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Vassar College

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and the Environment


The following paper contains a stand-alone piece of creative travel writing. ‘Cloud Juice’ is based on my interpretation of the experiences of the Fall 2006 Australia: Sustainability and the Environment semester. As it is my own personal interpretation it should not be placed in the category of non-fiction. Instead I have tried to write a story that presents the tone of my experience as honestly as possible, rather than simply telling the unbiased facts of the semester. My reason for writing this is to experiment with alternative methods of communicating the growth of an ecological ethic. By focusing on the events that have taken me in this direction rather than the resultant theoretical principles I hope to do two things. The first is to explain to the reader the evolution of my own position, as it relates to sense of place, sustainability, and a personal motivation toward a new paradigm. By doing this I hope to contribute, in some small way, to the reader’s own experience of these ideas.

‘Cloud Juice’ is a synthesis and expansion of my academic notes, personal anecdotes, poetry, correspondence with a variety of people in Australia and at home, dialogues with group members, lecturers, local inhabitants, and landscapes. I’ve spent a month in Tasmania writing daily, attempting to weave these many threads into a cohesive whole that holds the essential flavor of the last three months. In concluding ‘Cloud Juice’ I realized that my efforts were, above all, about articulating a sense of ‘homeness’ while abroad. For the deep strength of the environmental movement must be drawn from a sense of where and what our homes are, physically, relationally, and spiritually. It is the desire and will to defend our homes from further degradation that will be the keystone of the movement for a more ecologically stable and healthy world.


Natural Resources and Conservation | Rhetoric and Composition


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