“Years Ago the Crabs Was so Plenty”: Anthropology's Role in Ecological Grieving and Conservation Work


Scholars are increasingly attending to human emotions in the context of changing environments. Here, we draw on over a decade of collaborative work in the community of Utila, a small Honduran island in the Caribbean, to explore evidence of environmental grief through consideration of three broad themes: (1) population and motorized transportation growth as linked to social and environmental decline; (2) mourning over the loss of the ecological bounty of the past; and (3) anticipatory grieving of further, and accelerated, ecological devastation. The growing body of work on ecological grief and solastalgia, as well as the emergent ecologies literature, together help us to wrestle with the destructive forces of the Anthropocene. We consider the importance of documenting and sharing the experiences of community members vis-à-vis their changing environment as a mechanism for establishing communities of mourning, increasing environmental stewardship, and imagining and enacting alternatives to dominant models.

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Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment