During the COVID-19 pandemic, video games offered Nat Mesnard and many others an escape from isolation. But the false promise of endless productivity in factory building games like Satisfactory ensnared them in a myth of capitalist "progress."
In conversation with Shelby Brewster, Jemma Deer discusses her new book, Radical Animism: Reading for the End of the World.
Astrophotography saw Kaitlin Moore through months of COVID-19 lockdown, developing connections among the universe’s most isolated subjects.
Can wildness be its own way of thinking and knowing? And where should we look to find out? Julia Dauer reviews Jack Halberstam's wide-ranging new book, Wild Things.
Many environmentalists are suspicious of cute mascots. Evelyn Ramiel invites us to open our hearts to cute characters that create ecologies of care.
Feed your brain and your Halloween horror habit with these nine spooky film and TV recommendations with extra credit readings and eco-interpretations offered by Edge Effects board members.
“When talking about Indigenous history you can just devastate yourself," says Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star. "And so, humor has been a way for me to cope with that." Drawing from an original interview with the artist, Nicole Seymour and Salma Monani examine how Red Star uses humor, play, and collaboration to subvert museum stereotypes of Indigenous peoples and reanimate Indigenous pasts—and futures—through art.
The histories of fermentation and its unruly twin, rot, provide key insights into race, power, and resistance on plantations in the Caribbean.
In conversation with Min Hyoung Song, Heather Houser considers how stories and art make overwhelming scientific data meaningful—and how they trouble, interrogate, and transform it.
When the revolution is won, what comes next? In the popular Cartoon Network show Steven Universe, Gardiner Brown finds a model for queer environmental care.
Elon Musk’s dream of colonizing Mars may be decades away, but video games allow us to practice geoengineering here and now. Doron Darnov explores how digital terraforming both shapes and reflects our desires for worldmaking at (inter)planetary scales.
A photo essay by Christine Horn from her fieldwork in Sarawak, Borneo, shows how oil palm plantations rearrange and displace communities and landscapes.
Fifty years after the first Earth Day, how have environmental campaigns changed? Alexandra Lakind cautions against stereotypes that focus on the personal instead of the structural.
A poetic and visceral narrative of salt mining in Gujarat, India, Divya Victor’s Kith calls attention to the lives and deaths of salt farmers.
In ClearCut – The Wages of Dominion, photographer John Riggs presents a guided meditation about the cultural mindset behind clearcutting.
Natalie Wright reviews an exhibit on "Plastic Entanglements" at the Chazen Museum of Art which explores questions of our plastic, synthetic world.
Artist and neuroscientist Christine Liu shares her zines, Nicotine and The Opium Poppy, that explore the links between plants, drugs, and the brain.
Part of the Water Protectors movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Drone Warriors use drone photography as a form of protest. An exhibit curated by Adrienne Keene and Gregory Hitch spotlights their work.
Julia Dauer argues that the plant monsters from the Netflix series Stranger Things share roots with 18th-century colonial terror of botanical powers. Unruly vegetation from the Upside Down calls for a wholesale reevaluation of normal in the contemporary US.
Steve Rowell’s film Midstream at Twilight uses drone photography to follow the toxic infrastructure of oil pipelines from source to refinery to gift shop.
Inspired by TV as a medium, Marc Miller's course in landscape architecture has students make environmental fiction about the future rather than design for the present.
A 19th-century novel about a (white) women's utopia at the center of the earth documents the long history of American eugenics and ecofascism.
Hester Blum's new book, The News at the Ends of the Earth, explains why 19th-century newspapers printed on polar expeditions offer a model for communicating in the age of climate crisis.
Celebrated author Robert Macfarlane discusses his latest book, Underland, which journeys deep underground to look for answers.
Artist Monica Haller explores the Mississippi River as an Anthropocene site with intimate ties to her own family history. She records the underwater sounds of this historical waterway to trace connections between the river and legacies of slavery, philosophies of ownership, and environmental racism.
Haitian political history, Taíno artifacts, colonial plantations, and even cholera bacteria leave their marks on the land in Kwynn Johnson's 30-foot panoramic drawing of Cap Haitien.
The award-winning author and Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing discusses storytelling during environmental crisis, legacies of Japanese incarceration, and why ethnographies are environmental writing.
The acclaimed writer of the bestselling Mars trilogy and Red Moon models possible futures in his science fiction for a biosphere of eight billion people, seeking new solutions for global emergencies.
And it might just be the quirky, queered, Icelandic feminist ecowarrior movie you've been waiting for.
In "A Manifesto about Migration, Freedom, and Diversity," one artist creates mosaics of New York's migratory birds from recycled MetroCards.
Greta LaFleur’s new book, The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America, shows how desire was produced in surprising ways alongside taxonomies of plants and racial difference in early British colonial texts.
What can art history tell us about how artists imagine, interpret, and bear witness to environmental change? The new exhibition Nature's Nation uses ecocritical art history to explore American environmental history and pose tough questions about what we need to do move forward.
The 1995 Chicago heat wave revealed how racism and poverty are the slow-motion disasters that become glaringly visible during extreme weather events. A new documentary film tells this story.
Environmental video games like "Walden, A Game" are a growing trend. Can they creatively intervene in climate change debates and inspire environmental awareness?
What haunts the land? Artists R.L. Martens and Bii Robertson dig up the tangled history of "the vampire crop," slavery, and soil exhaustion in Maryland, revealing that the past is more present than you might think.
An audio-visual essay by Deborah A. Thomas responds to the 2010 state of emergency in West Kingston, Jamaica, known as the "Tivoli Incursion" and asks how archiving affects—not just events—might be a way to re-imagine justice, politics, and repair.
Is the Green New Deal real or science fiction? Kim Stanley Robinson's novel New York 2140 imagines a flooded world where climate action is unavoidable.
Four contemporary photographers use historical techniques to bring attention to the transient, illusory, and disposable items and people in our world. From tintype to cyanotype, these processes combine chemical knowledge and artistic insight.
A Diné (Navajo) artist finds inspiration in the Dinétah landscape of New Mexico where she grew up. Her artwork brings the language of Diné weaving to the fine art world.
Does tidying up always mean throwing away? Marie Kondo's new Netflix show sparks joy and skepticism in a scholar researching waste.
Given the often-debilitating realities of environmental issues, how can teachers build an environmental pedagogy that inspires creative change?
We form attachments to the places around us, and they shape our sense of who we are. An educator uses that environmental identity to spark action.
When you venture into the great unknown, you often have to rely on the generosity of strangers. Eddy Harris reflects on race and outdoor recreation, ecological conservation, and the elusive idea of America as he discusses his film, River to the Heart.
In light of the US government's controversial proposal to define gender as a "biological fact," a trans scholar and artist critiques the use of “nature” to limit the messy, multidimensional reality of gender identity and expression.
Mainstream environmental discourse often employs emotions like fear, guilt, and outrage. But what about irony, humor, and irreverence? What feelings and what people get left out of environmentalism when we have such a limited emotional range?
Comics and graphic novels help us picture new worlds and imagine how to save our own. Four writers recommend their favorites.
Curious about ecohorror? An ecocritic recommends classic, campy, and little-known films that play with our culture’s deepest fears about nature. A few of these creature features just might get under your skin—literally.
Photography is both an act of memory and a way to perceive change. For one writer, returning home means facing a landscape transformed by fire, climate change, and time.
Plastic shapes us even as it contributes to our destruction. A performance studies scholar shares her creative approach to teaching about plastic and identity in an unavoidably plastic world.
An ecocritic had just finished a book chapter on Sherman Alexie’s poetry when accusations about his sexual misconduct went viral last spring. She asks if environmental humanities scholars should continue to engage with the work of abusers, and why certain writers and scholars come to dominate our archives in the first place.
How does the celebrated author of the new story collection "Florida" write books in a poisoned, warming world? "By being constantly, constantly angry. All day long."
Many new movies and TV shows have complex things to say about the entanglement of culture, history, and environment. We recommend the best scholarship to help you decode them.
In ancient Greece and Rome, birds filled more than the skies. Jeremy Mynott’s new book explores birds in ancient imaginations and the science, pastimes, art, and literature they inspired.
A new generation of experimental poets responds to the growing awareness of human impacts on the planet with work that challenges traditional nature poetry and poetic form.
In this book teaser, objects like monkey wrenches and pesticide pumps help narrate a fragmentary history of the Anthropocene.
A photographer explores an aesthetic that finds beauty in the physical alterations people make to natural landscapes, from Yellowstone to a state park in Ohio.
The acclaimed author and activist, who has edited the new Library of America edition of "Silent Spring," reflects on how Carson changed her style of writing to become "defense attorney for the Earth."
To some, this pig is family. To others, she's food. In a review of Netflix's Okja, a geographer explores how the film's representation of super pigs and human-animal friendships asks us to rethink our relationships with nonhuman animals.
Communal living and artistic experimentation have thrived at the Open City for over forty years. In the face of pollution and environmental degradation, the collective of poets, artists, and a lone ecologist are reimagining green design.
In a series of photographs, a scholar and wilderness guide meditates on wild places and the politics of resource extraction in southern Utah.
As the climate changes, so does our language. Melting glaciers force us to rethink the metaphors we use to make sense of the world around us.
Camping in a highland hut called a bothy, once home to Scottish hill farmers, a photographer finds kinship amidst wild space.
As we continue to celebrate Women's History Month, here is a list of new and recent work by women writers whose environmental imaginations keep us all inspired, impassioned, and ready for whatever comes next.
In a series of photographs, a landscape designer and artist uncovers the invisible toxic legacies of nuclear technology in Hanford, WA.
Following orchids in The Farming of Bones, a novel by Edwidge Danticat, exposes tangled webs of care, violence, and the lasting power of the colonial imagination.
A science fiction novel offers a genre-bending perspective that helps us think about wildness, purity, and invasion in new and strange ways.
What happens when our changing world starts to look more and more unreal? The recent boom in novels that depict climate change pits the real against the magical, surreal, and fantastical.
An artist honors the struggles of undocumented immigrants in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands and shows the emotional and environmental toll of immigration policies.
The winners of Edge Effects’ photo contest capture a variety of dramatic, surprising, and precarious border crossings from around the world.
The decline of honeybees is cause for alarm and a symptom of global biodiversity loss. Beekeepers, however, find creative ways to build relationships with honeybees and steward their hives.
The modernism of the Green Revolution is visible not only in the genes of seeds developed by agronomists, but also in the architecture of the campuses and laboratories where those seeds were engineered.
In this quick guide to Henry Ford's lasting impact in the Amazon, the director of Beyond Fordlândia shares the untold stories of violence, pollution, and activism he uncovered while filming the new documentary.
As glaciers melt, they leave behind abandoned rocks and other erratics. This photo essay of the Alaskan wilderness explores how glacial erratics are time travelers, treasure troves, reliquaries, and rubble.
To reach a broader audience, one artist and physical scientist takes data on environmental catastrophe and renders it beautiful.
French landscape painting during the Haitian Revolution lays bare colonial concern for controlling both people and the environment.
A meditation on how the annual burning of a 51-foot marionette forges connections to a city and its complex, violent past.
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.
Through art, Yayoi Kusama takes an extreme challenge, mental illness, and connects to millions, inviting viewers into the curious and profound beauty of her interior world. Encountering Kusama's art inspired the author of this essay to reach through her own "a wall of silence" and use art to express her anxious environment.
In American popular culture, from the colonial era to the present, women who venture out into wild places cannot escape the strictures of gender.
Most Hollywood catastrophe films offer neat endings and the promise of a fresh start. Fury Road asks what happens when the broken world cannot be made whole.
Even with the impacts of the Anthropocene, it would be hubristic not to realize that ice and sky will far outlast anything so puny as humanity.
The makers of "Winged Migration" return with a new film that challenges viewers’ expectations of authenticity in nature documentaries.
During this period of rapid political change, glass and Morse code provide mediums for reflection on the environment and extinction.
Four graduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison share their reflections on the work of Do Ho Suh.
A photo essay of mid-century domestic relics open a window on a woman's hard, heroic, uncelebrated life.
A storyteller's account of Manabu Ikeda's pen-and-ink commemoration of Japan's earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in 2011.
Four scholars and one of the original "biospherians" offer their takes on perhaps the largest private science experiment in history.
A writer's poignant reflections on care and healing. What might happen if we all turned toward, instead of away?
Ecologists and artists work together to give voice to Wisconsin waterways while a social scientist observes their collaboration.
A new book surveys 150 novels about climate change and makes the case for the virtues of cli-fi.
The Center for Culture, History, and Environment’s Place-Based Workshop on the Mississippi River this summer inspires reflections on Mali’s critically important Niger Delta floodplain.
Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to embrace the natural world and push the boundaries of modern design. What do these conflicting desires mean for environmental teaching and thinking today?
Repeat photography is used by a range of scientists and artists as a form of data collection, but also raises deeper questions about the nature of truth.
How do species extinctions past and present affect our daily lives? What can we do to connect to environmental change?
What did ancient people think about human impacts on the environment? Four passages offer perspectives from Greece and Rome.
Long-forgotten film footage launches a collaborative recollection of history and memory, and gives new meaning to the past in post-conflict Liberia.
A late eighteenth-century painting of a moment that never happened illuminates our complex struggles with how to “deal with” the past.
An ecologist channels a lifetime of studying birds into intricate wood carvings.
What do we notice if we watch Star Wars as a space epic?
Children's novels from the nature study movement contain strikingly violent episodes, a fact that pushes us to rethink our understanding of period environmental ethics.
Artists reflect on their collaborative installation and performance on the banks of the Chester River.
A take on Robert Frost's famous poem, adapted to reflect changes in Wisconsin forest ownership and conservation.
In this interview, dancer and choreographer Cassie Meador discusses her work with Dance Exchange, and especially their innovative Moving Field Guide program.
How do people encounter water every day in São Paulo, and how can those encounters suggest opportunities for dealing with water's scarcity?
Far from just a form of entertainment, Dr. Sarah Lappas explains how hip-hop can empower both artists and audiences to think more critically about their environments.
A photo essay explores the realities of life and struggle in rural Brazil.
What can art teach us about fieldwork? Sometimes the stories we tell belong to others.
A drawn-out interview with Josh Lepawsky on the politics, flows, and research practices around electronic waste.
CHE affiliates in Zoology, History, and English recommend children's literature for readers of all ages interested in the non-human world.
A new exhibit at the UW-Milwaukee Institute for Visual Arts offers a range of imaginative visualizations for the crisis of the Anthropocene.
Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s tale of our catastrophic future is a provocative hybrid of scholarship and science fiction that's great for the classroom.
The new film "Wrenched," directed by ML Lincoln, explores the legacy of Edward Abbey as author and action-based environmentalist in the American southwest.
A gallery of photographs that meditate on the lesser-known corners of the UW-Madison Arboretum.
A three-channel video art installation meditates on how everyday gestures, and the labor they perform, become exquisite.
Narayan Mahon's photography explores the individual, local challenges of unrecognized statehood.
What is there to love about winter in a frigid place like Wisconsin? Lots, if you're willing to look.
A story at the intersection of truth, lies, memory, and imagination set in the Norwegian-American cultural landscape of Stoughton, Wisconsin.
This photo series explores the tensions between permanence and transience in New York City's urban landscapes.
Feeling trapped in an altogether human view of the world? These eight short films prompt viewers to, for a moment, abandon the familiar and instead examine issues like time and scale through surprising non-human perspectives.
Every winter millions of Americans gather around their televisions to watch a fireplace. What is it about a fire that we love so much? And what is it like to live through a Wisconsin winter heated by fire?
What can James Franco and a fossilized camera tell us about geology, labor, and objectivity?
Jennifer Colten's photographs of wasteland environments challenge some of our deepest cultural values about nature and landscape.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy made devastating landfall at the Rockaway Peninsula in New York City, offering forebodings of still more powerful storms to come.
Can playing video games encourage gamers to think differently about their relationships to the non-human world? A close study of Final Fantasy XII shows how video games represent nature—and argues for ways they could be improved from an environmentalist standpoint.
The city of Smolensk is a memorial to Russia's history: the old Rus’, the Imperial, the Soviet, and the beginnings of a new post-Soviet.
Environmental filmmakers can’t just rely on intellectual proof—they also must connect emotionally. These eight tales successfully use humor to reach their audiences.