“New Metaphors Of Restoration” Conference

“It’s not necessarily the land that’s broken, but our relationship to it, and what we really need to restore is that relationship.”  — Robin Wall Kimmerer

In rivers, mountain valleys, prairies, and vacant lots all around the world, people are working to restore the land. How shall we understand this work called “restoration”? From what values does it grow? What hopes does it embody? How can we find the words to express the longing for wholeness, the science for putting it all back together again, the necessity of restoration work?  How does the language we use make a difference to the coalitions we build and contribute to the successes we hope for? As we work to restore damaged and altered landscapes and reframe our relationship with the land, what new metaphors can give meaning and direction to our efforts?

In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, The Spring Creek Project for Nature, Ideas, Andrews Forest Long-Term Ecological Research program,and the Written Word in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University organized a series of workshops and public events to inspire a sustained conversation around these questions. The weaving of images, song, and words you hold in your hands is one result of that project.  Here, twenty authors, ecologists, practitioners, and artists explore metaphors that can help us understand ecological restoration and communicate its importance. In vivid, moving language — of health and healing, cogs and wheels, the handicrafts of weaving or mending or knitting, home-making, musical harmony, or justice, reciprocity, and redemption — they brainstorm what it means to bring well-being and balance back into our places and ecological integrity back into our lives.