“Trust” Ideas

by Cherice Bock
Editor, Whole Terrain

Have you seen our current call for submissions on trust and environmental practice? Perhaps you saw it and wondered what you might submit on the topic. The call is open until February 15, 2015, so you have about three more months to mull this over and get something to us. We have already received pieces we are excited about, and we look forward to receiving your submissions.

Our Whole Terrain editorial board brainstormed topics we would like to see in the volume. If you or someone you know has expertise in one of these areas, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your submissions, or with any questions you might have.

  • Visual art: We intentionally create an aesthetically engaging journal, so please send us your artwork on this theme. If you are also skilled at writing, you can send a short explanation of how the piece fits our theme.
  • Fiction: We welcome good fictional works on the theme of trust and environmental practice.
  • Mushrooms: Are you a mushroom hunter? What or who do you trust as you pick and eat wild mushrooms? Is it difficult to trust that the ones you’ve found are not poisonous?
  • Outdoor Education: What is it like to bring together a group of students and build trust with them in an outdoor educational environment? How do you get them to trust one another, to trust you?
  • Instincts & Intuition: When active in the natural world or when studying it, when do you trust your instincts or intuition? When is it more important to trust the data you have gathered? What experiences have you had that require discernment between trusting your intuition and trusting “hard” scientific data? Which is more trustworthy to you?
  • Animals: Do organisms other than human beings experience trust? If you are an animal trainer, how do you gain the trust of your animals? What about animals that send dishonest signals? How do we know which animal communication to trust, and what is our responsibility to trustworthiness between ourselves and animals?
  • Land Trusts: Since this category has “trust” in the name, we are receiving submissions about this topic, but there are many angles to explore, and layers of trust within the concept of land trust. There is the social justice angle: who gets to decide which lands to set aside for a land trust? What happens when, many years down the road, that land is needed for something else due? What cultural values are at play regarding land trusts, and whose values are most important? How do we develop trust between stakeholder communities in the development of land trusts, for the benefit of all?
  • GMOs & Other Food Issues: Who do we trust to tell us what is safe and healthy to eat? As environmental practitioners, how much is it helpful for us to participate in the regulatory and legal system that creates laws for the types of foods and drugs considered healthy, and to what extent do we serve as critics of this system? What is your role in this process, and who do you trust?
  • Toxins: From the production process to landfills, who do we trust about the safe production, storing, and throwing away of toxic chemicals and waste byproducts? As environmental practitioners, what is our role in ensuring communities near factories and toxic waste facilities are treated fairly? How do we ensure that communities with low socio-economic status or communities of color are not disproportionately victimized by poor toxic waste practices? Who do we trust regarding safe distances from or levels of toxins in our immediate environment?
  • Climate Change: Although we probably don’t have to convince you about climate change, there is a large section of the American population that does not trust the science on climate change. How do we address this problem, which in actuality seems to be one of trust? How do we speak and act in ways that garner trust in belief systems different from our own?
  • Trust as Blindness: Perhaps we trust in situations in which we should not trust. Do we trust too much in the ability of the Earth to restore itself (especially to a situation in which humanity can still survive and thrive)? At what point does trust become willful blindness?
  • Trusting the Future: For those deciding whether to have children and bring them into a future that is unknown and may not be particularly pleasant, where do you experience the need for trust as you contemplate this decision? Another angle would be the trust involved in replanting a forest or passing down farm land to a new generation of eager farmers who will care for the land.
  • Building Trust through Environmental & Community Activism: Are you part of a project that brings together disparate groups of people in your community by doing environmentally friendly activism? Perhaps you bring people of different races together to create a community garden, or maybe you are working overseas to help provide alternative employment that doesn’t require the destruction of rain forests. In what ways have you seen trust built in those settings?
  • Wilderness & Survival: If you are a wilderness or survival instructor, in what ways do you experience trust with your wilderness area and the other organisms who inhabit it?

These are some of our ideas; what are yours? We look forward to hearing the creative ways you connect with this theme of trust and environmental practice.

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