Discover more from The Understory
Preview of Issue Twenty-Five
Contours of Time
I’m pleased you found The Understory—my biweekly essays on consciousness during the climate emergency. If you’re here for the first time, hello! Enter your email below to get issues to your inbox, free.
The Understory is an ongoing experiment in how to build ongoing climate consciousness. On this journey I am continually thinking about new ways to use this shared space in ways that deepen our individual and collective reflections about the future we hope to create and how we might go about doing so.
Each issue of The Understory is a horizontal and vertical plunge into the waters of a theme. I deliberately write in a sourceful way—both to bring intact voices of writers and their works forward and to encourage readers to deepen their exploration of the theme by spending time with primary sources.
In the space between Reflections on the previous Issue and publishing the next Issue, I thought it could be worthwhile to share a preview of what is to come in the next Issue alongside a piece of media that inspires my thinking. The hope is that my exploration of the topic might synchronize with your own and utilize the time between Issues as a space to explore one of the sources more deeply.
I'd love to hear what you think of this preview idea. Please share a comment and let me know.
Preview of Issue Twenty-Five: Contours of Time
An ongoing thread through many Issues of The Understory is our relationship to and understanding of time:
Issue Twenty-One revealed the emergence of life on Earth through Rachel Carson.
Issue Twenty demarcated time with the changing of the seasons through Robin Wall Kimmerer and Katherine May.
Issue Nineteen traversed landscapes as journeys in ancestral time through the Songlines with Bruce Chatwin & Wade Davis.
Issue Seventeen explored our multiple, temporal selves through the research of Anne E. Wilson and Michael Ross.
Issue Four invited us to walk backwards into the future with Larry Littlebird.
Issue Three contextualized our time-starved days of the attention economy through Jonathan Crary and Donella Meadows.
My fixation on time stems from how it bridges and severs connections between ourselves, other species, Earth, and other planets. I am attempting to reconcile my personal temporal illiteracy stemming from cultural chronophobia. To recast the time narrative within planetary history rather than one in which humans are the central protagonists.
Issue Twenty-Five stems from the joy and wonder the geologist Marcia Bjornerud inspires in me through her book, Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World. In advance of next week's Issue, I invite you to enter the space of geologic time with Bjornerud. To slow your own rhythms enough to acknowledge how the past, present, and future coexist and interact. This time spent with Bjornerud through her talk at the Long Now Foundation not only serves as a beautiful prelude to Issue Twenty-Five but also an immersion into a poly-temporal worldview.
Go forth and make a difference in the week ahead. See you on June 12th with Issue Twenty-Five.
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Why I Write The Understory
We have crossed the climate-change threshold from emerging to urgent, which demands a transformative response. The complexity of climate change demands continued focus and the courage to take bold action. I've found that the persistence of climate consciousness improves resilience to the noise and distractions of daily life in service of a bigger (and most of the time invisible) long-term cause.
The Understory is my way of organizing the natural and human-made curiosities that are presently altering my worldview. Within the words, research, and actions of others lies the inspiration for personal and organizational journeys. I hope that my work here helps to inform not just my persistent consciousness but yours as well.