A black and white illustration of plants by Katie Holten.
Courtesy Emergence Magazine/Forrest Gander and Katie Holten

Emergence Magazine Is at the Top of Our Reading List

By Aileen Kwun
May 16, 2020
2 minute read

At a time when the constant stream of updates on the Covid-19 crisis feels all-consuming, we’re finding solace in media outlets that offer a wider lens on our relationship to nature and our place within it. Currently topping our list of reads: the excellent online quarterly Emergence Magazine, which covers a wide range of topics focused around ecology, culture, and spirituality. A project of the Kalliopeia Foundation, a nonprofit based in Northern California, and creatively overseen by filmmaker Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Emergence offers a mix of op-eds, essays, photo essays, and multimedia stories that bring the vibe and holistic kind of thinking embodied by Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog into the present day.

Each issue examines a broad theme, such as “Wildness,” “Technology,” “Language,” “Food,” and, most recently, “Trees.” Featured in the latest issue are an interview with Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Richard Powers, an essay by biologist David G. Haskell on the aromas of trees, poetry by Brenda Hillman, and even a VR film about a 400-year-old Japanese white pine bonsai that survived the Hiroshima bombing. During the pandemic, Emergence has also started producing a series of online-only stories about emerging themes, including an op-ed by New Zealand journalist David Farrier on the significance of animal paths and a photo essay by Aletheia Casey featuring pictures of the recent Australian wildfires. Emergence produces the kind of contextual, long-view content we sorely need more of right now. It offers a deep, immersive dive into nature that, short of taking a hike, is keeping us present and fascinated with the beauty and interconnectivity of the world outside.