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artful eco workings that cycle through: Close-to-Nature continuous cover forestry, experimental film-making, the eco-humanities field (deep ecology, ecocriticism, ecosophy, ecofeminism), writing & forest policy development; by cathy fitzgerald, visual culture, ncad, ireland

Last week I presented a talk on ‘deep sustainability and the art and politics of forests’ for the new trans-disciplinary series of seminars on ‘Sustainability and Modern Society, organised by scientist Dr Edmond Byrne of University College Cork (UCC). I was warmly welcomed by all who braved a very wet night in Cork – there was a lot of flooding after.

Giant redwoods at UCC

I was presenting with Professor of Philosophy, Dr Graham Parkes, in a session on ‘art & philosophy’ in regards to sustainability.

While I wouldn’t have thought previously of my work in this context, it was nevertheless very thought provoking. Graham gave an excellent intr

oduction to sustainability from an Asian perspective, showing how Asian philosophers have influenced  sustainable actions and personal practices in everyday life in Asia. Graham mentioned quite rightly that sustainability will have to involve both China and India and observations and questions from a wide range of faculties and the audience afterwards were very interesting too. It seems that UCC is doing important work in both acknowledging the gravity of the biospheric crisis and bringing the science and humanity areas together to think about what sustainability really entails for modern society.  This seminar series looks likely to be developed as an innovative cross campus module and perhaps developed further for a conference. Presentations so far can be seen here

To some of my followers of my work, you may recognise some of my slides and ideas from previous talks. However I considerably expanded this talk as I had earlier in the year used the term ‘deep sustainability’ without clearly defining the term. To tell the truth I had used this term without a lot of thought but a strong feeling that most  ideas and practices of current sustainability fall far short of how humanity must radically change its relationship to its environment if it is to survive well.

My thanks to Edmond, Graham and Ger for helping me with my presentation and for giving me the opportunity to show my work and films there. Thanks to Graham too for saying he thought my work was quite an example of ‘applied philosophy’  and to those who have given me feedback, it has been very welcome.

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  1. Jan #
    October 22, 2012

    Well done Cathy. It’s great to see your growing confidence, knowing that your message is one that others are beginning to listen to and want to hear more of. Evidence for the need to implement sustainability practice in all areas of our lives presents itself on a daily basis. Keep getting out your valuable work.

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