Simon Thornton

2024 Development Volunteer

Name: Simon Thornton

Pronouns: He/Him

Education: BA Politics and Eastern European Studies, University College London; MA Political Theory, University of Sheffield; Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Essex.

Hometown: Sheffield, UK.

What brought you to Crag? I am currently a Paralegal Studies student, with the UC Berkeley (Extension) program. I came to Crag looking to get some exposure to the world of law, while focusing on issues that I care about. Crag is involved in important and admirable environmental work that I am excited to contribute towards.

What are your environmental/legal interests? I am interested in the difficult relationship between recreation and conservation when it comes to wild places. For example, I was involved in an (ongoing) trail building project in the Caucasus, which you can read about here. I am also interested in the environmental humanities. You can read some of my writing in this area here.

What will your work focus on while at Crag? My initial focus at Crag is to research grant-giving bodies, with a view to expanding Crag’s funding base. After discovering potential funding partners, I will work with the team on funding proposals and applications.

Favorite places to recreate or be in nature: There are many I could choose from, but I owe it to my hometown to say Stanage Popular. This is a small section of a long gritstone crag – Stanage Edge – 10 minutes away from where I grew up. It has an incredible amount of unique, world class climbing in a small, accessible area – it’s as though made for climbing!

Favorite book: I have worked a lot on the 19th Century Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard. Either/Or probably has to be my favorite of his. I also work a lot with the writings of American philosopher and psychoanalyst, Jonathan Lear. I am currently writing about his new book, Imagining the End: Mourning and Ethical Life. This book has lots to offer environmentalists, I think.

Favorite Quote: “But to conquer that weight,/Imagine a dower of settle beds tumbled from heaven/like some nonsensical vengeance come on the people,/Then learn from that harmless barrage that whatever is given/Can always be reimagined, however four-square,/Plank-thick, hull-stupid and out of its time/It happens to be. You are free as the lookout…” – Seamus Heaney, ‘The Settle Bed’

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