The environment, and humans’ impact on it, is the subject of much discussion these days—and for good reason. Human contributions to global warming, wildlife habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss have led to crises in our atmosphere, our oceans, our forests, and our plains.

For many people, the word “environment” evokes images of some pristine, natural world that is under threat. But the environment, says Severn Cullis-Suzuki, our featured interview subject in this issue, is all around us. Our cities and homes are important environments too.

While planning and compiling this issue of Room, we gave ourselves broad scope to explore the meaning of environment fully. We looked for pieces that evoked the mood and physicality of meaningful indoor and outdoor spaces, city or country. We wanted to know what is treasured about these spaces, and what is under threat? How does place interact with women’s choices? Do women have unique roles to play in protecting our natural and built worlds, and why?

At a time when the word “environment” is so often used to talk about something under threat—whether it’s an old-growth forest or a diverse city neighbourhood—it is stimulating to stop and consider what makes our environments worth saving in the first place.

Our natural and built worlds are more than just backdrops for living our lives. They are dynamic characters; living, breathing, pulsing with energy, lasting (we hope) long after we are gone. They give our choices and our actions context. We are part of the environments in which we live—and vice versa. We influence, and are influenced by, the places we inhabit. We each have a stake in what happens to our environments, and a responsibility to the other creatures—human or otherwise—who live in them too.


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