Month: January 2014

Greg Mort Stewardship Painting

The Art of Stewardship, by Greg Mort

I first came across Greg Mort’s artwork while writing a piece on Carl Sagan’s The Pale Blue Dot. The image immediately drew my eye: Two apples situated against a black backdrop, one golden and freshly unwrapped; the other painted as the Earth. Attached to the stem of the pole, a blank price tag. Stewardship, the piece was called. The image and title struck me.  It forced me to contemplate, not for the first or last time, what stewardship truly entails, what value I place on the well-being of the world that sustains all. It both broadened and deepened my innate desire to care, as art can sometimes do. With his work prominently displayed in museums, art galleries, and even the White House, I am honoured to have permission from Mort’s studio curator to feature and explore a few of my favourite works. As with other art-oriented Ekostories, I hope to let the visuals speak for themselves and allow you, the reader, the space and time to discover the stories they have to tell. So enjoy. …

On the Evolution of Nature Writing

When it’s due to interest or temperament, I’ve always been drawn to nature writing. For many, its mere mention conjures up certain associations – bucolic landscapes, nostalgic meditations, longings for golden ages, of days lost. But nature writing has never been a static genre, and increasingly it transcends the standard pastoral narratives. Last month, I had the pleasure to listen in on a live chat with critically acclaimed authors Rebecca Solnit and Robert MacFarlane as they delved into the evolving form of nature writing. In this entry, I’d like to summarize a few points I connected strongly with. You can listen to the entire talk below: Robert Macfarlane and Rebecca Solnit on Nature Writing If you want to follow along the timestamps I have provided in the post, you can also access the discussion directly on Orion Magazine’s website.

2013 header image

On Love, Change, and Possibility

I don’t usually like New Year’s resolutions, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by the list over at Philosophy for Change (a blog everyone should check out). Number two on that list most resonated with me, because it speaks of a theme I’ve found myself returning to again and again on Ekostories. It’s a subject I’ve been grappling with over the past year: The power of love to affect change.

Eric Murtaugh Tidepool Steinbeck Sea of Cortez

From the Tidepool to the Stars: Steinbeck’s Log from the Sea of Cortez

What was the story that began this journey? That question has been on my mind since I reflected back on the past year of Ekostories. What tale triggered this exploration of nature, culture, and self? After some thought, one story came to the forefront, a surprise contender. It is a work that straddles the boundary between fiction and non-fiction. It is a story that melds science with literature, philosophy with social commentary, art with ethics and adventure. It is John Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez. That’s not entirely true. While the cover bears the name of the author of Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath, The Log from the Sea of Cortez was a collaboration between the Nobel prize-winning novelist and marine biologist Ed Ricketts. The book chronicles the two friends’ six-week, four thousand mile marine specimen collecting expedition in the Gulf of California, detailing the adventures, discoveries, and camaraderie as they travel from site to site, passing towns, reefs, isles, and sea. Like the voyage itself, the travelogue allows time …

Bratislava New Years Fireworks

Year in Review: Ekostories 2013

2013 was an eventful year, bringing about a full gamut of experiences. Writing has emerged as an integral part of my life, and being able to share some of my work on Ekostories has been immensely rewarding on both an intellectual and emotional level. On the eve of this new year, I want to take this time to express my gratitude to everyone for reading and to highlight some major 2013 milestones: There are now 63 essays and 115 posts on Ekostories. The website has doubled in traffic over the past year, and according to WordPress stat monkeys, has garnered readers from 153 countries. Never thought I could keep going at this pace when I started, but here we are. Exploring environmental issues through Chinese aesthetics, Past Meets Present: Shan Shui Environmental Art was selected by the WordPress editorial team in April for Freshly Pressed honours. It was later featured on WordPress.com’s Weekend Feature on longform content. I was and still am deeply honoured by the choice. Exploring the ideas and themes within The Planetary …