Ecotone : 2008 : 1 (Spring)
The theme of the 2008 Ecotone is Urban Ecology. The editorial team chose this topic to reflect current trends in environmental studies and ecological thought. Amidst the insecurities surrounding global climate collapse, it has become increasingly inappropriate to assume either a conquer and pillage mentality or to worship 'pristine wilderness'. The dialogue has thus shifted from 'saving the whales' to articulating a cogent and non-destructive human-nature relationship. Including the city in ecological conversations is to invite politics, cultural difference, legal issues, aesthetic interests, and, of course, concrete. Urban Ecology does not have a single clear definition or its own discipline. Rather, it is using an ecological lens to understand human institutions and using a human lens to understand ecology. This issue of The Ecotone is meant to explore the different manifestations of the term: urban ecology. To begin the conversation, we have included a few shortened syllabi from classes taught at the University of Oregon that touch upon the topic at hand. The first is from the English Department and highlights the simultaneous development of self and landscape. The second, from an Environmental Studies graduate student, focuses on politics of difference and the correlations with the local ecology of waste. Finally, a syllabus from a course taught in Planning, Public Policy, and Management foreshadows an article later in the journal about the West Eugene Wetlands and hints at the politics of urban ecology and complexities of land use policies. These syllabi offer a sense of the diversity with which this topic is approached and its importance to the further maturation of ecological ideas.
- Ecotone