Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Sustaining the West: Cultural Responses to Canadian Environments, edited by Liza Piper and Lisa Szabo-Jones

List of illustrations


Introduction: What if the Problem is People? | Liza Piper

Part 1: Acting on Behalf Of

Chapter 1: Grass Futures: Possibilities for a Re-engagement with Prairie | Trevor Herriot

Chapter 2: Wastewest: A State of Mind | Warren Cariou

Chapter 3: Sustaining Collaboration: The Woodhaven Eco Art Project | Nancy Holmes

Chapter 4: A Natural History and Dioramic Performance: Restoring Camosun Bog in Vancouver, British Columbia | Lisa Szabo-Jones and David Brownstein

Chapter 5: A Subtle Activism of the Heart | Beth Carruthers

Chapter 6: Sublime Animal | Maria Whiteman

Chapter 7: The Becoming-Animal of Being Caribou: Art, Ethics, Politics | Dianne Chisholm

Interlude: Creating Metaphors for Change | Lyndal Osborne

Part 2: Constructing Knowledge

Chapter 8: Poetry, Science, and Knowledge of Place: A Dispatch from the Coast | Nicholas Bradley

Chapter 9: Deception in High Places: The Making and Unmaking of Mounts Brown and Hooker | Zac Robinson and Stephen Slemon

Chapter 10: Escarpments, Agriculture, and the Historical Experience of Certainty in Manitoba and Ontario | Shannon Stunden Bower and Sean Gouglas

Chapter 11: Whatever Else Climate Change Is Freedom: Frontier Mythologies, the Carbon Imaginary, and British Columbia Coastal Forestry Novels | Richard Pickard

Chapter 12: Endangered Species, Endangered Spaces: Exploring the Grasslands of Trevor Herriot's Grass, Sky, Song and the Wetlands of Terry Tempest Williams's Refuge | Angela Waldie

Chapter 13: What Should We Sacrifice for Bitumen? Literature Interrupts Oil Capital's Utopian Imaginings | Jon Gordon

Interlude: Symphony for a Head of Wheat Burning in the Dark | Harold Rhenisch

Part 3: Maternal Expressions

Chapter 14: Propositions from Under Mill Creek Bridge: A Practice of Reading | Christine Stewart

Chapter 15: Understory Enduring the Sixth Mass Extinction, ca 2009-11 | Rita Wong

Chapter 16: Seeding Coordinates, Planting Memories: Here, There, & Elsewhere in W. H. New's Underwood Log | Travis V. Mason

Chapter 17: Re-Envisioning epic in Jon Whyte's Rocky Mountain Poem The fells of brightness | Harry Vandervlist

Chapter 18: Ware's Waldo: Hydroelectric Development and the Creation of the Other in British Columbia | Daniel Sims

Afterword: Humming Along With the Bees: A Few Words on Cross-Pollination | Pamela Banting





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 local effects brought about by global climate change. In Sustaining the West: Cultural Responses to Western Environments Past and Present, 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 ecological criticism (ecocriticism), ecofeminism, ecoart, ecopoetry, and environmental journalism. The complex nature of the problems being addressed calls for productive, interdisciplinary solutions.


"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