You are here: Home / NEWS / Seminar reflects on a balanced relationship between humans and the environment

Seminar reflects on a balanced relationship between humans and the environment

by Richard Meckien - published Oct 15, 2015 10:35 AM - - last modified Oct 16, 2015 05:18 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa

Paisagem no Rio Grande do SulThe IEA's Environmental Politics research group will hold the international seminar Landscapes: Home, Path and Water from October 22 to 29, in three different venues. Researchers from Brazil, Italy and Portugal will reflect on the fundamental conditions for the establishment of a balanced relationship between humans and the environment.

According to Eda Tassara, coordinator of the research group, by addressing the presence and representation of home, path and water in the landscape and in the city, the seminar aims to "contribute to the intentional, poetic and shared construction of a more balanced social environment in the future in comparison to nowadays". She explains that the seminar's title is inspired in a statement by French geographer Jean Brunhes (1869-1930): "There are three key things to start a human community: home, path and water." She adds that psychologist Omar Ardans, from the Federal University of Santa Maria, by commenting on Brunhes's statement, said that its content "is in no way contradicted by the current state of life on the planet. On the contrary, it is even more modern than at the time of his writing."

However, there is one condition for the establishment of this balance, as Ardans's comment cited by the researcher: "That balance does not exist in (or to) a single individual, in a vacuum. Instead, the spaces of coexistence of this individual, and the participation in community and societal contexts define the particular form of conquered balance (or, at worst, desired).along with the physical environment and objects built by humans."

That's why, he said, "the first word for the proposed reflection should be 'city', privileged form of organization of the man on the grounds that he dwells." In support of this choice, Tassara points out that American urban planner and thinker Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) opened his book "The Culture of Cities" with a statement saying that the city "is the point of maximum concentration of force and culture in a community."

She also recalls that Italian philosopher Rosario Assunto (1915-1994) argued that "the concrete environment, the environment we live in and of which we live, is always the environment as a way of territory: a landscape". It follows that "landscape" is the second word of the seminar, "understood as the way that nature and man gave to the territory as they organized it on the basis of life."

Viewed from these perspectives, landscape and city can be understood as "more-than-spaces" inextricably linked, with the balance of the assembly having crucial importance for human life, but not just for it, according to Tassara. "Both our organic existence as the persistence of the very way of life of our community / society depend on this balance. Recognizing this mobilizes our reflection on the essential aspects of the human-environment relationship that is expressed in the countryside and in the cities."

Photo: Douglas Pfeiffer Cardoso/Flickr