The word ecology is rooted in the Greek word for house: oikos. Ecology is the study of our house, our dwelling place. The arts tell us about ourselves and our
relationship to our living habitation: nature. The inner life of a community finds visible form in literature, theatre, music and the visual arts. As an expression of cultural imagination, the arts are not merely a print-out of a community’s relationship to nature but its potential for renewal and transformation. My premise is that the arts, and creative effort itself, share a common capacity for transformation which depends on an equally important
capacity for listening and attending to our surroundings. As a professor of English, I have initiated a number of inter-disciplinary projects that relate these capacities to matters of ecological health in the community. The arts
require the discipline of attention and observation that open the way to transformation and renewal. I engage tales from Irish and Greek mythology together with James Lovelock’s Gaia theory and the deep ecology of Arne Naess
to guide my search for a meeting place between the arts and matters of ecological consequence.
|Keywords:||Arts, Ecology, Attention, Transformation|
Associate Professor of English, Department of Languages and Letters, Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
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