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Essays

Long form essays and reflections from members of the CHE community.

Knowing Prairies: An Essay in Comic Form

What can the world’s first restored prairie tell us about living with the land? The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum inspires one artist to reflect on ecological restoration and what we call nature.

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Aldo Leopold (right) with Art Hawkins and Alice Harper Stokes in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1946.

The Land Ethic Revisited: Individualism vs. Morality

How can a community implement Aldo Leopold’s notion of the land ethic? Kenya’s Njuri Ncheke councils offer an example, balancing individual and group agency.

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Why We Don’t Like Wild Women

In American popular culture, from the colonial era to the present, women who venture out into wild places cannot escape the strictures of gender.

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Remembering Lost Landscapes in Cambodia

Nearly forty years after the Pol Pot time, Cambodia’s landscape testifies to a tumultuous past and hints at an uncertain environmental future.

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Crying Dugongs and Ocean Encounters in Southeast Asia

Stories of the dugong, a cousin of the manatee, offer important insight into human-nature encounters in the waters of Southeast Asia.

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The camp at Standing Rock. Photo by Larry Nesper, November 2016.

Loaves and Fishes at Standing Rock

A senior scholar of North American indigenous history visits the Oceti Sakowin camp and finds cause for hope. Up to a point.

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The Surveyor’s Stone: Unearthing Hidden Markers of the American Landscape

Buried in the nineteenth century, stone markers continue to serve as the official, and often elusive, demarcation points of the Public Land Survey System.

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Playing With Fire in Indonesia’s Peatlands

Indonesia’s previously swampy forests have become unpredictable, fuel-rich fire traps.

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Carolyn Finney addresses the Nelson Institute's Community Environmental Scholars Program in Madison, Wisconsin, April 2016. Photo by Ingrid Laas.

Nature and the Rules of Race: A Conversation with Carolyn Finney

The importance of storytelling in elucidating and challenging understandings of race and the environment.

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Mining for Change in Bolivia

Despite changing political contexts, mining continues to define culture and landscapes in Bolivia.

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