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The true ecological intelligence(revision)

yhama's picture

The true ecological intelligence

December 15th, 2015


Global warming is not solved by just talking about it, regardless of how advanced the discussion sounds. I understood Latour’s main idea about “object and subject back to the ground”(Latour, p.16), which explains that we cannot see the earth as object anymore, since the nature has a strong influence to humans and we cannot be separated from it. However, if the problem he suggested is that “people are not equipped with the mental and emotional repertoire to deal with such a vast scale of events”,(Latour, p.1) that cannot be solved by reading this abstract essay. The environmental issue is now a world topic and also is related to everyone on the planet not only to the people who have abilities to somehow read about it. Lautour’s point is essential but his essay seems to be an intangible idea which does not need urgent solutions. Compared to that, Van Jones has more active ecological intelligence as Bowers defines the term “ecological intelligence” takes into account “how an individual’s actions introduce changes in the energy flows and alter the patterns of interdependence within natural system” .(Bowers, p.46) Jones made a speech about green jobs in front of “thirty high-school dropouts”(Elizabeth, p.1). He rejected to be on the lectern and tried being honest and frank to them. Even though he admires Obama, Jones asserted that Obama is not going to save people. He told them “you are going to have to save Barack Obama”. (Elizabeth p.1) Jones succeeded to make people feel involved with this environmental issue that actually needs people’s understanding to solve. He knows that not all people can get the issues told in a difficult way, as he says “So you can spend a lot of time listening to people who are educated, and all you get is frustrated, because what they’re saying doesn’t actually land with you.”(Kolbert p.1) Thus he chose clear and easy words for explaining. After his speech, everyone followed him because they were impressed and wanted to talk to him. The reason why they were moved by Jones is because he suggested the concrete examples and also he treated them as members of this large project. However, Jones’s idea is to connect environmental issue with “economic” issue. What if the project is not going to be well economically? What is his fundamental philosophy? If people don’t share the basic idea of living together with the earth, and if they keep on regarding the earth as the object to save, or the object for economic prosperity, there is a possibility that people would be misled to different directions. The true ecological intelligence is to grasp the fundamental idea of oneness and also take actions to solve the problems occurred in us.

I tried applying this ecological intelligence to our six-week project about the organic food at Bryn Mawr. I wanted my classmates to feel involved with the issue at Bryn Mawr dining hall. My main idea was getting food from the earth without artificial process such as GMOs, mass productions or antibiotics. But most students are indifferent to the idea. Thus, I recognized my job as letting them know it and also suggesting the concrete solutions. I hope that I’m getting closer to the ecological intelligence.



Bowers.C.A.(2007). "Steps to the Recovery of Ecological Intelligence." OMETECA. 14-15. 46.

Latour, B. (2014). "Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene." New Literary History. 1-18.

Kolbert.E. (2009). “Greening the Ghetto.” The New Yoker. 1-9.