Ecology of Place began the summer of 2020. As the world grappled with serious environmental and social changes worldwide, it became obvious that preserving the earth was the most critical topic of our times, and that students needed to read, discuss and write about it. I was also concerned with rising costs of composition textbooks for students. This free book of readings for composition students, comprised of curated links, is one solution. The readings in the book have been carefully chosen to represent diverse domestic and international voices in the field of ecology, news and opinions about ecological issues, and literary masters writing in a variety of genres about nature, ecology and environmental justice. Many of the readings overlap categories, and because the list is broad, readers may find a few overlapping connections that have not been attributed to a reading.
In 2020, as devastating fires swept through the West Coast and Covid-19 was changing lives in every part of the world, the University of Oregon instituted the UO Environment Initiative to promote questions and responses to the environmental changes that have resulted in “dramatic ecological shifts to all our natural systems” (UO Office of the Provost). Along with its Center for Environmental Futures, the University is primed to act as a change agent in new faculty and student-led actions, discussions and research approaches to address the challenges of 2021 and beyond. This book aligns itself with values of conservation, preservation and increasing awareness about choices that will affect the Earth, and its goal is to engage students in inquiry to find questions and answers related to the places they know and love.