Creating a Culture that Respects Nature
In the wake of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Canada and other countries that have ratified the accord are seeking ways to implement its goals. But governmental regulations alone will not achieve a reversal of the effects of environmental degradation, or address the deep-seated causes. Change can only come if there is a change in culture, a change that develops and instills new ways of thinking about, and working in, the everyday landscapes that are the context of people's understandings of nature. Democratic change must grow from the grassroots and reflect people's complex social understandings of local and global sustainability. Dr. Catriona Sandilands is at the forefront of the movement to build environmentally sustainable cultures, and culturally sophisticated understandings of sustainability, based on the values of democracy, justice, equity, and diversity. This movement requires an examination of human relationships with landscapes at the community level. An authority on ecological feminism, Dr. Sandilands is the author of The Good-Natured Feminist (University of Minnesota Press, 1999), the first book-length treatment of ecofeminism as a body of democratic theory. She is also a pioneer in examining the links between sexuality and environmental studies in the new interdisciplinary field of queer ecology. As the Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Culture, Dr. Sandilands is focused on developing and promoting the integration of cultural and environmental studies as the next crucial step in ensuring a sustainable future for Canadians. She is building an awareness of sustainability from the ground up by writing about environment and culture at the community level. Her work will lead to the development of the first international research network in environmental cultural studies.