Last post for Monday: Bill McKibben. Also, please post your revised Draft of your paper

Hi all,

For our last blog post for Monday, read the selection from Bill Mckibben’s book Deep Economy (2007) and evaluate the following questions:

What does he have to say about “more and better”?  Why do you (and McKibben) think that overall reported happiness levels have gone down as our “quality of life” has gone up with more technology and more advancements?  What do you think of his quote on Pg. 44 about approaching the upcoming holidays in relation to the “Laura Ingall Wilder effect”:

“A few years ago a group of us in the Methodist churches in my part of the Northast started a campaign called Hundred Dollar Holidays to persuade people to celebrate the Nativity a little differently–with homemade gifts, gifts of service and time, and so forth.  When we started it, we were thinking as pious environmentalists: we could rid the world of all those batteries!  But the reason the campaign worked so well was because so many people were desperate for permission to celebrate Christmas in a new way that fit better what we actually need out of the holidays.  We need time with family, we need silence for reflection, we need connection with nature–all the stuff that the Ingalls family had in abundacne.  We don’t need candy; we have candy every day of our lives.  We just haven’t figured that out, because the momentum of the past is still with us:  we still imagine we’re in the Little House on the Big Prairie, when most of us inhabit the Oversized House on the Little Cul de Sac”(44).

Blog post for Monday: Write about the poem you will be presenting next week

Hi all!

I hope you’ve had a good week!  For our blog post for Monday, write about the poem you will be briefly presenting in class next week.  (A list of poems you signed up for today are on Canvas on an announcement I’m about to post).  These poems are in the Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral available int he UMW bookstore.   What stands out to you about the poem?   Here are a few questions (among many possible!) to consider:

If relevant, how does the poetic voice characterize her relationship to the natural or more-than-human world?   How does the poetic voice perceive the natural world around her?  Does her depiction of the more-than-human world relate to David Abram’s ideas and experiences?   Is the natural world merely a backdrop (like in theatre) or does it play an active or prominent role?   Does the poem conjure up emotion for you?  If so, why do you think that is?  How does it make you feel?  Does this poem relate to other readings we’ve discussed in class?

Response to David Abram reading for Monday

Hi all,

I hope you’re all having a great weekend.  For the blog post for Monday, I’d like for you to write a response to the selection from the David Abram reading, The Spell of the Sensuous that can be found on Canvas, week 8.  As we didn’t have too much time to get into the discussion on Friday, we’ll continue to focus on Abram on Monday.  I was planning on having you read the short selection from Annie Dillard for Monday as well (as indicated on the syllabus) but see now that the scan of that reading never actually made it’s way onto Canvas.  We can include that one for later.

For Monday, respond to Abram and think through ways that you can relate to some of his focus on the senses and on the interconnectedness between humans and the more-than-human world.  Have you had an experience at all like his with the condor or with the spiders in the cave?  In response to his word of warning in his preface about how we filter so much through technology now….how do you think your relationship to the sensuous world around you would change if suddenly you weren’t attached to your smart phone?

John Muir for Monday

Hi all!

For Monday’s blog, read through the Muir reading (under Files in Canvas, Week 6).   How does John Muir’s perspective on nature, and on direct experience with the non-human world, differ from the perspectives proposed by other writers we have discussed (such as Whitman, Thoreau, and Bello)? How would Cronon characterize Muir’s attitude toward “wilderness” and “the wilderness experience”?  Can you relate to his exuberance about his time in the mountains?  What do you make of his descriptions of the rocks as “talkative”?

For Monday: Whitman and Bello: Direct Experience of the Natural World

Hi all!

For Monday,  after reading/rereading Bello, and as much of Whitman’s Song of Myself as you can (up through at least section 15), write about the following connections by citing evidence from the texts:

How do Whitman and Bello (and Thoreau as well) view the importance of direct experience? How do Whitman and Bello’s poetic texts view the relationship between humans and non-humans? According to Whitman, Bello and Thoreau, what are the possible benefits of direct, first-hand connection with the non-human world?

Song of Myself was originally published in 1855, one year after Walden, and four years after Thoreau’s speeches from Walking.  In Whitman’s poetic vision–one that could be termed “all-embracing”–how would you characterize his perspective on nature and on modernization?  Consider reading Whitman outside as well.  How does that affect your experience of the text?

Blog on Thoreau and Cronon for Monday

Hi all!

On Monday in class we will continue our discussion of Cronon and begin talking about Thoreau’s, Walking. For Monday:

Review the Cronon reading again and read up to page 20 in Walking by Thoreau. For Monday’s blog think through and answer the following questions in the blog:

How doThoreau’s descriptions of the non-human world fit into Cronon’s discussion of wilderness (or wildness)? Do you agree with Cronon that Thoreau demonstrates a “stern loneliness” in his experience of “wilderness” at Walden Pond (and elsewhere)? Does he find “wildness” while walking (without entirely leaving civilization far behind)?

Free-writing about river outing (or other time in nature this weekend for the three that can’t make it)

Hi all,

Your blog post for Monday will be about our group outing on Saturday.  We’ll try to do a bit of free-writing during the outing but I’d like for you to write about your experience out on the Rappahannock while sitting quietly by the water or in a kayak, canoe, or on a SUP board.  What did you observe?  What were you thinking about while we were out there?  What were some highlights for you?

If you are one of the students who unfortunately isn’t able to join us on Saturday, you can find a place outside, shut off your phone for 15 minutes, and do some free-writing as you observe your surroundings and then write that up as a blog post.

I’m looking forward to our outing tomorrow!


Creating your blog through Domain of One’s Own

Hi all!

Here are the instructions for creating your blog for the class.  We have a cool opportunity here at UMW that enables you to create your own domain for your four years here.  Your course blog will actually be a “subdomain”.  My domain is and the blog for our fsem is   I would recommend that create a domain that you could have your resume and other information so that you could show it to potential employers/internship supervisors.  For your course blog, you will create a subdomain similar to mine:  woundedplanetfsem.(whatever your domain is).com.

Here are the instructions for signing up on Domain of One’s Own:

Once you have done that, you’ll need to create your subdomain for this course.  Here are the instructions to create your subdomain for the course:

Once you have created your subdomain, click on WordPress in applications.  When it asks where you want to install it, find your subdomain in the dropdown menu and click on install.

Now from your “cpanel” you will see your blog and can go into the dashboard and add posts.  When you have your subdomain established, please send me the address so that I can add the link to this site so that all 14 of your blogs are linked and you can read each other’s work and write your weekly comments.  We’ll go over this in class as well but feel free to come to me for questions and also to the great folks in the Digital Knowledge Center on the 4th floor of the Hurley Convergence Center (HCC).


Welcome to Writing for a Wounded Planet FSEM!

Hi all,

Let me start out our course blog by saying that I’m very excited you’ve joined the UMW community and am really looking forward to discussing ideas about nature and environment with you both in and out of class.  As this is the FSEM linked to the Greenhouse living learning community in Virginia Hall, I am particularly excited about the potential for us to engage with the ideas we discuss in class in other spaces more interesting than the second floor of Combs Hall–out on the Rappahannock, in the woods near the Virginia Outdoor Center, or simply out in the grass, under the old trees of our beautiful campus.  Depending on everyone’s availability we will have some of out of class activities this semester, which will support our in class work as well as provide us with some helpful change in perspective.

The way I see it, as a community we will not only be taking this course together but also working to identify shared goals of projects that can further promote sustainability on our campus.  This is also the first year of Ecovillage, a theme-based living learning community housed in the UMW apartments and lead by a few awesome students from last year’s FSEM.  I see some exciting potential to team up and go on outings and also get more involved here on campus in terms of sustainability issues.

While we will be discussing many different ideas about nature and environment throughout the course, from some voices with whom you are likely  already somewhat familiar (Thoreau and Whitman, most likely) and others that will be entirely new to you, my hope is that there will also be some action that occurs, some moving beyond the theory to take a few proactive steps here on our campus, in the community you have just recently become part of.  As I said on Friday when we met in Trinkle Hall, like most things in life, this community and experience will be what you all choose to make of it.  Given that you all live in the same res hall, I feel that this year we have a unique opportunity to do more and form a different sort of community. Thus, my excitement and anticipation of meeting all of you. I’m ready to see where this leads and where you all want to take this. Again, welcome and let’s begin!