Environmental Hospice and Memorial as Redemption: Public Rituals for Renewal

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In this paper, I use Kenneth Burke's pollution, purification, and redemption cycle to suggest a communicative way to overcome the possible inaction that stems from environmental guilt or shame. If guilt and shame over environmental loss is to be overcome in the best possible way to allow for continued participation in communicative action about the environment, then the redemption that results from purification rituals seems necessary. I suggest that rituals for purification in the form of environmental hospice and memorial are necessary as truthful acknowledgments of those species and landscapes that have been lost, and those that will be lost in the future and the redemption found through them encourages continued environmental care.