Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture
Run by Phil Camill, Rusack Associate Professor and Program Director of Environmental Studies, and Earth and Oceanographic Science, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
The purpose of this forum is to explore big questions about society and environmental change, such as: (1) What does the good life mean in the 21st century? (2) How do personal choices and values play a role in this conversation? (3) What do the natural sciences have to say about the way our world is changing? (4) What do the social sciences and humanities have to say about the ways that the social and the cultural intersect with questions surrounding environment? (5) What is nature, how it is implicated in our lives, who benefits and who loses from environmental harm, what issues of power and identity are invested in environmental discourses, and how do we make policy or economic decisions given these questions? (6) How can we address environmental and social challenges at the same time? (7) How is environmentalism changing in response to these pressures? (8) What’s the role of higher education in facilitating sustainability and environmental literacy? There are a lot of environment blogs that assess daily political battles on energy and climate. Others take a “100 things you can do to save the environment” approach. And many others provide a laundry list of daily news, from solar panels to tree frogs to Copenhagen to sea ice, and so on. Those approaches are useful and helpful, especially for fast-moving matters like policy. But they sometimes lose sight of the big questions we need to be asking in our quest to develop a more ecologically sustainable and socially just world. When the information deluge mainly contains narrowly focused stories, factoids, and policy play-byplay, there’s often no theoretical context in which to analyze these things as part of a bigger picture. And let’s face it, how much air time do the humanities and civil society get relative to science and policy? The blogosphere delivers a great deal, but it also fails in making important interdisciplinary connections that foster a more-sophisticated, substantive analysis. The Global Change blog forges a new path by analyzing environmental change through a focus on the interaction between nature and culture, showcasing big ideas from all disciplines—sociology/anthropology, ethics, ecology and other natural sciences, psychology, history, political science, ethnic studies, religion, literature, visual and performing arts, and so on.