Going on a research stay entailed long days in the archives, poring over medieval accounts written in hard-to-decipher script until my eyes were dry and my fingertips dirty with centuries-old dust.
In this short piece, I share my work through the example of Bertholletia excelsa, commonly known as the Brazil nut.
We inhabit an epoch of planetary unraveling marked by industrial capitalist processes that are undermining conditions of life at a global scale.
The tactile power of the moist black mountain soil that has nourished the coffee estate for nearly a hundred and fifty years ran deep through the cold veins of my bare feet resting on the earth.
Glaciers are marked by the contours of time. Flow lines and lateral moraines (ridges of accumulated dirt and rocks) demarcate the movement of ice with traces of debris incised into the glacier’s icy surface. Tributaries, rivers, and floods unfurl the flow of the ice into meltwater. As many of the world’s glaciers continue to thaw and no longer reproduce, they have been classed as an endangered species.
Some fantastic literature and theory sharpened the stakes of environmental history for me, not as a discipline, but as an enterprise encompassing various methods in understanding past and present socio-ecological transformations, worlds, and crises.
Doing research on dunes is like being a grain of sand in a very wide beach; there are so many factors to consider and so many ways of looking at them.