Healthy Systems: Literature, Nature, and Integrity

  • Rachel A Wilkinson Loyola Blakefield High School; University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Keywords: Environment, Consumption, Sustainability, Environmental Education, Ecological Education, Ecology, Literature, English Education


Our interactions with everyday objects inform our understanding of the world; yet today much of what we use is tossed immediately.  Items made in haste, used in haste, and made into waste belie the values that, for centuries, humans have taken for granted.  What do our consumption practices teach our students today?  I suggest that apathy, loss of agency, lack of integrity and disconnection is often a result of our incomplete understanding of what lasts and where things go when we’re finished with them.  Fortunately, the literature classroom, which can introduce students to texts such as “God’s Grandeur,” Grapes of Wrath, and Frankenstein, among others, offers educators an opportunity to challenge our throwaway society and reverence what lasts.