You thought it was just a horrible teenage fantasy. But no, it's seriously messing with our world.
Summit EntertainmentYou thought it was just a terrible teenage vampire franchise. But no, it’s seriously messing with our minds.

“Ecological unconscious” might sound like some psychology mumbo jumbo, but hear me out on this — it’s actually a fascinating concept. The idea is that we all understand nature and the environment in a certain way — in a way that we might never define explicitly, but that nonetheless affects the way we interact with the world. Whether we know it or not, our ecological unconscious is always there, hanging out in the background. It’s sort of like the environmental landscape in your brain, or your internal map of global ecology.

So how is our ecological unconscious formed? Sure, it comes from obvious channels, like our parents, the culture we grew up in, and the wilderness we explored as kids. But, says literary ecocritic George Handley, it also comes from the stories we read, even when those stories aren’t explicitly nature- or environment-oriented. Stories from children’s books, say, or The Lord of the Rings, or the literature you read (wait, Cliffs-Noted, let’s be real) for high school English class.