Movies, Personal, Publication
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The Ecological Imagination of Hayao Miyazaki, Orion Magazine

It’s not every day that you get to work on a dream project with a dream publication. I’m excited to share that I have a new piece up online at Orion magazine, exploring the ecological imagination of Hayao Miyazaki.

Where the word for forest is silence
A tree and troll to watch over me
Carrying on through a wayward world
Reading the wind, mending the earth

An introduction to the work of the venerated Japanese animator and filmmaker (who happened to turn 80 this year), the piece is also a retrospective on four movies dearest to my heart: Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Miyazaki tales were major sources of inspiration for me starting Ekostories—you can read everything I’ve written over the years in the archives HERE.

And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out the rest of Orion’s latest issue (and hopefully subscribe!) It’s seriously fantastic both in terms of production value and in-depth content that explores the connections between people and nature. Here’s a snippet:

IN THIS ISSUE, we peer into the ways in which humans depict nature. In “Lifelike,” Ella Frances Sanders shares illustrated musings on the essence of landscape. Emily Raboteau takes us on a bird walk through Harlem in “Spark Bird.”…In “Contemplative Topography” by Silvia Cirelli, the character of landscape is revealed through art. Cecil Howell provides a “Forest Cartography” that illustrates the decadence of life and trash in the Alaskan Tongass. Anya Groner writes about what a journey to a desert shrine reveals about language and desire. In “The Nature of Plastics,” Meera Subramanian explores the edge of the artificial. In “Wish you Were Here,” Sharlene Leurig and Jessica Gath sends postcards to the future. Benjamin Swett uncovers the divine architecture of the Shakers in “What I Wanted to Tell You About the Wind.” Nikki McClure illustrates an excerpt from a Rachel Carson television documentary, and more.”

Orion’s Spring 2021 Introduction

Read the Issue Here

Featured Image with permission from Studio Ghibli


  1. Peter says

    Great. The topic of nature in Ghibli films (Takahata and Miyazaki, both) is so vast and inspiring. One could go on and on and on.

  2. Really great. This is a topic close to my heart as well. Nature and the interactions of nature and society are vast narratives in many Ghibli works by both Takahata and Miyazaki. One could go on and on and on. Those reflections continue to influence my own deeply personal motivations in life. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, one of my favourite Ghibli films, Only Yesterday, is Takahata’s. I still need to see Princess Kaguya. Thanks for reading!

      • Oh! Wonderful! I’d be so excited to hear your perspective on Takahata’s Tale of Princess Kaguya. I consider it a masterwork of art at the highest echelon. I hope you enjoy its discovery, too. An unviewed Ghibli film is an ephemeral gift to relish, especially as this one is Takahata’s final piece. Thanks again, and congratulations on the publication in Orion. Keep up the good work 🙂

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