Planting the Eco-Humanities? Climate Change, Poetic Narratives, and Botanical Lives

John Charles Ryan

Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. ORCID Email:

  Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.08

Received May 15, 2016; Revised July 10, 2016; Accepted July 10, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


This essay offers an initial attempt to think through how some of the ideas emerging from the new field of “critical plant studies” (CPS) can elucidate, deepen, or challenge aspects of climate change discourse. Across the globe, the deleterious impacts of climate change on plants are increasingly documented by scientists. However, despite their fundamental role in the carbon cycle of the biosphere and the disruption of botanical communities in the wake of climate disturbance, plants occupy a marginal position in the narratives told about climate change. This assertion will be explored, substantiated, and expanded more concretely in reference to the “Keep It In the Ground Campaign” curated by the newspaper The Guardian in 2015. The stories circulating in the public imagination about climate change and that provoke debate, action, and reflection can be enhanced through the invigorated understandings of the vegetal world offered by the emerging field of critical plant studies (CPS).

Keywords: Critical Plant Studies, Ecopoetics, Climate Change Narratives, Activism.

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