Poetry, which from its earliest beginnings has been a form of relationship with the Earth, is a powerful tool to be used today in addressing today’s environmental issues. It has a vital role to play in environmental education, plant conservation, environmental justice, and highlighting our innate need to protect, cultivate and be nurtured by the natural world. Since it always has been a form of relationship with the Earth and a way of expressing this relationship, we need to explore ways to stimulate development of environmental sensitivity and expression of people’s creative potential through poetic endeavors. As an alternative to science, it can be an exciting way of discovering the environment and our place in it.
Starting from the premise that poetry is one way of learning about environmental justice and conservation issues in our endangered world, I will define ecopoetry and provide a brief history of it, present arguments for using it to develop ecological literacy, and suggest resources for finding and using it in environmental education.
Four questions will be considered: (1) What exactly is environmental poetry? (2) What are some convincing and logical arguments for using poetry to develop ecological literacy and a concern for environmental sustainability? (3) How exactly does poetry prepare the young to join the environmental movement? and (4) How does it instill in people a sense of responsibility for a sustainable future? I will provide specific pointers on how poetry can address environmental issues, and I will offer resources for finding and using poetry in environmental education. Finally, I will end with several poems to illustrate poetry’s vital role in developing ecological literacy.
|Keywords:||Environmental Sustainability, Eco-poetry|
Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar