Guest Blog: Paula MacKay on Full Ecology

by Oct 16, 2021

Paula MacKay is a terrestrial carnivore biologist, a conservation scientist and a wilderness writer.  She and Gary met when Paula was a student in the Ranier Writing Institute, completing her MFA and among Gary’s advisees. Paula has read the Full Ecology book and published a wonderful review in the Earth Island Journal. She also blogged about the book, the review and a Full Ecology LIVE event coming up on Bainbridge Island the end of October. Check her blog below, and follow links to her review. ~thanks, Paula!



On October 28th at 6:30pm, social-cultural psychologist Mary Clare and science writer Gary Ferguson will offer a free public presentation about tackling climate change at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Mary and Gary advocate grounding ourselves in “full ecology”—also the title of their new book (see my review) —to confront climate change without burning out our inner sun.

The event will be co-hosted by Eagle Harbor Books. Proof of vaccination and masks are required, as well as an advance RSVP. Auditorium space will be limited, so please add you name to the list now!

I found Full Ecology to be inspiring and empowering, despite the overwhelming climate crisis Mary and Gary seek to help us address. The book is also an enjoyable read; Gary was one of my MFA mentors at Pacific Lutheran University, and is one of the most compelling storytellers I know. Through their warm-hearted prose, he and Mary infuse us with hope at a time when many of us find this to be a rare and invaluable resource.

I was so moved by Full Ecology that I wrote a review for Earth Island Journal, published in the Autumn 2021 issue. I’ve posted an excerpt of “Gazing in the Broken Mirror” below; please click the hot link to read the review in its entirety.


As the mercury rises with climate change, despair can seem like a fitting response. Drought, wildfire, surging seas, fallen species — it’s easy to think nature is raging all around us and there is no way to tame the tempest. Worse yet, climate scientists have determined that we are at fault, fueling our own demise with cars and cows and corporate greed. If only we had more time, more knowledge, more power to reverse the deadly trends. If only humanity cared enough to try.

This is a tiring story, especially for those of us who wake up at night fretting about how it might end. But in their compact new book, Full Ecology, social-cultural psychologist Mary M. Clare and science writer Gary Ferguson remind us there is an antidote to climate fatigue. And we carry it with us in our genes.