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Download a PDF of the complete In Context #36 newsletter

In Context #36 (Fall, 2016)

Letter to Readers

Feature Article

Meeting Nature as a Presence: Aldo Leopold and the Deeper Nature of Nature
by Craig Holdrege

Aldo Leopold’s life and writings — he authored A Sand County Almanac — served as a foundational inspiration for the modern environmental movement. Leopold had many vivid stories to narrate, such as his meeting with a dying wolf related here, as well as profound and sometimes challenging ruminations about the character of the natural world (we should, he says, learn what it means to “think like a mountain”). Craig tries, in his article, to capture something of the man and his message.

Reviving the Organism
by Stephen L. Talbott

It was Aristotle who first defined animals as “self-moving,” and not many in biology today would disagree. At the same time, the truth of Aristotle’s notion is rarely taken with real seriousness. Nevertheless, it has huge implications for biology, and Steve tries here to lay bare some of those implications. They touch many basic issues, ranging from the old struggle between reductionism and vitalism to the contemporary perplexities of cognitive science having to do with mind and body, perception and consciousness, thought and object of thought.

Notes and Reviews

An Anomalous Fraxinus anomala
by Craig Holdrege

Craig and Henrike happened upon an unexpected plant while hiking recently in the canyon-lands of Utah. The encounter was one of those serendipitous occasions that lend a special glow to the memory of an outdoor excursion.

Soil, Culture, and Human Responsibility
by Bruno Follador

The dust bowl of the 1930s was intriguing to Bruno, the director of our “Living Soils” project. A Brazilian geographer now living for a time in this country, he is accustomed to exploring every manner of landscape, not to mention compost piles. But in this case he found himself “hiking” through a fascinating literature detailing “the most severe environmental catastrophe in the entire history of the white man on this continent.” He passes on to us some of this history, and finds in it certain lessons that could point us toward a more hopeful future.

In Gratitude: Georg Maier (1933-2016)
by Henrike Holdrege

It was natural for Henrike to write our remembrance of physicist Georg Maier, since, while still living in Europe, she (along with Craig) had opportunity to spend time under Georg’s tutelage. The impression made on her by this nuclear physicist and his “simple” methods of phenomenological observation have remained to help shape her own classroom approaches.

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The Back Cover: Our Winter Course

Read this brief notice about The Nature Institute’s 2017 winter course for farmers, apprentices, and educators, or else check out the fuller description on our winter course page.

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