The AVBOB Poetry Competition | Ecopoetry and Why to Write Inspirational Poems in this Genre

Ecopoetry and Why to Write Inspirational Poems in this Genre

The latest research on climate change is jarring, and it is becoming abundantly clear that we are currently facing a global state of emergency. Human behaviour is having a disastrous impact on the planet. Greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, deforestation, land degradation, unsustainable agriculture, and the depletion of natural resources are at an all-time high. In these difficult times, where can hope and change be found? While the arts have always provided solace in times of crisis, they have also been vehicles that have helped to enact important change. Ecopoetry is one such art form, and it is becoming increasingly popular as the world turns its gaze to the voices of environmental activists. If you are keen on writing inspirational poems that centre on environmentalism, then this article is for you.

What is Ecopoetry?

The idea that humans and nature are interrelated, has been around for much longer than most of us realise. The modern shift where humans see themselves as separate from or superior to the rest of nature is relatively new in human history – and it has made apex predators of us. While our planet has mechanisms in place to ensure natural balance, human industrialisation has led to a stark rise in factors that hurt the planet on a vast scale before it has a chance to recover. Ecopoetry is a form of poetry aimed at addressing these concerns and elevating the plight of the earth. These are not anthropocentric inspirational poems that represent humans as the most important entity on the planet, they are eco-centric and emphasise, at every turn, our natural world. In ecopoetry, humans are no longer the outside observers, but rather actively involved in the current challenges, along with every other species facing extinction.

History has given us plenty of nature-inspired poems to go around, but ecopoetry is not about romanticising plants, animals, and natural phenomena. It is about giving an impactful voice to a voiceless planet and exploring its relationship with human beings.

Is Ecopoetry Always Inspirational?

There is an idea that inspirational poems must always be positive and uplifting – but there are other ways to inspire change too. Ecopoetry often relies upon imagery that is sometimes shocking, upsetting, or creates a sense of foreboding. It works in the same way as anti-poaching campaigns that protect endangered species like rhinos. We all know it’s happening, but one distressing photograph is all it takes to wake us up to reality. Environmentalist poems work in the same way, by exploring the damage being done to the planet and why it is so detrimental. Some may still put a positive spin on the inspirational aspect, choosing to highlight how hope is not lost and there is still time to change.

Fighting Back Against Apathy

When it comes to climate change and environmental issues, a large portion of society tends to feel powerless. Even if some individuals ride bicycles to work or use water sparingly, this barely makes a dent in the face of the giant corporations that do the most damage. Still, change starts small. As with any time of great social upheaval in history, awareness is the driver. Powerful, inspirational poems that speak to the soul pull us out of our disinterested apathy and engage us with real issues. Consumers who are more aware of environmental issues are more likely to make different choices in how they live and what they buy – and this is how change begins.

Connect with Nature in A New Way

Even if your eco-centric poems are never read by an audience or never inspire anyone to change, there is still value in the theme. When we spend time connecting with the natural world, we connect with ourselves. Rivers, trees, streams, mountains – they are all made from the same stuff that we are. When we spend time reflecting on nature, we feel better and learn about ourselves. If nobody else finds your poems inspirational, you still can.

Whether you want to write about the plight of the oceans or the fragility of your local ecosystems, there is much power in your voice. You can also take a look at our collection of hopeful poems here. to get a sense of how to write moving and inspirational pieces.