Notes on Ecological Aesthetics and Ethics

By David George Haskell

A sense of beauty is a rigorous, perhaps even objective, foundation for environmental ethics. Our human aesthetic judgment integrates many strands of experience: intellect, emotion, bodily senses, and all we know from our interactions with others, both human and non-human others. From this integration, we understand the good. Of course, an aesthetic sense is subject to the whims of desire,…

Seen and Unseen

By Matt Miles

For weeks before the event, some friends and I started preparing for the the Great American Eclipse of 2017. There were 25 of us, all of whom would watch together from a hay field next to a vineyard. While not in the 70-mile wide path of totality, our location in northwestern North Carolina seemed close enough—in the 97% range—to get…

Taking a Walk Through Deep Time

By Sam Mowe

Given the short-term concerns and speed that characterize our busy modern lives, it’s easy to forget that our original ancestors were bacteria. A new app called Deep Time Walk attempts to remind us of our common evolutionary history with all life—including single-celled prokaryotes such as bacteria that formed about 4,000 million years ago—through the combination of an audio book and…

Fierce Compassion in the Anthropocene

By Willa Miller

During the winter season a few years ago, 108 inches of snow fell in Boston, breaking the record for the most seasonal snowfall in recorded history. And this snow, it did not melt. We watched it drift into six-foot banks in our backyard, burying our dwarf Japanese maple entirely. Day after day dawned frigid, stinging our cheeks as soon as…

Choosing Less

By Matt Miles

The phrase “voluntary simplicity” has, to my ears anyway, a quasi-paradoxical ring to it, not unlike “waking dream.” It accrues meaning by pointing to the implicit assumption in its antithesis: That we are by default, if not involuntarily, immersed in a world that tends toward complexity and confusion. For most of us alive today in the hyper-real world of the…

Finding a New Religion of Meaning

By John McIlwain

New York magazine recently published one of the grimmest accounts of the possible results of climate change. Unfortunately, it comes at the same time as news arrives of the long-anticipated “calving” from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, creating of one of the largest icebergs ever, a sad reminder of the startling changes being brought by the warming planet.…

Attuning to the Natural Simplicity of Life

By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and Hilary Hart

The ceaseless demands of today’s world so easily fill up our days. With our smart phones and computer screens we often remain caught on the surface of our lives, amidst the noise and chatter that continually distract us, that stops us from being rooted in our true nature. Unaware we are drowned deeper and deeper in a culture of soulless…

Finding Hope in the Face of Uncertainty

By John McIlwain

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 Where can we turn today to find a hopeful vision for the future of the planet, the climate, and the environment? The news each day is full of reports of environmental degradation, the threat of extinctions, the warming climate, and rising seas. Yet, without a positive vision of the possibility…