Category: Series

A Sketch for Teaching the Anthropocene in the Alps

By Heidi E. Danzl (trans. Kristy Henderson)

The Alps can be considered a hot spot for climate change due to changing growing seasons and tree lines, species migration, more intense weather events, increased glacial melt, droughts, mudslides, avalanches, flooding, and the omnipresence of micro-technofossils. They are therefore well suited to teaching the Anthropocene and exploring its impacts. In the following, I sketch several ideas for teaching the Anthropocene based on existing cultural events, institutions, and practices within contemporary Alpine communities.

Dazzling and Dangerous: Epidemics, Space Physics, and Settler Understandings of the Aurora Borealis

By Jennifer Fraser and Noah Stemeroff

Earlier this year, Explore, a multimedia company that operates the largest live nature camera network on the planet, noticed that one of its livestreams was going viral. The feed in question broadcasts from Churchill, Manitoba. Positioned directly beneath the auroral oval, this camera offers viewers a chance to catch a glimpse of the spectacular auroral displays that grace the city’s skyline nearly three hundred days of every year.

Resisting Climate Change Apocalypticism: Environmental Justice Activism from the South Pacific

By Hanna Straß-Senol

In late 2013, an Australian newspaper reported that a man from Kiribati “stood to make history as the world’s first climate refugee.” The New Zealand High Court, before which the man appeared, rejected the claim because the category of climate refugee was not included under the United Nation’s provisions for refugees.

Book Review: Elizabeth Hennessy, On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden

By Rodrigo Salido Moulinié

The reports said they wanted to kill the turtle. They surrounded the research station and refused to let supplies go through to the 33 people—and the colony of reptiles—inside the building. Yet the fishermen went on strike and took the building not because they hated that turtle (they did not even intend to harm it), but because of what it meant: an allegory of the politics of conservationism, development, and the local making of science.

Starhawk, Henry Vaughan, and the Environmental Imagination

By Zane Johnson

Times of widespread crisis often challenge conventional ways of being in and seeing the world. Sometimes these challenges take on a millenarian character, heralding the end of an epoch or the dawning of a new age.

“This madness has to stop!” Indigenous Voices on the Destruction of the Amazon

By Teresa Millesi

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on Indigenous groups in Latin America, especially in Brazil, where the president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed its severity, with his ministers calling it an “opportunity” for illegal logging in the Amazon. Horrifying videos of hospital corridors lined with corpses and pictures of mass graves in Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, are a shocking indicator of the toll the pandemic has taken on Brazil and its people.

Studying Scientists in their Natural Habitat

By Melissa Haeffner
Growing up in a small suburb in the United States, my dream was to move to the big city, to agilely navigate through shoulder-to-shoulder masses of humanity and revel in the clashes between cultures. I didn’t pay attention to the “environment” or “nature,” and it was not a central part of my sociology studies in college.

Noticing Tiny Things

By Ghislaine (Platell) Small
I have always been drawn to the environment and to understanding how living things work. My parents are both plant molecular biologists, and I had a limited understanding and familiarity of DNA and photosynthesis long before it was taught to me at school.

We Are All Antarcticans

By Fern Hames
As a teenager in the 1970s, I was shocked by the environmental destruction described by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring and entranced by the idea of living in the forest and studying animals, as demonstrated by Jane Goodall in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. These two highly influential women influenced me to study science and, in particular, biology.

Not All Penguins Are Clean

By Lindsay Stringer
Geography always made sense to me. I’d learn about how a river meanders in a lecture, for example, and then I’d go outside, find a river, and see it for myself. There’s far less reliance on imagination in geography compared to other subjects where you learn about the small or the large at scales you can’t see for yourself.