About this issue

Our worries about the environment are not only academic—they affect us personally. Yet there is a strange silence about the emotional impact of the ways in which we talk about the environment, which is so enmeshed with hopelessness: horrifying statistics and gut-wrenching images that threaten to seal the planet’s fate. How can we best influence and enact a shift beyond “doom and gloom”? The letters in this Perspectives volume are responses to this dilemma. Through an exploration of new environmental narratives, this volume aims to stimulate readers to emotionally reflect on how we can embrace hope and resilience in our stories about the environment.

How to cite: Kelsey, Elin (ed.), “Beyond Doom and Gloom: An Exploration through Letters,” RCC Perspectives 2014, no. 6. doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6804.



  • “Dear _______”: Writing Our Way Beyond Doom and Gloom by Elin Kelsey

Between People

  • A Letter to a (Composite) Student in Environmental Studies by Thomas Princen
  • A Letter to James Lovelock by Sherilyn MacGregor
  • A Letter to Subhash Palekar, Natural Farmer by Daniel Münster
  • A Letter to Yvon Chouinard by Seth Peabody
  • A Letter About the Letter to Prison: Russian Environmental Activism, Political Protest, and the Value of Participation by Anna Mazanik

Crossing Space

  • Dear Little Rock: The Ironic Plot in Civil Rights and Environmental Historiography by Nicole Seymour
  • A Memory from the North Sea Coast by Katie Ritson
  • A Letter to the Citizens of Hangzhou by Fei Sheng

Across Generations

  • Dear Optimistic Future Self by Cameron Muir
  • A Letter to My Father by Chioma Daisy Onyige
  • Advice for Greenies in a Complicated World by Jenny Price
  • Dear Alyssum by Elin Kelsey