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"Sometimes, the environmental 'debate' resembles a juggernaut rushing towards a cliff while its occupants fiercely contest whether they are doing 105 or 95 miles per hour."     Mario Petrucci

"Unsustainability is the social, cultural and economic failure to engage the entire Self."    Mario Petrucci

"As an environmental scientist and a poet pondering the world at the crossroads of climate change, I think we need the work of Mario Petrucci more than ever as a rare exemplar of how to combine difficult science with excellent writing in a way that resonates with readers and results in responsible action."    reader of Mario Petrucci's work


Poetry & the Environment   (VIDEO)
'Cambridge Festival of Change'    6 Dec. 2015
CLICK ICON above...   [file may take a while to download]


For Mario's award-winning work on Chernobyl (film, articles, poetry) please click HERE...

Click here for Amazonia - a major ecopoetry-video commission with the Natural History Museum                        
[for Mario's Poetry Book Society article on the exhibition click here or here]...

See bottom of page for two R&B ECOLOGICAL/ CLIMATE CHANGE SONGS co-written by Mario...

For audio of poetry on Climate Change, click here

To hear 'Orders of Magnitude', Mario's poem (in Flowers of Sulphur) on Ecology and Energy, click here

For Mario's British Council presentation on Poetry and Sustainability (Madrid) click here:
Staying Awake: Poetry as source of sustenance and suspicion in the Sustainable Age [2010]

An augmented version of the above was presented at Uncivilisation 2011 (The Dark Mountain Festival):
Staying Awake: Poetry as source of sustenance and suspicion in the Sustainable Age [2011]
[also in Madrid (Dec. 2011) at the Reading Nature Conference, Universidad Complutense/ British Council,
as "Green winds, Salmon, Ships upon the Ocean: poetry and art rewriting society and sustainability"]

"Art and Climate Change: Separate Bubbles or Mutual Membrane?" explores how art/poetry can impact Climate Change.
First appeared (18-04-2022) in Anthroposphere: The Oxford Climate Review [edited pdf archived separately here by kind permission].
The Anthroposphere piece included 'RAIN' [here], an example of Mario's groundbreaking new genre Eco-Sci-Fi Flash Fiction.

Actor/ Creative Consultant: The Skin Tellers, live performance on the social significance of whales
for the Balena Project (London 2010) - London College of Fashion / Royal Academy of the Arts

Click here for Mario's RSA talk to key cultural institutions - Arts & Ecology Day, City Hall/ GLA

Click here to read about Mario's ecological sequence Bosco

Click here to read Mario's analysis of environmental inaction - Recipe for Disaster

Click here to read about science and creativity

Click here for the full-length film Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl

[Background info.: click here for Wiki entry on Chernobyl and here for Wiki entry on Ecopoetry]

Credit: Jemimah Kuhfeld

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THE ECOPOETRY STUDY PACKS:   Resources for Poetry Lessons & Creative Writing
Click here for UNEP World Environment Day 2008: Press Release

"You are unlikely to find a more relevant or inspiring Environment-oriented writing package for classrooms, seminars and tutorials.
These poems pull no punches - they will intrigue, delight and provoke at every level of emotion, learning and action."   
The Poetry Society

Increasingly, teachers and educators will have to grapple with environmental issues, through personal creativity as well as in the classroom.
The Poetry Society commissioned Mario to develop the following Environment-centred resource packs, designed for schools, young adults and poets...

1. Poetry : the Environment.   Four of the most pressing Environmental themes, comprehensively and inventively explored through poetry.
2. Biomimicry : Poetry.   A fascinating new branch of science, concerned with solving problems by imitating Nature, approached through poetry.
3. The Green Poetry Pack.   Poems and writing ideas with which to engage the natural world, soil and trees, and local self-sufficiency.

"A lovely thing... a wonderful, living example of principled engagement."   Peter Brennan, former Head of English (Latymer School)

"Applying poetry in schools in relevant ways... the kind of tangential thinking that poetry can cultivate".
Click here for an assessment of the Ecopoetry resource in BioInspired! [the Biomimicry Institute newsletter].

"Unique, brilliant and important".   The Poetry Society (George Ttoouli)

                Click here for the Poetry Society webpage for these Study Packs.                 Click here for Pack 1, here for Pack 2 and here for Pack 3, supplied as free A4 pdf downloads.

The Ecopoetry Study Packs were also part of the United Nations / IARC International Year of Forests 2011 Certification Program: click here.
For Mario's foreword linking poetry and astrobiology (commissioned for the project's main publication) click here.

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Making Nothing Happen - Mario Petrucci, Neil Astley, Melanie Challenger and Caspar Henderson discussed the role of poetry in a threatened world (London Word Festival, 29 February 2008, Bishopsgate Institute). Chaired by Roddy Lumsden.

Mario emphasised how poetry indeed makes nothing happen, firstly in that it persuades rather than coerces (i.e. poetry doesn't make anything happen) and secondly that it can foster stillness, thoughtfulness and the receptivities of Negative Capability (which means that certain approaches to poetry can engender receptive states of mind involving positive kinds of 'no-thing'). [Please note: the link/ online audio for this talk is now unavailable.]

Part 1 included Roddy's introduction, followed by individual presentations by Neil, Caspar, Mel and [in the final quarter] Mario.
Part 2 involved a Panel Discussion with questions from the audience; plus poetry readings by Mel & [near the end] Mario.

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Mario's powerful, award-winning poems on Chernobyl and fossil-fuel abuse are featured in Bloodaxe's ground-breaking Eco-anthology: Earth Shattering: Ecopoems.
Also, for the A World To Win review of this anthology click here.

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In November 2010, Mario was commissioned by the British Council (Spain) to contribute to the Festival Innovarte on Sustainability and the Arts...

Audio interview extract 7 - Sustainability: Politicians or Artists?
Audio interview extract 6 - Bridge-building...
Audio interview extract 5 - Art, Policy, Behaviour
Audio interview extract 4 - A future: transcending facts
Audio interview extract 3 - Making an impact...
Audio interview extract 2 - Biodiversity / plural language
Audio interview extract 1 - Art & Science: groping forwards...      Broadcast on Radio Nacional de España - all extracts by kind permission, British Council (Madrid).

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"Mario is mischievous - plays with science, art and ecology to create wonderful verse."     Poetry Swindon




Mario's poems on public hoardings stimulate eco-awareness [South London, 2008].

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TreeHouse Gallery: Ecopoetry Event (Regent's Park, 2009)

Some ideas & provocations...

Sustainability.   "My chief reservation about sustainability is that it can mean so many things to different interest groups. For one protagonist, sustainability may demand a massive redistribution of resources and wealth, coupled with radical reassessments of consumer values and economic practice; for another, it involves no more than modest adjustments to what we already do in order to accommodate a few of the most urgent ecological imperatives. As with Climate Change, then, there’s no overall consensus concerning the precise shape sustainability will take. ‘Sustainable forest’ can mean a rich and ancient woodland drawn upon occasionally but left mostly to its own devices, or it can be a perpetual pine plantation supplying wood pulp and with practically zero biodiversity in it. That’s why I’ve chosen mercury as a metaphor for sustainability. It challenges any assumption we might have that sustainability takes a uniform or consistent form among those considering it. The image of mercury scurrying across a surface is familiar to most people, and is apt here because it allows us to better grasp the current ungraspability of sustainability. Sustainability is a fraught and fugitive issue, beset by political and personal evasions and manoeuvrings. What’s more, the way in which sustainability can be made to adapt shape is both weakness and strength. On the negative side, if mercury is mishandled it becomes a toxic nuisance; likewise, sustainability can be distorted, misrepresented or misapplied, either through ignorance or cynically, to allow damaging practices to continue beneath a veneer of acceptability. On the positive side, if put to proper use in a careful and structured way, and if its complex nature is understood and worked with, sustainability also provides an extremely valuable, if not life-saving, tool. Mercury can communicate what the weather’s doing outside, or signal the degree of fever in the human body; sustainability, too, could be harnessed to monitor and sustain the wellness of our species in relation to its environment. Either that, or we can let the concept mess with our brains and slip through our fingers."   2011 Commission with The Ashden Directory project: 'New Metaphors for Sustainability'

Civilisation.   "The difference between civilization and destruction? When building a civilisation, citizens will do £3000 of work for £30. When ushering in social disintegration, people reluctantly do £30 of work for £3000. It's not cost-effectiveness that keeps the world going, but a communal willingness to embrace effective costs."

Eco-Apathy.   "It would be fascinating, were it not so tragic, to study how it is that we can motivate entire nations in national, but not in ecological, defence. The global crisis facing us now requires collective and individual mobilisation on a scale of both World Wars. We seem able to impel ourselves against an adversary (however diffuse and illusory) but not towards a friend. Perhaps that's what we've missed in Environmentalism: that, for all its contradiction and counterproductiveness, there'd probably be a stronger public response if ecology were framed in terms of a war! What on earth does that say about us, if the only way to get something done is to make Gaia the ultimate enemy?"

True Debt.   "Perhaps our most terrifying debt, in current times, is not an economic one at all. It may be our 'Reality Debt' that we should be most worried about. This concerns our remarkable ability to deny, throughout the majority of our systems and in our daily practice, what we know is more than likely going to terminate our civilisation as we now understand it. Who, or what, will bail us out with the massive reality cheque (those trillions of realities we now need to collectively reinvest in our individual minds and hearts) that will stabilise and harmonise our ecologies, psychologies, societies?"

Growth.   "Our modern conception of economic growth is folly. The way we've arranged things, when one aspect of economy 'grows' something else usually has to shrink (fossil fuel reserves, fish stocks, forests). There's still tremendous capacity for growth, but not quite in the sense we now (mis)understand it. Our version of 'growth' has become a knee-jerk desire, a dangerous and skewed addiction. What an economy, a culture, must do is evolve."

Oil.   "Crude oil. A sticky, magical, malodorous miracle - billions of tiny benthic carcasses crushed into an elixir, a potion, a brimming black lamp of possibilities. And we're drunk on it - bewitched by it. We just had to rub that lamp to flare up the dark. Now that the genie's utterly out, what is our last wish?"

"The saying goes: 'We are what we eat'. Perhaps it ought to be: 'We are what we burn'. Oil: rocket fuel for the collective ego."

'Unaccounted Positive Feedback'.   "A classic illustration of Unaccounted Positive Feedback can be found in e-mail and the paperless society. E-mail reduces resource use, right? But is that really so, when the total picture is taken into consideration? E-mail has led to widespread shifts in user expectations and a vast increase in traffic - some of it useful, much of it pretty pointless. Given that the printing out of e-mails isn’t uncommon, and that the e-mail ethos may also help to entrench and expand a high-turnover, quick-click mentality (thus supporting indirectly, perhaps, other forms of consumption and waste), it isn’t at all clear yet whether e-mail will effect an overall brake (negative feedback) on resource use or an acceleration (positive feedback). On paper at least, it seemed like a good Green idea; but if, eventually, e-mail proves to have increased our ecological impact overall, that would be a case of Unaccounted Positive Feedback."

Wake-Up Calls.   "Wake-up call this, wake-up call that. I'm absolutely tired of hearing about wake-up calls. Here we are, utterly lost to the world in our celebrity-and-consumerism-induced stupor, snoring right through the ballgame at half past four in the afternoon, industrial ear-plugs firmly inserted, while the half-dead receptionist has been ringing us since dawn at 10-minute intervals, the alarm clock set for 8am is twittering beside us like a dying bird as its batteries finally give out, the hotel porter's knuckles are bleeding from rapping so loudly at the door we've wedged shut with a chair, the hotel itself has just caught fire and a variety of airborne species, blinded by the smoke, are smacking themselves raucously to death at the glass... and still we sleep on. Wake-up calls? How many, exactly, do we need?"

Nouns tell us where our minds are.   "For an indication of where our modern collective attention resides, simply Google "100 most common nouns". The list I looked at had 'time', 'thing', 'school' and 'country' in the top 20; but 'cloud', 'sky', 'tree' and 'grass' were entirely absent. No animals or plants, no creatures, cliffs or outdoor vistas. No soil or sea. True, 'water' was 34 and 'air' crept in at 97; but 'car' claimed 65 and 'money' 38. 'God' was nowhere to be found."

Mobile Phones.   "Mobile phones - an invention designed to make the entire world Porlock."

Eco-Activism.   "What to do, then, eco-politically? Use that falsity of an imagined future as leverage for the less-false Now."

We need more Resources!   "More money for this; more money for that. The solutions to our ills aren't always about 'resources'. They're also about resourcefulness."

Life and Death?   "The reward for life is more Life. [Join the dots for death.]"


Escuela Contemporánea de Humanidades (Ecological talk, with British Council: Madrid 2011)

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TWO ECOLOGICAL/ CLIMATE CHANGE SONGS co-written by Mario...       

'LOVER EARTH', an Ecological song by Nyjon & Mario.

'BLUE', a Climate Change song by Nyjon & Mario.



copyright mario petrucci 2001