I’ve been on hiatus from writing book reviews for Pomp and Intertext, and I feel slightly guilty about it. I’ll admit, I’ve focussed my attention elsewhere, but only temporarily.
Recently, I’ve been volunteering to help with outreach and editorial assistance as well as writing for the Bosphorus Review of Books. The journal is so far the only English language literary journal located in Istanbul. My contributions there have included a book review on Achmat Dangor’s novella, Kafka’s Curse (May), and my most recent contribution, a book review on Yashar Kemal’s Memed, My Hawk (July).
Apart from that project, I’ve been focusing my attention on my biodiversity blog entitled Biodivvy.com. Even there, I’ve turned to books as an important inspiration for my writing.
Today, I’m trying to succinctly summarize a book-long history of modern Western ecological thought starting from the 18th century in response to the question:
“Why should we care if just one species goes extinct,
especially if it is no use to us?”
Presumably playing devil’s advocate, a friend posed the question to me. The question is compelling and has many possible responses, which is why I’ve turned to history for answers.
My gut reaction is, of course, “no species is an island” and that any one species’ decline has myriad consequences. However, some species may seem expendable, especially if we don’t notice the related symptoms of decline and imbalance, or if we don’t personally experience any consequences. For me, that response is ignorant, far too common, and indefensible, so I’m writing about it.
The history book is Nature’s Economy by Donald Worster. So far, I’ve introduced the contributions outlined in the book of Gilbert White (holism, as opposed to abstract, mechanistic scientific approaches) and Linnaeus (a hierarchy of interdependent species, “economic” limitations of food, range, and reproduction upon individual species, a benevolent utilitarian whole–in contrast to Hobbes’ vision of a natural system of war and carnage). Next, I’m onto Thoreau, then Darwin, then others . . . after I take a coffee break. Once I’m finished with this, I’ll write a separate post on Vandana Shiva’s book, Staying Alive, to fill in some of the gaps for the post-colonial and feminist approaches to ecology.
I hope my blog will spread important knowledge in the manner of Freire a la Pedagogy of the Oppressed meaning, I want to distribute information horizontally–to put it into free, shareable terms, as many other knowledge-based platforms have already done successfully (i.e. Wikipedia–currently banned in Turkey). Though my blog is not specifically intended for a Turkish audience, I’m writing with fervor due to the stark reality that soon Turkish citizens will not even receive education about evolution, which is frightening!
I promise, I’ll return to Pomp and Intertext to focus on other compelling books and topics, ASAP.