05 April 2011

Queering ecology

Eastern bluebird, car. Photo by Automania.
Via Kate Clancy at Context and Variation: Alex Johnson takes a look at the way we think and write about the natural world, and finds it wanting.

Our culture sets Nature as the highest bar for decorum, while simultaneously giving Nature our lowest standard of respect. Nature is at our disposal, not only for our physical consumption, but also for our social construction. We call geese beautiful and elegant and faithful until they are shitting all over the lawn and terrorizing young children. Then we poison their eggs. Or shoot them.

Having popped the naturalistic fallacy with a few pokes, Johnson proposes queering ecology—a deliberate reference to the term's usage in human sexuality—to better acknowledge the complications of the natural world and humans' relationships to it. That summary doesn't do the work justice, though—go read the whole thing.

(Kate linked to this more-or-less alongside my first volley in the old adaptive homophobia kerfuffle, but Johnson's essay is another order of thought altogether. Also, how cool is it that I can just go to Flickr and find an illustration for Johnson's point with a simple keyword search? Pretty cool, I think.)

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