For a new pact between Humanity and Nature

Rapa Nui National Park, man carving a 'moai' model statuette © UNESCO

The need to rethink the representation of the human race, its activities and its place in the natural environment of which it is but an integral part, is the subject of international awareness raising and debate.

In their humanistic commitment Tagore, Neruda and Césaire realized, long before the ecological and environmental question took on the gravity it presents today, the crucial need to bring the material and collective development of humanity into line with nature.

Throughout their sensitive experience of the world, rooted into their love of nature and the surroundings natural elements composing their native lands, Tagore, Neruda and Cesaire cultivated the awareness to link the material and collective human self-fulfillment with Nature, reminding that respect and care for Nature finds a shared echo into the western and northern civilizations.

Through their humanist commitment, the three authors anticipated the several current fractures caused by the economic, technological and scientific excesses and damages. They emphasized the necessity of rethinking the representation of the human race, its activities and its place within Nature.

Rabindranath Tagore saw nature and culture as intimately linked. At one level he considered culture as a physical response to the beauty of nature; and at another as the emotional or spiritual one. His view of nature as a permanent creative movement reflected his cultural background.

It was in remaining faithful to the Indian tradition of the Upanishads, while having relevant information about the choices and processes being introduced by industrial civilization whose beginnings he observed in the west, that Tagore foresaw the gravity of the ecological issues being prepared for the world by the modern western conception of progress as an end in itself, ‘’, where the arrogance of human beings, who think themselves superior to the natural elements, and the frantic search for profit, were proliferating in a predatory approach that sacrificed some people,  showed contempt for nature and was storing up destruction.

Based on such a clear vision ecology and the environment have a central place in his writing. Tagore’s discourse is as full of references to the planet earth and its flora as to the vast universe and its stars. In his poetry he constantly refers to humanity’s bond with the earth. To him the earth was not a remote and abstract phenomenon.

Nature in Neruda’s work is not simply landscape. It is the site of ‘’. It is the material mother. It determines the poet’s song and beyond that the relations between humans and nature become the symbol and model for relations between beings.

His ‘geological’ poetry speaks of the universe in powerful metaphor, unleashing images and rhythms.

Neruda is a poet immersed in the breath and diversity of the world: plants, insects, shells, books, objects of all kinds, nothing escaped his curiosity. His home-cum-museum in Isla Negra bears witness to it, as if the poet, discoverer and explorer wished to develop a museographic vision there and show the objective correspondences between the objects. He combed the world’s beaches in search of small examples of empty shells, left on the sand by a fresh tide. During more than twenty years he even accumulated more than 900 shells, of which 400 different specimens of rare or little-known varieties, which were exhibited in January 2010 by the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, displaying the collection the poet gave to the University of Chile in 1954.

For Césaire, Nature is a school of life. Observing it should be within the reach of everyone. Born from the spittle of the volcanoes, the poet encounters and observes each leaf , each tree-trunk, each drain, each crossroads on his territory, particularly each tree, because for him ‘A tree is a whole morality’ : rooting, shooting up, unfolding, flowering, pollination, germination to return to the initial root. That is the cycle of life and its lesson, granted to humans:‘’

In many texts and acts Césaire exhorts us to go back to the wisdom of a human presence and action in harmony with nature.

The thoughts brought by Tagore, Neruda and Césaire lead to reformulate the relationship between humans and Nature by redefining the meaning of sustainable actions of development, which should rather turn towards a sensible association built on the respect of natural rhythms, sustainable management of natural resources, protection of the environment and sustainable development.

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