Iowa English Bulletin Publishes Matthew Sivils’s Article on Teaching Environmental Literature
Sivils, Matthew Wynn. “Cultivating Ecocentric Students: Teaching Environmental Literature in Iowa.” Iowa English Bulletin 45 (2011): 45–54.
Regardless of their crops, smart farmers set aside buffer zones on the borders of their fields. While mainly used to stabilize the soil and reduce pollution by retarding water runoff, these unplowed strips of non-crop vegetation do more: They also serve as wildlife corridors, and, for many species, as habitat. They create breaks in the otherwise homogenous landscape, offering relief from the monotony of row after row of genetically identical plants.
Regardless of the subjects we teach, as cultivators of students we need to do the same in our fields, guarding our students from the threat of an overly homogenized, sterile, and human-centered worldview. We need to create pedagogical buffer zones by overtly integrating ecological reality and environmental ethics into our teaching. Without such an ecocentric approach to higher education, we risk graduating students who are successes at their chosen careers but failures in preserving the environment upon which all life depends.
You may read the entire article here.