UnEarthing/Re-Earthing is an ongoing project by the Coastal Reading Group that considers how to grieve
our current epoch of extinction and loss. We ‘read’ environments by unearthing the particular cultivations
that colonial, capitalist landscapes engender. It is our proposal that these landscapes prevent the grief
process and that grief is essential for resisting the often blinding narratives of progress by opening up new
(and old) temporal possibilities. In order to grieve the profound loss of species and their habitats in the
present, we suspect that we have to grieve earlier changes to our environment that have gone unnoticed or
that have been blocked.
In June of 2019 we traveled to the Paradise on Fire conference in Davis, California in the Putah
Creek watershed. We considered the ways colonization affects cultivation of landscape,
and recuperated a relationship and practice with fire as a regenerative process. Working with
handmade paper embedded with native Californian, pyrophytic seeds, we enacted a grieving
process where participants wrote letters to past beings and future stakeholders. These letters were
burned, activating the seeds within. Jarred with soil and other regional living, lived, and yet-to-live materials, participants were invited to spread the jars’ contents in their own time.