My poem (shown below) relates to Maria and Daniel’s poems which reflect, challenge and expand my notion of ecoliteracy. The strong messages in Maria’s poem are partnered with rhyming which triggered my emotions. Maria’s poem emphasized certain feelings; “Us humans think we hold the world in our hands Well it’s slipping through like grains of sand,” this illustrates a sense of touch and how, quite literally, we can feel the world diminishing and it’s a very sad reality. This visualization helped me see how much we can help and hinder the Earth just with our actions, this is something that I did not think related to ecoliteracy. Furthermore, the sense of touch is similar to my poem when I wrote, “Let’s feel the thunderstorm.” Although Maria and I used similar feelings, our messages were different. Her use of touch symbolizes feeling and taking responsibility for the destruction of Earth and my poem shows being connected with nature, regardless of the inflicted destruction. In addition, the ability to use our senses to be with the environment/nature is called stillness. Stillness is often difficult for humans to participate in because of the many distractions in the modern world, but Maria's and my poem juxtapose our normative fast paced lives by being with nature and acknowledging nature with our senses. Although, using senses describes ecoliteracy in a personal way, it also reinforces the normative that nature is something humans want to be a part of and touch, illustrating that nature removed from our bodies.
Daniel’s poem is different than mine in that he writes about what has replaced the environment, “the buildings and the roads … the traffic in the streets … the smoke from the factories … businesses, cities and all people.” Whereas, my poem acknowledges what is already a part of nature, "thunderstorm ... fresh air ... nothingness ... clouds ... rustling trees". Daniel’s poem has challenged my view of ecoliteracy; to be ecoliterate it is important to be aware of what is damaging and replacing the environment rather than just connecting to the environment and ignoring the issues that prevail. Daniel connects ecoliteracy to stillness, which I have never thought of doing to define ecoliteracy; “Time stands still Businesses, cities and all people Come to a halt.” Ecoliteracy involves being still and one with the environment. I initially recognized using our senses to understand the environment, I did not associate senses with stillness to be ecoliterate. Daniel's representation of stillness differs from my representation in that his poems demands the reader to look past industrialization and what replaces nature to truly appreciate nature. My poem uses stillness as a way to merge humans and the environment. Daniel’s poem has enhanced my understanding of ecoliteracy.
The 3 poems reminded me of Kimmerer’s “The Sound of Silverbells,” specifically, when Kimmerer writes, “All we need … is mindfulness. Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 222). This quote contributes/relates to my understanding of ecoliteracy because my poem illustrates being connected with nature. Kimmerer views being connected to nature as a favor to the earth in return for all that the environment has done for humans. This challenges my idea of being connected to nature; I thought it would do the individual a favor, but connectedness also helps the world. Being open minded eliminates the fear that my poem address, “we shouldn’t fear it [the environment], not even the thunder” as well as encourages the lost “adventure and curiosity” in my poem.
Richard Louv's "No Child Left Inside" also illustrates the value in connecting to nature and being ecoliterate. Louv states, "when people talk about the disconnect between children and nature — if they are old enough to remember a time when outdoor play was the norm — they almost always tell stories about their own childhoods: this tree house or fort, that special woods or ditch or creek or meadow" (Louv, online). This reinforces and expands on my poem; both Louv and I are saddened by the lack of connection that children have with nature nowadays, it is vastly different from earlier times of childhood. The lack of connection to nature effects the world and individuals negatively.
Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). The Sound of Silverbells. In Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. 216-222.