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Welcome to Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture at  The purpose of this forum is to explore big questions about society and environmental change, such as

  • What does the good life mean in the 21st Century?
  • How do personal choices and values play a role in this conversation?
  • What do the natural sciences have to say about the way our world is changing?
  • What do the social sciences and humanities have to say about the ways that the social and the cultural intersect with questions surrounding environment — 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, how do we make policy or economic decisions given these questions?
  • How can we address environmental and social challenges at the same time?
  • How is environmentalism changing in response to these pressures?
  • 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-by-play, 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. forges a new path.  I want to analyze environmental change by focusing 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.

I hope this forum will provide the creative space to attract the best and most-interesting ideas for how we might get to a more ecologically sustainable and socially just world.  I hope that the constellation of posts can lead to a more useful integration of ideas around these big questions.

I’d also like the forum to contain a dose of useful, practical information—not so much “100 things to save the environment” but ideas to help people become more personally invested and informed. Check out the post Do our daily routines put our health at risk? for an example.

Everyone is an important part of this conversation. I encourage you to subscribe to the blog (which is easy to do using the RSS/email/twitter subscribe options on the main page), and please send me any interesting ideas you’d like to see discussed. If you wish to write a guest post, please feel free to drop me a line with your ideas.

Many thanks to Robert Denton for help creating the site.

All the best,

Phil Camill

Rusack Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Earth and Oceanographic Science
Program Director, Environmental Studies
Bowdoin College
Brunswick, Maine
6700 College Station
Brunswick, ME 04011
P. Camill’s website

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College web site:

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