2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Storytelling

Nicole Walker’s Sustainability: A Love Story is composed of 38 essays all of which read like prose poems, stuffed with scientific research on topics such as recycling, McDonald’s, and suicide. She writes for the burnt-out environmentalist, the lazy environmentalist, the would-be environmentalist. It’s for those who believe the planet is dying. For those who believe they are dying. And for those who question what it means to live and love sustainably, and maybe even with hope.

Together, the essays try to answer the question of how a middle-class white American family can live sustainably in the 21st century knowing global warming is already wreaking havoc. Walker’s brings up a myriad of concerns, everything from global climate change to local issues such as community recycling and forest fire prevention in Flagstaff, Arizona. Although Sustainability: A Love Story focuses on being sustainable in the modern world, Walker is aware that at times she is hypocritical and struggles finding balance while living in a world surrounded by computers and gas-guzzling automobiles.

Many of the essays include glimpses into her not-always-easy family life and does a phenomenal job illustrating the highs and lows of marriage, connectivity, and motherhood. She mentions that, when she had children, her priorities changed from “Save the Whales” to “Survive the Day.” With a combination of research and irony, she playfully addresses the devastation of the world around us and discusses in depth topics such as scarcity, abundance, habits, and what these conversations and practices reveal about the fragility of human life.

Nicole Walker is the author of Sustainability: A Love Story from Ohio State University Press and The After-Normal: 26 Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet from Rose Metal Press. Her previous booksinclude Where the Tiny Things Are, Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. She is edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story with Sean Prentiss and Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, with Margot Singer. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.She curated, with Rebecca Campbell, 7 Artists, 7 Rings—an Artist’s Game of Telephone for the Huffington Post. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a notable essayist in Best American 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and nonfiction winner of Best of the Net in 2013 and 2014, she’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Nicole is also a Flag Live contributor.

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