The forgotten environmental crisis: how 20th century settler writers foreshadowed the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene is a proposed geological epoch that powerfully expresses the planetary scale of the environmental changes wrought by human activity. Yet almost a century ago, New Zealand and Australia were at the forefront of an environmental crisis that was also profoundly geological in nature: erosion. And it, too, left its mark on culture.
Reading classic novels in an era of climate change
What might we now find if we look again at the literature of the 19th century? Although Victorian writers lacked our understanding of a warming planet, we can learn from their deep awareness of the rapid and far-reaching ways that their society was changing. In their hands, the novel became a powerful tool for thinking about the interconnections between individuals, society, economics, and the natural world.
Bottom of the lake: How the setting for a classic book of New Zealand literature became a toxic swamp
Pākehā today would like to think that we are more enlightened than our colonial ancestors, that we have moved on from the attitudes that marred the past, that our environmental crimes—like our cultural crimes—are behind us, that we know who we are. Yet as we contemplate the wretched state of our waterways, Tutira suggests we are not that far removed from our colonial past after all.