"Field Guide to Climate Resilience" by Keygan Sands
Keygan Sands is a writer, naturalist, artist, and graduate of the Creative Writing and
Environment MFA program at Iowa State University. Her work explores the confluence between human and nonhuman. Her writing appears in Cold Mountain Review’s Special Issue on Extinction, Cleaver Magazine, the climate fiction anthology Nothing Is As It Was edited by Amanda Saint, the ecocritical collection Images of the Anthropocene in Speculative Fiction edited by Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun and others, and The Iowan. She was a 2019 Summer Writer in Residence at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. She has also presented literary research at the Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene International Conference in Brno, Czech Republic, creates visual art, and teaches others about the nonhuman world around them as a naturalist. Find out more, including examples of her work, at keygansands.com.
In “Field Guide to Climate Resilience,” I explore methods of building resilience to climate
change into our local communities. I have found that the best, most immediate thing we can all do for ourselves and each other is to cultivate diverse and varied relationships with the living world, with both human and nonhuman communities. Diversity creates resiliency to disturbance and disaster. In this series of four pages, pen and watercolor illustrations showcase techniques for nourishing those relationships as explored around Ames, Iowa. Snippets of text display species names, captions for resiliency techniques, excerpts from pertinent writers, and other information. Because I am representing diversity with a rich array of species and scenes, this work requires some time and attention to detail from the audience for the greatest reward. Mutual caring will allow us all to flourish, even in the face of the changes to come.