Flying Fish

Rooted in the Literary
by Nicole Carlozo -- January 11th, 2012

I can’t help but cheer as the Nicholas School breaks boundaries between the scientific and the literary. Keep your eyes peeled for a new literary environmental magazine!

No matter where I walk in my professional career, I hope to never wander too far from the literary. Although I’ve spent many years conducting hard science and field work, I’ve always nursed a love for writing.  Ironically enough, it wasn’t a science course or internship that ultimately directed me towards policy and management career goals. In a sophomore year literature class I came across a poem by Walt Whitman, and his words resonated with me.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to shore, / Others will watch the run of the flood-tide, / Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east, / Others will see the islands large and small, / Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high, / A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them, / Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Whitman writes about the ebb and flow of the tides, the rising and setting of the sun, and the repetitiveness present in nature – a nature surrounded by great cities, massive ships, and the everyday, busy lives of people. In essence, he speaks to the shared experiences of humanity across generations, through interactions between industry and the environment. This poem touched me on a personal level and led me as I navigated various academic and professional spheres.

In my experience, interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problems are the most fruitful. A literary/science approach may not be novel, but I think its often undervalued. That’s why I was elated when I read about the Nicholas School’s new literary environmental magazine, named “eno” after the Eno River and natives of North Durham.

Although science doesn’t resonate with everyone, I think a good story, moving poem, or captivating piece of art often contributes more to general opinion than any policy, speech, or academic article ever could.

What song, poem, short story, novel, or artwork has inspired your journey towards sustainability or environmental management?

Duke’s new literary environmental magazine, eno, is currently accepting submissions until February 1, 2012. See the eno website for submission guidelines and more information!

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