UNIT 3: The Formal Argument: Ecological Voices and Changemakers

The Formal Argument: Ecological Voices and Changemakers

Ana Zalyubovskiy

This unit introduces some of the critical voices and ideas surrounding Ecology of Place. The list of readings is, for the sake of brevity, limited: there are many, many significant voices writing and speaking about biodiversity and ecological issues. Readings presented here will spur students to explore, choose an individual topic and question at issue for a research-based argumentative essay, read and research about it, and limit the scope enough to be able to present an in-depth discussion of their chosen facet of the argument. Students are invited to browse through the categories and titles to see which ones pique their interest or bring up a question: Is there a topic here that relates to your major in some way? Have you touched on related ideas in another class that you would like to follow up on? Have you experienced a place that has a serious ecological problem? A great goal is to find a topic you can feel passionate about.

The unit includes a 12-category selection of Ecology of Place issues with links to corresponding articles and other media forms. Many texts overlap categories.

Key to Topic Category Abbreviations

ANI: animals; CLI: climate crisis; DEF: deforestation; EA: ecological attitudes; ECON: economics; ENJU: environmental justice;  INDIG: indigenous peoples;                KNOW: knowledge; LAND: land use; REG: regulations; RIGH: the rights of nature; URB: urban ecology.

Unit 3.1 Readings: Ecological Attitudes, Economics and Regulations


Coady, Theresa. “Rebuilding Earth’s Forest Corridors: Renewing Connections Above and Below.” kosmosjournal.org, Excerpted from Rebuilding Earth: Designing Ecoconscious Habitats for Humans, North Atlantic Books, 2020.


“Debunking Science Denialism.” Editorial, Nature Human Behavior, 3, 887. June 24, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0746-8


Elgin, Duane. “Great Transition Stories for Becoming a Global Eco-Civilization.” duaneelgin.com, Great Transition Stories, greattransitionstories.org, August 5, 2014.


Felber, Christian. “Economy for the Common Good.” RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commence). YouTube. Aug. 18, 2016. (27:03 minutes)


Hardin, Garrett. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” AAAS Science, sciencemag.org, Pp. 1243-1248, Dec. 13, 1968.


Korten, David. “The New Economy: A Living Earth System Model.” davidkorten.org, The Next System Project, pp. 1-15.


Margil, Mari. “Advancing Change in a Time of Disruption: Forging a New Pathway for Nature.” Common Dreams commondreams.com April 1, 2020


McDonough, William. “Cradle to Cradle Design.” TED, ted.com, Feb. 2005. (Video: 20:05 min)


Newburger, Emma. “Trump is Rolling Back over 80 Environmental Regulations. Here Are Five Big Changes You Might Have Missed in 2019.” CNBC, cnbc.com, 3 Jan. 2020.


Norberg-Hodge, Helena. “What Indigenous Wisdom Can Teach Us about Economics: Strengthening Local Economies.” #CuraDa Terra essay series, Kosmos Journal, kosmosjournal.org, Fall 2020.


Omkuti, Jessica.. “Climate Adaptation Finance is Ineffective and must be More Transparent.” The Conversation, theconversation.com, 13 May 2021.


Robbins, Jim. “Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health.” Yale University, yels.edu, 9 Jan. 2020.


Rowland-Shea, Jenny and Mary Ellen Kustin. “A 13.5 Million Acre Lie.” Center for American Progress, 20 March 2019.


Sadasivam, Naveena. “Regulating While Sheltering.” Grist, grist.org, 14 Apr. 2020.


Shiva, Vandana. “Big Data Doesn’t Add Up–Except to Disaster.” Resurgence & Ecologist, Issue 305: Light in the Dark Days, resurgence.org, November/December 2017.


Todd, John. “The Ecological Design Revolution” Bioneers, bioneers.org, 12 19 2014. (Video: 23:24)


Unit 3.2 Readings: Climate CRISIS, Deforestation, Animals and the Rights of Nature


Carrington, Damian, Paul Torpey, and Paul Scruton.  “The Climate Crisis Explained in 10 Charts.” 4 November, 2022.


Ceslo H.L. Silva, Jr. et al. “The Brazilian Amazon Deforestation Rate in 2020 Is the Greatest of the Decade.” Nature: Correspondence. nature.org, 21 Dec 2020.


Chapron, Guillaume, Yaffa Epstein and José Vicente López-Bao. “A Rights Revolution for Nature.” Science. 14 Mar 2019, vol 363, Issue 6434, pp. 1392-1393.


Dellasala, Dominick A. et al. “Letters: Post-Fire Logging Debate Ignores Many Issues.” Commentary: Science, Nov 2006, 314(5796):51-2.


Evich, Helena Bottemiller. “I’m Standing Right Here in the Middle of Climate Change: How the USDA is Failing Farmers.” Politico , 15 Oct. 2019.


Galeano, Eduardo. “Nature is not Mute.” IPS News, ipsnews.net, April 2008.


Gramling, Carolyn. “Why Planting Tons of Trees Isn’t Enough to Solve Climate Change.” Science News, 9 July 2021.


Jenson, Derrick. “Beyond Civilization.” Orion Magazine, orionmagazine.org, 11 December 2019.


Kolbert, Elizabeth. Excerpt from Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. Bloomsbury, USA, 2006.


Herring, David. ““Isn’t There a Lot of Disagreement among Climate Scientists about Global Warming?” NOAA, 3 February 2020.


Hall, Lee. “Hogwash! Or, How Animal Advocates Enable Corporate Spin.” Dissident Voice, dissidentvoice.org, 29 August 2007.


Hilborn, Ray. “Keep Eating Fish: It’s the Best Way to Feed the World.”  OUPblog. Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World, blogoup.com, May 31 2019.


Levang, Emily. Can We Protect Nature by Giving it Rights? University of Minnesota., Environmental Institute: Ensia. 4 Feb. 2020


Margil, Mari. “Nature and the Law.” Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, democracyjournal.org, 20 Dec. 2016.


MacGowan, Brian. “Harvesting Our Forests – The Wildlife Debate.” Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University, 31 Jan. 2018.


Monbiot, George.  “Stop Eating Fish. It’s the Only Way to Save the Life in Our Seas.” The Guardian, 9 May 2019. 


Nelson, Michael Paul, et al. “Emotions and the Ethics of Consequence in Conservation Decisions: Lessons from Cecil the Lion.” Conservation Letters. Society for Conservation Biology. Jan. 28 2016. 


Reasor, Jamie K. “Ocean City.” 1997. (poem).


Robins, Becki. “To Save the Redwoods, Scientists Debate Burning and Logging.” Undark, 16 12 2019.


Safina, Carl. “What Animals Think and Feel.” Bioneers, 2014, Pp. 10-15.


Shah, Sonia. “Think Exotic Animals Are to Blame for the Coronavirus? Think Again.” The Nation, 18 Feb. 2020.


Solnit, Rebecca. “If You Win the Popular Imagination, You Change the Game: Why We Need New Stories on Climate. The Guardian, 12, Jan 2023.


Quammen, David. “Clone Your Troubles Away.” Harpers, February 2005.


Regan, Tom. “The Case for Animal Rights.” Excerpt from “A Case for Animal Rights.” In M.W. Fox & L.D. Mickley (Eds.), Advances in Animal Welfare Science, 1986/87 (pp. 179-189). Washington, DC: The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy Animal Studies Repository, 1986.


Weise, Mikaela and Elizabeth Dow Goldman. “We Lost a Football Pitch of Primary Rainforest every 6 Seconds in 2019.” World Resources Institute, wri.org, 2 June 2020.

Unit 3.3 Readings: Indigenous Peoples, Knowledge, Land Use and Environmental Justice, uRBAN ECOLOGY


Anderson, Terry L. “The Case for Transferring Federal Lands Back to Native Americans.” The Hill, 3 June 2020.


Baker, Janelle and Paulla Ebron, Rosa Ficek, Karen Ho, Renya Ramirez, Zoe Todd, Anna Tsing, Sarah E. Vaughn. “The Snarled Lines of Justice: Women Ecowarriors Map A New History Of The Anthropocene.” Orion Magazine, orionmagazine.org, 19 Nov. 2020.


Beatley, Tim. “The Natureful City: Rediscovering Nature during a Pandemic.” Biophilic Cities Journal. Vol. 4 No.1, April 2021, Pp. 6-9.


Berardelli, Jeff and Peggy Shepard. “Summer’s Social Unrest Highlights Environmental Racism in the U.S.” CBS News. July 17, 2020. (Video: 10:44 min.)


Bhat, Meera. “Opinion: For People Working to Protect Nature, Cities Can No Longer be an Afterthought.” Ensia, ensia.com, 14 Sept. 2018.


Buford, Talia. “A Brief History of Environmental Justice.” ProPublica, 4 August 2017. (Video: 3:35 min)


Lieber, John.  “Urban Ecology: A Bright Future for Sustainable Cities.” The Revelator. 14 Dec.  2018. 


Norberg-Hodge, Helena. “What Indigenous Wisdom Can Teach Us about Economics: Strengthening Local Economies.” #CuraDa Terra essay series, Kosmos Journal, kosmosjournal.org, Fall 2020.


Isaacson, Walter. “‘Pollution is Segregated’ Says the Father of Environmental Justice.” PBS, Amanpor and Company, Interview with Robert Bullard, 3 March 2020. (Video: 17:43 min.)


Koza, Fiona and Naolo Charles, Jennifer Beeman, Ingrid Waldron, Dayna Scott, Kristian Ferreira and Peter Wood.  “Canada’s Big Chances to Address Environmental Racism.” TheTyee.ca, 26 Nov 2020.


Lantham, Drew J.  “Nine New Revelations for the Black American Bird-Watcher.” Vanity Fair, 27 May 2020.


Lantham, Drew J.  “Nine Rules for the Woke Bird-Watcher.” Orion Magazine, 3 Dec. 2020.


Nicholas, George. “Indigenous Intelligence: Diverse Solutions for the 21st Century, ‘When Scientists ‘Discover’ What Indigenous People Have Known For Centuries.” The Conversation, smithsonianmag.com, 21 February 2018.


Martinez, Dennis. “Indigenous Integrity.” Resurgence & Ecologist, resurgence.org, Issue 250, September/October 2008.


“Indigenous People’s Collective Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources.” The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, un.org, 19 April 2018.


Seamans, Georgia Silvera. “The Risks and Rewards of Being Black in Nature.” Medium. medium.com. August 21, 2020.



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