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The English word heresy is derived from the Greek hairesis, meaning “to choose.” Although it is now defined as a thought that challenges prevailing orthodoxy, its root simply describes the expression of free will. As such, heresy has the potential not only to dismantle traditions and institutions, but also to forge new ones. As environmental practitioners, we are often viewed as heretics by the culture at large. However, we also cultivate our own share of unyielding dogmas, which we defend against all comers. Some involve tenets considered inviolable until they are disproved via the scientific method. Other, more unspoken rules may be cultural, philosophical, or ethical in nature. Insofar as we, as environmental professionals, share the same basic objective of promoting, maintaining, and protecting a healthy planet, how do we remain open to heretical ideas that seem counterintuitive, but may ultimately prove beneficial? To that effect, how can we become better heretics? Volume 20 of Whole Terrain seeks challenging, insightful, and original explorations of the theme of Heresy that encompass the full range and scope of environmental practice.

Editor’s Note by Rowland Russell



Heretics in the Woods
Thomas Urquhart

The Avah Poems
Robin MacArthur

Dave Huth

The Virgin and the Slug
John Tallmadge

The Birds of America
Kate Delany

Making and Un-making Gold: Confessions of an Anti-Alchemist
Hasok Chang

Selections from Industrial Scars
J Henry Fair

My Nature
Paul Hertneky

Radical Centrists at the Matador
Dan Kemp

Kristina Wong
Watch the trailer for Kristina’s 80-minute one-woman show online. Visit Kristina’s website for information on where you can catch a complete, unedited performance of Going Green the Wong Way.

My Heresy
Robert Michael Pyle
Watch a recording of this poem, read by the author and accompanied by an original guitar composition written and performed by Krist Novoselic.

The Swimming Pool at the End of Time
Christopher Cokinos

Story That Won’t End Well
Kathleen Flenniken

Reckoning the Ghost of Cactus Ed
Michael P. Branch


Graphic Design
Vivian Kimball

Sophy Tuttle


Read the original Call for Submissions.