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Deadline: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes Spring Essay Contest
May 10 @ 6:00 pm
This essay contest invites UW-Madison undergraduate students to explore how this year’s Go Big Read, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan, addresses the joint issues of social and environmental justice for humans and nonhumans living around the lakes.
The top three essays will receive a cash prize and an offer of publication in Illumination journal!
Submit your essays by May 10th to multispeciesUW@gmail.com
Some ideas for possible essay topics are offered below, but writers are free to explore the connections between social and environmental justice in Egan’s book and follow their own interests. Essay length is open-ended. So, that assignment you’re working on? It fits!
- What are the key questions about social and environmental justice for humans and other-than-humans that emerge from The Death and Life of the Great Lakes? Egan describes many of the negative impacts of invasive species on other animal species and on human communities. How can environmental management be tailored towards care for human and non-human communities? How can scientists, managers, community members, and other-than-humans sort through these difficult questions together? How can (and do) our institutions assist or prevent those solutions?
- What does it mean to read this book in the current political climate? How do environmental debates about nativity, invasion, and ecosystem boundaries influence our understandings of invasive species? How might those powerful discourses about invasive species influence decision-making about vulnerable human communities?
- How might some of the animals in this text tell a different story? What version of recent Great Lakes history would the zebra or quagga mussel narrate? The lamprey? The lake trout? Would it look like a tale of triumph against adversity? And what would be the negative or positive consequences of that shift of view?
- The Death and Life of the Great Lakes begins with European settlement of the Great Lakes region. How might a different historical starting point change the perspective of invasive species impacts or the direction of future decision-making about the Great Lakes? How might that shift of view deepen or challenge the story that unfolds or offer new directions for environmental justice and equity? How might it change a sense of who (or what) has expert knowledge about the Great Lakes region?
Contact Laura Perry (Project Assistant, Environmental Justice in a Multispecies World) at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the essay contest. And don’t forget to submit your essays to multispeciesUW@gmail.com by May 10th!