Call for Papers

Environment | Spring 2017
Submissions due: March 1

The most recent papal encyclical, Laudato Si, recalls a stanza from Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun in which the monk praises the Lord “through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs” (§1). The encyclical goes on to outline the ways “this sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her” (§2). If we are to sing with Francis, who as Lynn White observed is the patron saint of Christian environmentalism, we must recognize as well that Western Christianity’s relationship to Mother Earth over the past three centuries has been marked by abuse, disregard, exploitation, consumption, and destruction. Even now, many who claim the name of Christ continue to argue that nature is merely a resource for human use, a crude object given for our domination. The roots of this view reach back to the first chapters of Genesis, but they only came to be understood so assertively in the era of the Protestant Reformation–once the soul became the unique, exclusive site of the sacred, the land, its flora and fauna, and its creatures came to hold little meaning to the faithful beyond the forward march of the emerging capitalist economy and the fulfillment of human desires. But it seems then that we may have a death wish. Four hundred years later, it seems that this kind of thinking has led us to the edge of planetary ecological disaster.

In the next issue of The Other Journal, we attempt to step back from that edge. We seek essays, creative writing, reviews, and art that help us view the environment more holistically, more sacredly, and as deeply intertwined with our own future. We hope to visit places like Standing Rock Camp in North Dakota or the melting polar ice caps and to envision a kingdom of God that encompasses each fruit, flower, and herb. We expect writers to approach this challenge from a varied set of discourses and disciplines that touch on such issues as climate change, eco-theology, anthropocentrism, and the signs of growing environmental consciousness.

More information on our submission guidelines, including our email address, can be found on our Submissions page.