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ECOCRITICISM: Literary and Environment

Literature and environment studies, commonly called Ecocriticism or Enviromental


Criticism introduced in published anthology The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmark in Literary
Ecology (1996) edited by Cheryll Glottfelty and Harold Fromm, which is a collection of essays
on the ecological approach to literary studies. In the book, Cheryll (1996: XVIII) defined
ecocriticism as the studies of the relationship between literature and the physical environment
using an earth centered approach to literary studies.

Ecocriticism begins from the conviction that the arts of imagination and the study virtues the
power of word, story, reinforced image, and direct environmental concern can contribute to
significantly to the understanding of environmental problems: the multiple forms of
ecodegradation that occurred on Earth. The studies take the interconnection between nature and
the culture, especially the cultural artifacts of language and literature. It also concurs with other
branches of environmental humanities; ethics, religious studies, history, anthropology,
humanistic and geography in holding that environmental phenomena and concerns must be
comprehended and addressed qualitatively as well as quantitatively.

Many Ecocritics and theorist questioned how they can contribute themselves to environmental
restoration. The main answer for this question lies in recognizing that the current environmental
problems are largely of our making. As historian Donald Worster explain,

We are facing a global crisis today, not because of how ecosystem function
but rather because our ethical system function. Getting through the crisis
requires understanding our impact on nature as precisely as possible, but even
more, it requires understanding those ethical system and using that
understanding to reform them. Historians, along with literary scholars,
anthropologist, and philosophers, cannot do reforming, but they can help with
the understanding
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Answering the call to understanding, scholars throughout humanities are finding ways to add an
environmental dimension and Worster with the other historians are writing environmental
histories, studying the reciprocal relationship between humans and land, considering nature is not
just as the stage upon which the human story is acted out. They traced the connections among
environmental conditions and cultural ideas through time.