Author Megan Mayhew-Bergman on Honoring Complexity in Your Work

Megan Mayhew-Bergman's first book, Birds of a Lesser Paradise, is "pretty squarely environmental," but the author says she didn't realize how much she wanted to focus her writing on the natural world until someone wrote her a piece of hate mail.

"And this piece of hate mail said was from a group of human exceptionalists, and they were like, 'You're an anti-human exceptionalist.' I'd never heard the term, and I was like, 'You know what? You're absolutely right.' This idea, human exceptionalism, is the idea that humans have transcended their animal nature.

That we are somehow entitled to the Earth's resources.

And I definitely believe in interconnectedness and a sort of feeling that we've underestimated animal intelligence and rights."

Mayhew-Bergman, who is from a "blue collar southern" background, says she made an "enormous pivot in the tone of her work" when she realized that writing doesn't always feel like an active role in the climate crisis.

"There's something I feel a lot in the grand scheme of the climate crisis: writing doesn't always feel like an active role.

It can sometimes feel like

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Philanthropy: Fortifying American Democracy


Robert Gallucci, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, writes that philanthropy should at least bolster America’s democracy.



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