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ENVS 1000 Mar. 13 Environmental Writing.doc

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York University
Environmental Studies
ENVS 1000
Peter Timmerman

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING, OIL AND ENERGY Environmental Writing Animal writing involves the use of animals that have human voices. The writing is strongly shaped by the pastoral. The understanding of nature (and culture) and the mysteries of nature (the natural environment) appear in many writings. Naturalist Writers They tend to mix the scientific aspect of nature with the romantic aspect. Many times, they “travel” into places that are unfamiliar – sort of as the last remnants of natural order. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a naturalist writer. He built a hut in 1840s and wrote about it. It is about his experiment in the natural world (though this is slightly misleading because he was not in the great outdoors the entire time. He was able to go home form time to time). He was also involved in the smuggling of slaves. Susannah Moodie (1803-1885) wrote “Roughing It in the Bush”. This was different from Thoreau’s experience because it his was shielded from actual experience. Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) was interested in the place of Maine. Places like that were considered rough terrain/early tourist area. The White Heron The book is about a mixture of complex set of relationships. The character, Sylvia, does not give up the white heron to the hunter. She is somewhat associated with the heron herself. The white heron presents a classic case of environmental conflict with human culture. Environment in Film What is nature’s “role”? Is it evil? Is nature fighting back? Perhaps nature is seeking revenge on humans. Is nature a victim? Nature also appears as a character in some films. Is nature a backdrop to human emotions? E.g. weeping willow. Genres: -Documentaries -Adventure films -> where the natural world is an obstacle -Monster films -> full of misshapen creatures, like Frankenstein -Disaster films -> showcasing the end of the world -Evil genius films -> transforming creatures/nature using science and technology -Secret plots/cover-ups Few films are actually about the environment, unl
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