun set behind the hills behind me.



A few boats (ships seems too big a word here, but then I'm no sailor) in the inlet, with the Strait of Georgia behind and the Olympic Mountains (and Washington State) in the far distance.

3 comments:

kayak kid said...

I just posted to FB about the rabbits, but then I saw that there are already a handful of clips on YouTube about them.

Thanks, by the way, for the beer blogging.

Bhuvan Chand said...

great article........................ I really impress with you and i also stary my blog on environment problems.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

Thanks all.