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Ecology, poetry and language

Ecology, poetry and language

The poet's eye, turning in the midst of his rapture, wanders his gazes from heaven to earth and from earth to

sky; and since the imagination produces forms of unknown things, the poet's pen designs them and gives name and room to ethereal things that are nothing. William Shakespeare.

Talking with fourth graders at a school that I founded in the state of Zulia in the past decade, I asked a 9-year-old boy, the son of a landowner in the area, because he believed it was necessary to conserve nature and diversity of the life; The child looked at me in silence for a few moments and then, slowly modulating the words, almost as if in a confession, he replied: "Because without trees, birds and butterflies life would be very sad, very lonely and quiet teacher." I must confess in my turn that I greatly enjoyed that moment imagining the face of the child's father when he found out that the figure of a… poet loomed over the long and ancient tradition of chiefs, terrophages and stallions of his family, unexpected and threatening!

This beautiful statement, treasured in my memory in the sweet words of a child, still seems to me to this day, one of the best explanations I have ever known about the importance of biodiversity. The word, the poetry, has been, and continues to be, the instrument through which we become humans.

Until the advent of modernity and capitalism and its cultural industry, most of the peoples of the world spoke with languages ​​that tried to communicate with their surroundings, languages ​​that were a reflection of the non-anthropized environment that surrounded them, languages ​​that adapted human life to the stars, the seasons and the rest of elements and forms of life. Language was constructed daily in the image and likeness of the processes and rites of the natural environment of man, who reproduced them, first in his mind through imagination, and then in his words through poetry. .

Jean Paul Sartre used to say that the act of imagination is a magical act, an enchantment destined to make the desired thing appear. Our imagination is inseparable from our language. We name the things we imagine, perhaps that is why we see our language so impoverished today, while every day the imagination of the human being is impoverished, stunned by the sordid symbolic violence of the electronic, cybernetic and digital age in which we live.

With the triumph and consequent hegemony of rational-mechanistic thought in the Western world, and its subsequent extension to the rest of the world, the process of desecration of life and nature began; living beings, landscapes, stars, time, wind, moon and sun were turned into simple objects of study, into empty concepts, stripped of all forms of beauty and reverence. Capitalism came to shore up what was left of sacred and beautiful by converting everything that existed into simple merchandise, replacing even techno-scientific language with accounting language, more in tune with its principles and interests.

The magical and poetic vision of the world, so necessary for the participation and integration of man with his natural environment, began to weaken. We began to lose our ability to speak to nature and to understand what it was telling us. Due to our original and fundamental biological indeterminacy, man must open up to the world and participate with it and in it. The almost absolute triumph of positivism in the western thought of the 19th century, consolidated the break with nature at the same time that it served as justification for the subjugation and subjugation of "barbarian, savage and backward" peoples who did not speak or understand the new logical language. scientific and mercantile.

Techno-scientific language defeated and cornered poetic language, stigmatizing it as typical of outcasts and madmen, of hippies, dreamers, and vagabonds; The men and societies that lived integrated into their natural ecosystems, communicating with them, becoming a daily verb with their surroundings, were branded as savage and primitive, as barbarian and backward by those who wielded science and technology as banners of civilization and progress.

The practices and attempts to form an ecological conscience (Environmental Education) have not escaped this absurd trend. By using the language of the system that it should try to combat and transform, they have promoted a neutral knowledge of nature, its phenomena and relationships, as isolated facts of the human being, thus legitimizing the rationalist-technological-capitalist model that it has generated in the last 500 years the environmental crisis that humanity is experiencing.

This crisis has accelerated exponentially in the final 50 years of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st. The objective framework of the extremely powerful electronic-digital-media world of capitalism has produced in a huge portion of the world population a state of structural nihilism, unleashed and uncontrolled consumerist and hyper-individualist egonarcisism, which makes the work of raising awareness of the destruction of the terrestrial ecosystem and which it is not possible to attack with simple exposures of data or memorization of contents. The strategies have to be necessarily emotional. An Environmental Education without sensoriality, desires, joy, anguish or love is a simple mechanical exercise, dead, barren and cold. We can only care for, respect and preserve what we love, and it is a delusional absurdity to believe that one can teach to love something through a technical, mechanistic and Cartesian language. As George Leonard points out, Environmental Education has to be an ecstatic education.


Capitalism has conditioned us to relate to nature not as aesthetes to admire its beauty, not as mystics to revere its divinity, not as poets to sing its many wonders, not as grateful children of its gifts, no, it has taught us to relate with our environment as armed conquerors ready to plunder their wealth regardless of the means to use for it. Positivist epistemology legitimized this way of relating, on the one hand giving scientific character to the civilization and progress theses and from the natural sciences side, objectifying and objectifying nature and its relationships based on its exchange values.

The domination and exploitation of nature is an inseparable part of the development philosophy, whether it is called sustainable, sustainable or green. A technicist and rationalist Environmental Education, like the one that has been imparted at all levels so far, contradictorily turns against what it should protect, since it becomes part of the logic of the system, of its productive forces, since it seeks guarantee the production and reproduction of life but without questioning the hegemony and perpetuation of the model in which it works.

The proposal of a poetic Environmental Education is, in no way, alien to the tasks of building a new socialism. Building a new sensitivity, a new ethic of non-destruction, non-exploitation is the necessary presupposition for the establishment of a new eco-social order. It is this utopia that we have in front of us, which we must make a reality, and with this, we must remember that poetry is the essential vehicle of all utopia. Poetry, it is not redundant to remember it, disturbs the established order, prefigures new worlds and different realities and horizons, perhaps precisely for this reason the Spanish eco-philosopher and poet Jorge Riechmann has written: “Poetry reminds us that the essentials of life, what it really matters, it is something that is beyond statistics and the machine, of haste and busyness, noise and progress: Something that has to do with breathing, bonding and silence; something related to perfecting the art of living instead of being absorbed by the constant concern of progress ”.

Joel Sangronis Padrón


Video: ECOLOGY poem by A K Ramanujan (July 2021).