Books and Bridges: George Handley, "A Sense of Place: Cause or Solution to Our Environmental Crisis?"

In this presentation and reading, George Handley will explore the significance of Wallace Stegner and Wendell Berry's thinking about the importance of a sense of place in American culture and examine their diagnosis of our environmental problems. Assuming that Stegner and Berry are correct that Americans have lost a sense of place because of their increased mobility and have lost a sense of history, why is it that communities in Utah which often have a pronounced sense of place and history unusual in American culture do not share the kind of concerns about the environment that they had predicted would result from a stronger sense of belonging in the land? Part presentation and part reading from his memoir, Home Waters, and from his new novel, American Fork, Handley will suggest that cultures that form an identity that ignores the interdependencies of ecology and the inevitable lacunae in historical memory are more likely to be concerned with protection of territory and identity than they are with protection of the earth. Handley will argue, then, for a more ecological and transcultural sense of belonging that can more successfully address the problems of global environmental degradation.

This event is organized by Books & Bridges — a community institute of ideas and conversation. Our mission is to facilitate discussion on the best of human thought. We explore the wisdoms of the world and apply them to modern life. We have no political, religious or ideological affiliation. In a society divided by uncivil discourse, the beauty of the humanities—novels, history, philosophy, poetry, ethics and epics—lifts us to our better angels. In our busy world we need space for friends and fellow learners to do a little more heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind.


Event date: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
607 Trolley Square
Salt Lake City, UT 84102