We no longer live at Walden Pond.
We inhabit a planet where glacier ice is rapidly melting, where coral reefs are dying, where permafrost is releasing methane, where the ecosystem services that support human life are at risk of destruction. In this time of climate crisis and global pandemic, we must learn to listen to each other, to build community among ourselves and in our classrooms, to work on issues of environmental justice, to have live discussions about difficult content, and to tell the stories of deep adaptation, climate mitigation, and human survival. Because of this, the courses I teach are based in 21st century environmental humanities.
First, some immediate history. Spring 2020 was a semester of rapid, forced change. In transforming my classes to distance learning, I chose to keep them discussion based and synchronous. My students and I met on Zoom each class day, and we talked. We talked about Covid-19 — and environmental justice. We talked disaster management and triage — and environmental justice. We talked about the powerlessness we all felt in the face of the pandemic and about the disparity in that powerlessness. In the face of the rapid change in our teaching environment, my students and I chose to remain engaged, to see each other every class day — to check in, to discuss, to debate, and to support each other. We worked to maintain connection. My classes at all levels became laboratories examining— in real time— the issues of privilege, the problems of justice, the pathways toward social and environmental sustainability, and the practice of storycraft in the support of environmental argument and policy. We had become a community in the early weeks of the semester, and we remained a community after the emergence of Covid-19.
I joined the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences in 2014, the fall after I finished my doctorate. I currently have three long-term writing projects on my desk ,and I direct two online journals. The first writing project emerges from 3 years of data collection during and after an urban water crisis in a mid-sized midwest town. I have presented pieces of this material and plan eventually to complete a nonfiction book on public risk in urban water policy. The second project is a novel emerging from my own experiences in working with a city alder on water policy and as a private citizen working on environmental issues in the urban South. The third project is a short story collection emerging from my interests in the environment and social justice.
Alluvian (www.alluvian.space), the online fledgling international creative environmental journal which I developed and direct, has been in production since fall 2015. (Please "like" our Facebook page: alluvianjournal and follow us on Twitter.)
Roots (icgrowingroots.space), an online science outreach journal run by students, is part of a course I teach in the fall.
I also offer environmental communication research opportunities that include a communication project on cremation and green burial, and closely mentored independent study in creative environmental communication.
Courses I teach
ENVS 11900 Introduction to Environmental Humanities (fall).
ENVS 31200 Topics in Environmental Communication (fall)
ENVS 36000 Advanced Topics in Environmental Humanities (spring), topics:
Environmental Democracy: The Problem of Activism
Homesteading: Memoirs of Living on the Land
The Unnatural Disaster: "Memoirs" of Climate Change
Environmental Piracy: Stories of Environmental Contamination
"Summer Blues." In Beach Reads.Third Street Press, 2017. (nonfiction)
"Open at the Throat," Artful Dodge, 52/53, 2016. (fiction)
"The Flyover," New World Writing, 2016. (fiction)
And the Baby Gods Sprout Like Milkweed, Dancing Girl Press, 2014. (poetry chapbook)
Romberg, T. R., Carpenter, T. A., & Dremock, F. (Eds.). Understanding Mathematics and Science Matters. Erlbaum, 2005. (research)