Storying Climate Change in the Salish Sea

Catriona Sandilands

Start Time & Date

Start Time & Date

Stories are critical to understanding and responding to climate change. On the one hand, our collective imaginations are shaped by dominant, inherited narrative conventions; as public climate stories rely almost entirely on large-scale, apocalyptic tropes, many people are uncertain how to respond to them in their everyday lives. On the other hand, stories can help us make shared emotional and relational sense of the complexity of large-scale ecological and social transformations. Works of climate-related fiction, poetry, and memoir thus present a powerful cultural resource with which to encounter, collectively, the many social and ecological issues that climate change presents. They connect climate change to the personal and social entanglements of our intimate experiences; they also connect us to the larger relations of injustice and inequality that powerfully shape our conditions of experience and response. 

The “Storying Climate Change” project focuses on developing a repertoire of “small” climate stories: works of fiction, poetry, and memoir that begin in intimate experiences of place, relationship, and history, and that invite others to share their own stories, with the aim of developing a narrative climate change repertoire that is deeply attentive to the particularities of place, relationship, and social justice.  This talk focuses on storying climate change in the Salish Sea, and includes perspectives from the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts as presented in the edited anthology, Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times (Caitlin Press, 2019). Including the project convenor and editor, Catriona Sandilands, and contributors Lauren Magner and Andrew Simon, the talk will include an overview of the project, readings from the interdisciplinary anthology, and conversation about climate change stories in the Salish Sea, the region in which the project was born.


Cate will also be presenting a talk on Planting Queer Intimacies on Thursday, March 5th at noon in the VU Multicultural Center (VU MCC 725)

For Winter Quarter 2020 Huxley College is collaborating with the Salish Sea Institute for the Huxley Speaker Series, with a focus on the Salish Sea.

This talk is co-sponsored by the WWU Center for Canadian-American Studies.

Photo of Catriona Sandilands Lauren Magner and Andrew Simon

Catriona (Cate) Sandilands is a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University (Toronto). She is a Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, a former Canada Research Chair, and Past President of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC) and the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). She has published widely in the Environmental Humanities, including three books and over 80 scholarly and creative works: see

Cate will be joined by two of the contributors to Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times :

Lauren Magner is an artist, care worker, and community organizer currently focused on issues of inclusive housing on Galiano Island, BC as Treasurer of the Galiano Housing Society. The island’s diverse and resilient forest, ocean, animal, and human communities inspire her work, art, and life. Her botanical art can be found at

Andrew Simon is an ecologist and naturalist dedicated to the Salish Sea bioregion, whose practice spans the socioecological continuum with a focus on the role of citizen science in biodiversity research. Currently, his research explores the implications of climate change for plant and pollinator communities of the Southern Gulf Islands. He is the curator of the Biodiversity Galiano Project, and beyond (

More Information

The Huxley Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

Location & Time

Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30pm On-campus and ONLINE.


Due to the pandemic, the in-person presentations are not open to the public. However, the talks will be live-streamed ONLINE for the off-campus audience.


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