Last Call at Loon Lake: Counter-Narratives in Human Ecology


  • Veronica Gaylie UBC


In cultures of excess, the challenge is to see. In a time of climate change, how will humans find the questions, the reflections, the poems, or the prayers that will bring ecological justice and peace? This writing begins a response to the call made on the last day of our gathering at Loon Lake for a "commonist manifesto" around environmental education. In responding to this, and to the journal's theme of "Dark Matters," the goal of this writing is to shine a plain light on the counter-narratives, the smaller, ground-level stories, that informally shape narratives around human ecology. Here, the tools of storytelling, narrative, counter narrative, and poetry pose an inquiry into our earth-centred educational encounters. Such stories are rooted in gardens, forests, neighbourhoods, and classrooms in East Vancouver and in the Okanagan of British Columbia. The stories include questions for discussion that invite the development of "commonist" guiding principles among readers and researchers. This writing seeks common ground among teaching, learning, nature, humans, and all entities too often artificially divided. This paper is also a call to observation where the imagination becomes the starting point for healing and awareness as we enter an era of climate change, and a time of new human evolution. In a world of excess, in words and deeds, this writing is to a call to less, with story, with poetry—with less.