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Sustaining the West

Cultural Responses to Canadian Environments

Liza Piper and Lisa Szabo-Jones, editors

Environmental Humanities Series

Paper 380 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-923-4

Release Date: March 2015

Online discount: 25%

$42.99  $32.24


eBook availability

Western Canada’s natural environment faces intensifying threats from industrialization in agriculture and resource development, social and cultural complicity in these destructive practices, and most recently the negative effects of global climate change. The complex nature of the problems being addressed calls for productive interdisciplinary solutions. In this book, arts and humanities scholars and literary and visual artists tackle these pressing environmental issues in provocative and transformative ways. Their commitment to environmental causes emerges through the fields of environmental history, environmental and ecocriticism, ecofeminism, ecoart, ecopoetry, and environmental journalism.

This indispensable and timely resource constitutes a sustained cross-pollinating conversation across the environmental humanities about forms of representation and activism that enable ecological knowledge and ethical action on behalf of Western Canadian environments, yet have global reach. Among the developments in the contributors’ construction of environmental knowledge are a focus on the power of sentiment in linking people to the fate of nature, and the need to decolonize social and environmental relations and assumptions in the West.

Liza Piper is an associate professor at the University of Alberta, where she teaches environmental and Canadian history. She researches and writes about the relations between people and the rest of nature in the past, primarily in northern environments and with a particular focus on the roles of science and industry and the consequences for diet and health. She is the author of The Industrial Transformation of Subarctic Canada (2009).

Lisa Szabo-Jones is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar and teaches English at the University of Alberta. She is a co-founder and co-editor of The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment and Culture in Canada and co-editor, with Liza Piper, of Sustaining the West: Cultural Responses to Canadian Environments (WLU Press, 2015).


“The editors and writers of these thoughtful, challenging essays—diverse examples of the best work in the environmental humanities—take seriously the cultural assumptions that create and perpetuate contemporary environmental crises. With a scope that considers the potential of the poetic to alter the West’s exploitative relationship with nature alongside cases of deteriorating ecosystems, which illustrate the need for a new social contract with the land, these writers call for radical change.”

— Deanna Reder, Department of First Nations Studies and Department of English, Simon Fraser University; co-editor, with Linda M. Morra of Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations (WLU Press, 2010)