Sustaining Ecologies

Summer 2018
McKenna Rose
ENGL 1101

The Path Foundation, Trees Atlanta, Friends of the Beltline, ATL Urban Farms, Aware Wildlife Center: these are just some local organizations working to sustain ecologies in Atlanta. Over the course of this class, we will visit and host guests from urban farms and farmer’s markets, as well as wildlife centers, green spaces, and the Beltline, so that students can identify and describe the relationship between the ecological and the social in their communities. Students will engage community partners and course texts through some of the following questions: how do individual human actions reverberate through ecosystems in which humans are enmeshed? How can humans avoid destroying ecology as we reach out to sustain it? How can we sustain the ecologies that sustain us without abandoning equity amid human communities? We will respond to the course questions through a WOVEN approach to communication that considers the interrelationship between Written, Oral, Visual, and Nonverbal modes, so that students may practice analyzing the rhetorical strategies for articulating their own ideas about sustainability, and the technology through which those ideas are transmitted. To investigate the ways in which humans sustain ecology, we will analyze selections from The Omnivore’s Dilemma, A Continuous Harmony, Belonging: A Culture of Place, and the podcast S-Town, as well as readings on the history and the trouble with sustainability by such authors as Jeremy Caradonna, Jeffrey Cohen, and Rebekah Sheldon. Over the course of the class, students will compose an introductory video; illustrate the concept of sustainability in a poster; compose a digital almanac of the green and urban spaces on Atlanta’s Beltline; produce a collaborative video on food ecologies; and curate all major assignments into a showcase portfolio. In the same way that our community partners sustain ecologies in Atlanta, in this class students will develop practices consistent with their roles as responsible members of local, national, and international communities.

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