Before I post again about things of substance, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to our readership, to share my interests and goals, and to spell out more clearly the reason to the madness of my earlier posts. If I’m not mistaken, my fellow contributors will be doing the same over the next few days.
I am, nominally, Michael Muller. In the fall, I’ll be a senior at Amherst College, where I study, among other liberal arts ‘disciplines,’ Political Science, in particular political theory and the history of political thought. I have a peculiar fascination with how different groups’ and individuals’ concepts and philosophies affect and create attitudes, and how these attitudes influence action. If this all sounds highfalutin or like pseduo-psychology, you’re on the right track.
Self-deprecation aside, however, I also have a passion for interpreting and, if possible, correcting injustice. Thanks in large part to my upbringing, I tend to identify with the cause of protecting the less-protected, whether it’s a social group, eco-system or idea. Of course this tendency is all well and good in theory, but its tendance requires greater sedulity in practice. When Crist offered me the opportunity to come work and write for Raxa Collective this summer, to identify problems with and solutions for conservation initiatives in Kerala, I immediately snagged the opportunity, understanding it not only as one that would allow me to effect change, but also one that would test, probe, relax and strengthen my still-developing convictions.
In my posts over the next four weeks, besides providing personal insight into the wonders of the Periyar, Kumily, etc., I hope also to problematize and contextualize my own experiences, to illuminate some of the complexities inherent to preservation and conservation in a rapidly developing nation (and world), and offer possibilities for readers and travelers to get involved in the conversation.
With that in mind, I will try to offer non-political entry points into political questions, while not neglecting or forgetting the reason I’m here, or, for that matter, why anyone from outside Kerala would come here: the impossible rarity of its natural and cultural riches.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to comments. Let’s have a conservation conversation*!