Ecoliteracy Braid

Reading other classmate’s responses to this assignment really opened my eyes. I knew going into it that everyone’s poems/letters would be different, what I didn’t expect was just how different the points of view taken would be. When comparing and contrasting to my own poem, the only similarity I could draw with most other assignments was the theme of change. Mateus and Jaimie’s poems offered me a great reference point for some deeper thinking and introspection.
Mateus’ poem shows a much broader worldview than mine. In my poem I am speaking to the University of Regina. Mateus’ poem on the other hand is written from the perspective of someone living in a completely different part of the world. The setting of Mateus’ poem is evident in his opening lines “the sun, the flowers, the latex plants and trees and quatis”. Both of us are making a call to action of sorts, even though the call in Mateus’ is less explicit than mine. Mateus also diverges from the anthropocentric view of the environment, stating things such as “we are part of nature and so are bacteria and archaea”. This connection between the smallest life forms on Earth and the ‘top’ of the hierarchy definitely makes you stop and think about who/what is being affected by human actions. This nature-human equality that Mateus presents is something reflected in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass. In one of her stories she makes the connection between human actions and the loss of natural habitats. Her story doesn’t tell us that we need to change our ways, but the implied call to action is unavoidable.
Jaimie’s poem seems to compliment mine very well. In my poem I am arguing with someone, asking them to change their ways. Jamies poem is written to a person who has already made significant changes; someone who understands that more needs to be done. Lines such as “you reduce, reuse, and recycle” and “when garbage is found lying around, you pick it up off of the ground” show that instead of pointing out someone’s flaws and areas that they need to improve, Jaimie is instead praising someone who has already begun to make changes. Both of our poems show a certain amount of cautious optimism, acknowledging that any change is positive but that more must be done. Jaimie’s poem confronts this by stating “you understand that we need to help out, instead of doing nothing but shout” which agrees with what I am saying in my poem while ironically confronting my statement to shout until change is made.
Both Mateus and Jaimie’s poems work well with my own. What I have realized after reading theirs, and thinking about mine, is that my poem held a really negative undertone. Not only that, but I also clung tightly to the anthropocentric view of ecoliteracy and environmentalism. Reading their poems has opened my eyes to greater connections with the world around us, as well as alternate ways of creating change (praise for the good instead of dwelling on the bad).

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