Literature and Media

KarynKaryn Pilgrim, Metropolitan Center, Brooklyn Unit, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“Literature and media, as the dominant forms of communication today, provide us with information, ideas, imagery, and perspectives that fundamentally shape the way we view the natural environment and our place within it. These mediums of communication can help foster our appreciation and awareness of the natural environment and the issues that arise from our interactions with it. At the same time, they can influence, limit, or distort our perceptions of human and nonhuman relationships. For these reasons, studies in the environment in literature and media may explore a broad range of topics, often using an interdisciplinary framework that may span disciplines as diverse as media studies, cultural and literary theory, race and gender studies, aesthetic appreciation, philosophy and ethics.”

“Literature and the media shape our values, intellectual premises, and ultimately our practices regarding the natural environment. By analyzing the representations of natural and built environments in literature and media, we can begin to identify the assumptions that underlie our attitudes towards, and treatment of, animals and nature, and further shed light on the often unconscious attitudes that determine the built environments in which we live. This can lead to awareness of the ways of thinking that inhibit sustainable practices, as well as those that may encourage their growth.”

“Literature and media, as tools for communication that range from educational and informative to political and artistic, offer diverse forms for fostering cultural practices that promote sustainability. They can document, analyze, and expose the conditions of the environment, pose ethical questions, and draw connections between seemingly disparate issues such as poverty and pollution, human health and ecological diversity, or social justice and environmental practice. Or they can awaken our empathy for the nonhuman world, and challenge us to ask important ethical questions. As consumers of literature and the media, we can analyze how these ethical considerations of human-nonhuman relationships are constructed and re-imagined in literature and the media, and how these in turn shape the cultures in which we live.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site:¬†Follow Sustainability’s board Literature, Media and the Environment on Pinterest.

Web Resources

Ecocriticism, Chapters from the paperback, University of Brighton – College of Arts and Humanities

Nature Writing: Inspiration for Readers and Writers

The Association for the Study of Literature & Environment