We are facing unprecedented environmental challenges, including global climate change, large-scale industrial development, rapidly increasing species extinction, ocean acidification, and deforestation – challenges that require new vocabularies and new ways to express grief and sorrow over the disappearance, degradation, and loss of nature.
Seeking to redress the silence around ecologically based anxiety in academic and public domains, and to extend the concepts of sadness, anger, and loss, Mourning Nature creates a lexicon for the recognition and expression of emotions related to environmental degradation. Exploring the ways in which grief is experienced in numerous contexts, this groundbreaking collection draws on classical, philosophical, artistic, and poetic elements to explain environmental melancholia. Understanding that it is not just how we mourn but what we mourn that defines us, the authors introduce new perspectives on conservation, sustainability, and our relationships with nature.
An ecological elegy for a time of climatic and environmental upheaval, Mourning Nature challenges readers to turn devastating events into an opportunity for positive change.
Prologue: She Was Bereft xiii
Introduction: To Mourn beyond the Human 3
Ashlee Cunsolo and Karen Landman
1 Mourning the Loss of Wild Soundscapes: A Rationale for Context When Experiencing Natural Sound 27
2 Environmental Mourning and the Religious Imagination 39
3 Mourning Ourselves and/as Our Relatives: Environment as Kinship 64
Sebastian F. Braun
4 In the Absence of Sparrows 92
Helen Whale and Franklin Ginn
5 Where Have All the Boronia Gone? A Posthumanist Model of Environmental Mourning 117
John Charles Ryan
6 Losing My Place: Landscapes of Depression 144
7 Climate Change as the Work of Mourning 169
8 Auguries of Elegy: The Art and Ethics of Ecological Grieving 190
Jessica Marion Barr
9 Making Loss the Centre: Podcasting Our Environmental Grief 227
Andrew Mark and Amanda Di Battista
10 Emotional Solidarity: Ecological Emotional Outlaws Mourning Environmental Loss and Empowering Positive Change 258
11 Solastalgia and the New Mourning 292
Epilogue: The Wild Creatures 316
Ashlee Cunsolo is director of the Labrador Institute and an adjunct professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Karen Landman is professor of landscape architecture at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph.
- Glenn Albrecht (Murdoch University, retired)
- Jessica Marion Barr (Trent University)
- Sebastian Braun (University of North Dakota)
- Ashlee Cunsolo (Labrador Institute of Memorial University)
- Amanda Di Battista (York University)
- Franklin Ginn (University of Edinburgh)
- Bernie Krause (soundscape ecologist, author, and independent scholar)
- Lisa Kretz (University of Evansville)
- Karen Landman (University of Guelph)
- Patrick Lane (Poet)
- Andrew Mark (independent scholar)
- Nancy Menning (Ithaca College)
- John Charles Ryan (University of New England)
- Catriona Sandilands (York University)
- Helen Whale (independent scholar)
"This is a major collection that addresses an issue that has received relatively little attention despite its long-standing centrality to environmental concerns. It will become a place-maker for very important future work."
– Mick Smith, Queen's University
"This multidisciplinary collection will appeal to readers who work in ecocriticism, animal studies, extinction studies, psychology, counselling and therapy, social work, place studies, geography, the Anthropocene, sustainability issues, and the environmental arts. While scholarly in nature, it is accessible to general readers who might be struggling with feelings related to environmental loss, geographical displacement, and activist burnout."
– Pamela Banting, University of Calgary
"Mourning Nature forms a posthuman, but nonetheless personal, examination of the losses of relationships with plants, animals, and even entire ecosystems – an ecological grief observed. An extraordinary resource for scholars in the humanities, social, and natural sciences."
– Ethics & the Environment
"Mourning Nature offers readers an understanding of losses, ideas for collective mourning practices and environmental activism, language to articulate our feelings of environmental loss, and, most importantly, hope, which each author insists is present. The collection itself is therefore placed as a work of activism that draws attention to themes of environmental loss and mourning and contributes to the much-needed public discourse on these topics."
– The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada