An introduction to the passages which inspired the issue, and our invited contributions.
A brief reflection on Richard Monastersky and Nick Sousanis's comic The Fragile Framework: can nations unite to save Earth’s climate?, created for a special issue of Nature on the Paris Climate Talks.
A poem concerning the urgency of our climate crisis.
Contributions to this discussion were made by participants in a live conversation held at the 2018 Imagining America National Gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 18th, 2019.
An interview by Jack Tchen, guest editor, of Adam Bush, founding Provost of College Unbound, regarding the potential of the university as an institution to grapple with the pressing questions of today.
The Clement A. Price Institute in partnership with the Humanities Action Lab present "Our House is on Fire" with Winona LaDuke and Naomi Klein. Opening remarks given by Chief Vincent Mann, Turtle Clan, Ramapough Lunaape Nation. This conversation focuses on the intertwined formulation of the Indigenous Green New Deal, especially relevant to the Newark - New York City - Long Island regional watershed and estuary.
The unmatched influence that human societies are wielding on the natural world is a given based on changes in climate and the environment, also called the epoch of the Anthropocene. We need to investigate how that dominance is rapidly stretching and changing the life of plants and animals, especially in urban areas. With human populations increasing, we’re having a cumulative impact on global ecosystems, and nowhere do these impacts overlay as much as they do in cities. The urban environment is about as intense as it gets, and the natural creatures and plants that live side-by-side with us must adapt to a whole suite of perplexing conditions: they must survive in the city’s hotter climate; they need to be able to endure either in the semi-desert of the high, stony, and spacious structures we call buildings (known as the urban heat island effect) or in the pocket-like havens of municipal parks (which create their own hazards, including smog and free-ranging pets); traffic causes incessant noise, a mist of superfine dust particles, and obstructions to movement for any animal that cannot fly or burrow; nutrition sources are chiefly human-derived. Some animals thrive while others suffer in such urban conditions. The life of animals and plants share with us in these spaces entails not only surviving, but evolving ways of prospering.
In the field of urban community food systems, the origin of the word radical in rootednessis often discussed. And in an era of climate catastrophe, pandemic, and widespread protests for civil rights, radical, rooted-in-place hope is both necessary and privileged, requiring hopers to orient themselves to their collective goals and social context, especially important in places with histories of colonialism, with associated expropriation of land and labor. Considering radical hope in a settler colonial context consequently makes me consider what it takes to know when to put down roots and, conversely, when to pull them up. If settler identity is good for anything introspective, it seems, it should be an acknowledgement and awareness of the privilege of rootedness, and the unevenness with which this privilege is distributed. In this essay, I consider the relationship between hope and rootedness, and the accountability toward which shared educational experiences can orient people as they consider how to face the future, and how to live well in social relationships.