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Roundtable Discussion: Writing & the Environment

May 18, 2015

In 2012, Bellevue Hospital shuttered its doors for the first time in its history, as water from the East River surged with the force of Superstorm Sandy into elevator beds and generators. Two years later, we published the themed issue "Our Fragile Environment," which explored illness, health, and healing in this context. Our lives – and the life of this magazine – are inextricably linked to environmental issues.

Three writers from the "Our Fragile Environment" issue, Ben Goldfarb, Jeanine Pfeiffer, and Martha Serpas (pictured, left), were generous enough to share their time and knowledge in a roundtable interview. They bring perspectives from points as distant as Bristol Bay, Alaska to the Gulf Coast. As Jeanine wrote, “I believe the same mechanisms that drive curiosity, compassion, and forgiveness, also drive us to educate ourselves, to care for beings beyond ourselves, and to take responsibility for the upstream and downstream impacts of our life choices.”

For these writers, literature is not something that ought to shy away from difficult topics, but a way to engage with the very things that threaten us. By revealing our differences – who we are and what we believe – we can witness there, in those cracks and fissures, a map that shows us where we are, and where we can go.

Read the Roundtable