Published in 2011
Boundaries represent limits that confine, constrain, or exclude, yet they also provide identity, protection, and safety. Some boundaries are solidly grounded in geographical fact, others are superimposed by political action, and still others are conveyed by culture and tradition. Across political, social, ideological, ecological and epistemological realms, many conventional distinctions and definitions are fading, while others are becoming more rigid.
Whole Terrain seeks personal essays, journalistic pieces, fiction, creative non-fiction, artwork, and poetry that explore real and perceptual boundaries. Some questions to consider include:
- As climate change intensifies, species expand, contract, and otherwise alter their ranges. While the boundary between different habitats is often a place of unusual richness and diversity, edge effects may favor invasive species and put natives at a disadvantage. Are such changes detrimental, or are we witnessing evolution taking its normal course?
- As suburbs encroach on farmland, wetland, and forest, natural communities are altered or destroyed. What are the ramifications of these moving ecological boundaries? Should we accept these changes, resist them, or seek the best new normal we can obtain?
- In a world where native and non-native species genetically commingle and scientists create cold-tolerant tomatoes containing genetic material from Arctic flounders, at what point does one species become another? Should we be concerned by these changing species boundaries?
- National, state, and local political borders are often drawn without regard for existing geological margins or the extents of natural communities. What happens when these boundaries conflict, and how should we respond?
- What of our own internal boundaries? When do intellectual, artistic, moral, and religious limits give us strength and stability, and when do they restrict our personal growth and constrain our ability to effect change in the world? When should we work for compromise in our social and political spheres, and when should we hold firm and fast to our core beliefs?