Volume 10: Surplus and Scarcity

Published in 2002

What does it mean to live a life of surplus amidst a world of scarcity, or a life of scarcity amidst the unfathomable worlds of surplus?

At the heart of most environmental controversies, the relationship between scarcity and surplus will undoubtedly emerge. How much is enough, and how are so many rendered wanting in a world with such bounty? While scarcities of cropland, forests, water, and other renewable resources are felt around the world, concentrations of surplus often rest in the hands of a few. What should be done—utilize or conserve, spend or save, amass or share? Such controversies are at once ecological, political, and psychological.

Whole Terrain invites works which explore surplus and scarcity as related to such issues as land availability, distribution of resources and wealth, food production, water quality and quantity, consumption, culture, and standards of living. What can we learn from lifestyles of philanthropy or voluntary simplicity? What do the waves and cycles of species abundance signify, or the signs of decline? How does it feel to continually have to ask others to share their surplus—for your cause, or survival? And how does one respond—personally or professionally—to the vivid contrasts in surplus and scarcity seen and experienced everywhere?

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