Ecoliteracy Braid

While hearing and reading my classmates’ ecoliteracy poems, I found many of their perspectives to be intriguing. It was encouraging to see perspectives similar to my own, and enlightening to see perspectives different from mine. In particular, I found Emma Anderson’s love letter to nicely compliment my own, while Mckaila Scharfenberg’s poem highlighted an important aspect of ecoliteracy I did not include in my original love letter.

Similar to part of my work, Emma’s love letter focused heavily on the interconnected relationships of the environment. We both recognize the delicacy of these relationships, and that it is important we handle them with care. We consider the effects our actions have on these relationships, predicting the potential for great damage to be done not only to ourselves, but to everyone involved. We also understand that in order for these relationships to be successful, there needs to be an equal amount of give and take. This quote from Emma’s letter sums up the similarities of our letters nicely: “We were blind to what could become when we disregard the role of relationships and how they work together”. While I am more blatant about the scientific process of these relationships, Emma addresses them metaphorically, comparing them to a romantic relationship. I admire the aspect of intimacy she incorporates into her letter by doing this, and appreciate how the same idea can be expressed in two distinctly different ways.

While Mckaila’s poem briefly addressed the necessity to understand the environment and environmental issues, she also stressed the importance of being connected with the environment, writing “you will appreciate nature by being quiet and still, feeling your senses explore and your heart start to fill”. I did not consider this aspect of ecoliteracy in my love letter, however I think it is an important expansion to my understanding of the term. As much as we need to understand the environment and it’s processes, we equally need to develop a meaningful connection with it. This “connection” can be viewed as a relationship of sorts, tying back to Emma’s theme of having an intimate relationship with the environment.

After weaving together all three definitions of ecoliteracy, I realized “The Sound of Silverbells” from Robin Wall Kimerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass was the perfect strand to complete my braid. Much like mine and Emma’s love letters, Kimerer focused on the importance of understanding the environment’s interconnected processes throughout the majority of the field trip with her students. At the end of the chapter however, Kimerer realizes the true significance of understanding the environment is being connected with it, much like the point Mckaila makes in her poem. Lastly, all four works agree on one vital message as written in my letter: “You see the beauty in the world around us, and understand the need to preserve that beauty”. Although everyone may interpret ecoliteracy in different ways, we can all agree that the environment holds valuable beauty that needs to be preserved for generations to come.

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