Mac, Laura, and I all describe acts of reciprocity throughout our ecoliteracy love letters and poems, as well as discuss ignorance and the importance of sustainability and connection to this place. While Mac comments directly on the impacts of recycling within the University, stating he is “knocking on doors” and “my only obstacle is you [the university]”, Laura writes about a relationship between humans and the environment. Much like a relationship between two people, Laura describes how one-sided relationships do not work, “One will be forced/ To Fade away,/ Leaving the other with nothing.”. I discuss the connection between nature and ourselves, drawing parallels between things we see in nature and in each other, stating there is “opportunity for succession”.
As Mac discusses the need for more eco-focused initiatives such as recycling, I discuss the importance of finding the natural within ourselves and embracing it, “your natural hair, natural face, natural lawn”. Mac’s contribution focuses more on sustainable practice, stating “We could change the Earth,/ you and me”, while I contrast an individual being (myself) to nature and the idea of natural, stating it is “One that disrupts only for benefit”. I was drawn to Mac’s poem because not only was it beautifully written, it sparked slight anger inside of me that something a simple as recycling is being lobbied for still today. I spoke about this passionate anger I felt as a reader in my letter, relating it to natural disasters. I stated the “disaster, entropy, the fire that burns inside. But all this too has a purpose”. The purpose of this particular anger is to ignite change and fuel the motivation to educate others on these issues.
I felt some of this anger too while reading Laura’s poem. Again, this was well written and catalyzed an emotional response, but most importantly it was extremely relatable. I believe many individuals could speak of a once glorious relationship in their life that has dwindled or “forced to fade away”. Drawing this connection between a failed relationship and our failing relationship with the Earth could help others relate more easily. Although I do not connect the Earth to a failed relationship, I believe that I connect the reader to the natural state of our Earth which may cause feelings of hope and passion. Laura’s poem ends on this hopeful and inspirational note, stating we must “Repair what has been broken/ Starting now./ Then,/ Maybe one will not,/ Fade away”.
All three pieces discuss ignorance, either regarding knowledge, relationships, or connectivity. David Orr suggests that this ignorance is “an inescapable part of the human condition”. This means although the three of us may have developed past ignorance, there will always be others who will not understand the importance of reciprocity to the land which we live. Orr also suggests that “some knowledge is increasing while other kinds of knowledge are being lost”. He calls for more environmental education because if we cannot live sustainably and in harmony with our Earth, our other knowledge means nearly nothing. Mac’s poem demonstrates these two concepts told by Orr as he personally educates those in his dormitory, “raising awareness of the things we must omit”. Laura states that “Unless,/ The knowledgable can leap”, meaning she understands we will not all make the necessary changes for sustainability. I discuss an understanding that this Earth is “bigger than you and me” and that we must “start giving back, appreciating this place for all it does for us while asking for nothing in return”. Overall, the three of us discuss the importance of environmental educational in terms of literacy and spirituality, indicating that reciprocity is crucial for sustainability.