Ecoliteracy Braid

After looking at some of my peers’ poems there were two that stood out to me. One because it is so similar to mine in meaning and one because of how different of an approach it had. The first poem I am going to weave mine with is Jade’s. In my poem I stressed the importance of giving back to the environment because we take so much from it. A section from my poem that really represents this idea is the one that says, “If we take, From our environment, And never give back, Is the relationship, Going to last?”. Jades poem had a line that said, “Give back to the world, something just as good as the world gives to us”. This line in her poem was one that I could personally connect to. I feel as though she holds the same beliefs as I do when I heard her read these words. We both recognize that we are taking and taking from the environment and not giving back to it. We both believe that we need to make a change. I wrote the words, “Unless, The knowledgeable can leap And, Repair what has been broken”. Jade’s poem said, ““So, let’s take a moment and think of what we can do to give back to the world”. It was made clear to me when comparing our poems that we have somewhat of an anthropocentric view of ecoliteracy. This is due to the fact that both of these lines in our poems are making it clear that the ecoliterate need to lead the movement to give back to the environment. It seems as though Jade and I both view the ecoliterate as the ones that have the ability and knowledge to really change the world and help save it. The humans have to “save” the environment.

The second poem that really stood out to me was Mateus’. His poem was so different than mine that it almost caught me off guard. But, after really analyzing it and considering all of it’s meanings, I realize that the differences between the two poems really compliment each other. Mateus’ poem was anything but anthropocentric. His lines focussed on the fact that we are all one and that there is a strong connection between us and nature. Some lines that really resonated with me are, “we are part of nature”, “we are part of nature and so are the Bacteria and Archaea”, and “as atoms and particles and energy and vibrations”. These lines of his poem really opened my eyes to the fact that we are so deeply connected to nature which was not really represented in my poem. But, the line in my poem that says, “Is it a relationship, If one only gives, And one only takes?” compliments Mateus’ lines. If we can realize the connection between us and the environment that Mateus’ poem speaks to then I strongly believe that we will be able to build a stronger relationship with it. If we can really feel the connection and realize we are all made up of the same things, then we will not treat nature so poorly. We will be able to improve our relationship and be able to “repair what has been broken” as my poem notes.

In addition to this weaving that I did with the poems of my classmates, I was able to make connections with the Kimmerer text we use in class. Honestly, the first connection made was not made with any specific readings within the text, but simply the sub heading on the cover. Under the title Braiding Sweetgrass, it says “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants”. Reading this made me realize that my ecoliteracy braid is not complete. I have scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants incorporated, but I am missing Indigenous wisdom. After seeing this, it makes me want to gain a more in depth understanding of the Indigenous perspective of the environment in order to improve my braid. I feel like I have been neglected this type  of understanding for most of my life and this simple sub heading has inspired me to work towards deepening this understanding.

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Ecoliteracy Poem

Fade Away

Is it a relationship,

If it is one sided?

If one only gives

And one never gives back,

Is it going to last?

One will wear out

And be forced to fade away,

Leaving the other with nothing.

Wondering,

What went wrong?

If we take

From our environment

And never give back,

Is the relationship,

Going to last?

One will be forced

To fade away,

Leaving the other with nothing.

Wondering,

What went wrong?

Unless,

The knowledgeable can leap

And,

Repair what has been broken

Starting now.

Then,

Maybe one will not,

Fade away.

CJ #2: Reciprocity with the Land

After reading In Maple Nation I really began to critically analyze how much the environment gives to me and contributes to my well being. This got me thinking about the things I do, and could be doing, in order to give back to the land. The reading made me realize just how important it is to practice reciprocity because if I am only taking from the land, and not giving back to it, then there will be an imbalance and I will no longer be able to benefit from the environment.

The reading, along with the blog prompt, led me to brainstorm ways in which I can take a “leap” and give back to the environment. I will do things such as shop locally, reduce my use of plastic, eat mindfully, walk or bike, promote reciprocity, and many more. These are just some of the steps I will take to give back and they are all extremely do able. I decided to give myself realistic goals to begin, then I will make more drastic changes. I will make reminders for myself to stick to my plans and make it as convenient as possible for myself and others to “leap” into action and really start to make a difference starting today.

This was shown in my visual representation. I used a glass bottle to represent me and my physical body. The inside of the bottle is filled with parts of the environment. This represents the fact that the land contributes so greatly to who I am today, my well being, and my overall health. Though it may not be easily seen by the human eye, there is nature within all of us and its effects are extremely beneficial to us. For example, without trees we would not have clean are to breath in. So, the inside of the bottle represents what the environment gives to me internally. The outside of the bottle is meant to be my outer self. The part that everyone can see. I surrounded this part of “my body” with numerous acts of reciprocity that I will do to give back to the environment. These are the things that I can physically do if I want to make a difference; my ecological pledges. The point of this piece is to show that even though the effects the environment has on me may not be obvious, they are still there and are a huge part of me. I wanted to show that I can use my body and the things that can be seen to reciprocate/give back to the environment as a sign of my appreciation.

CJ #1: What is the Environment?

There have been a few instances in my life where I have truly felt connected with the environment but I will focus on one specific time. It is actually pictured on my visual representation. The time that really comes to mind when I think about the environment and feeling a strong connection to it is one time when I was fishing with my family on Barrier River. There is no service on this lake and the lack of technology really allowed me to take in all the beauty that surrounded me. I vividly remember looking around me at all the greenery and fresh water. The sun was keeping me warm as I had my fishing rod in the water. I felt almost overwhelmed by just how amazing and underappreciated the environment is. In this moment, I felt so content and appreciative towards how truly remarkable the environment is and the fact that in order to be able to enjoy its beauty, I am going to have to treat it better than I had been. Still, as I am writing this, I feel a warmth within me and a true connection to the environment all because of that one absolutely perfect day on the water.

My visual representation shows this moment and what the environment is to me in a few ways. The sun represents the warmth and happiness I felt towards the environment in this moment and in the many others pictured. When I am outside, and the sun is shining down on me, I feel a sense of peace and complete joy, all thanks to the environment. The pictures I chose were ones where the feeling of connection to the environment was being felt by me. And making this collage really allowed me to remember how amazing the natural environment is by making me realize that I am genuinely happy and content in all the pictures of me enjoying the outdoors. This feeling of appreciation is what led me to using recycled cardboard to make most of my creation. I realized that if I want to continue being as happy as I am in all of these instances, I have to keep doing small things like recycling to keep this amazing natural environment alive. The words on my visual representation stand for the things that come to mind when I think of what environment is to me. The words are meant to show how the sun and the environment in all of the pictures make me feel and what comes to mind when I see these pictures and think of the environment. After creating this visual, I noticed how positive all the words are. This inspired me to, again, try my best to maintain this remarkable environment because of all the good it does for me. If I can in any way give back to the environment that gives so much to me, I am going to. Reflecting upon my experiences with the environment makes me realize that I should no longer take it for granted in any way.

As mentioned by Hammond, working on this creative journal was indeed an extremely enriching experience. I can honestly say that this work is completely me, and that I am the sole creator of it. It really provided me with a sense of pride and connected me to my work in a way that writing a paper never could have done.

Hammond Article Used