Volume 13: Risk

Published in 2005

Environmental practice is a risky business. Every day, we make personal and professional decisions predicated on assessments of risk to the planet and to ourselves. We risk our resources, our reputations, our own welfare, and the welfare of other species in our struggle to make urgent and controversial choices to protect the environment.

Volume 13 of Whole Terrain invites reflections on risk that go beyond our everyday experiences and explore the nature of risk itself. We seek contributions that examine and challenge our assumptions about risk: What is the relationship between risk and opportunity? Risk and caution? Risk and danger? Is risk a necessary ingredient in all of our endeavors? Can we mitigate the risks that we take? What are the consequences of action or inaction when we address problems we do not fully comprehend? Do other species also perceive risk? How does risk influence competition, survival, and evolutionary change? What, if anything, can we learn from other organisms about risk, peril, and possibility? What can we learn from each other?

Cultural perspectives often shape our own views of risk and the role that it plays in our lives, our work, and in the natural world. Is there a danger in using only one of these cultural paradigms to address ecological issues on a global scale? How can teachers, policymakers, scientists, writers, artists, and activists minimize this risk? Of the myriad risks we face as environmental professionals, what are some of the most daunting? As educators speaking out about unpopular and contentious issues, how do we weigh the benefits of advocacy against risks to our own careers? As conservationists, how do we balance the competing social, political, and ecological risks of problems as contentious as fisheries management, prescribed burning, or fossil fuel exploration?

Whole Terrain welcomes submissions that probe into our understanding of risk and offer innovative ways to evaluate its role in our lives and our work. We seek provocative and original compositions that question our usual perceptions of risk.

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