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The Environmental Professional and the Touch with Nature

The Environmental Professional and the Touch with Nature

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It is usual for the environmental technicians to establish affinities among their work praxis, their principles referring to environmental preservation and his passions. This attitude has its roots in the human predisposition to seek a touch with nature, in a close relation which reaches aesthetic and existential spheres. However, the environmental labor is fulfilled with tensions, frequently leading to personal disappointments. Not few professionals have abandoned this career because of its inherent strain. Thus, it becomes important to critically evaluate how these topics are related to the environmental labor, discussing their professional, social, epistemological and philosophical issues.
It is usual for the environmental technicians to establish affinities among their work praxis, their principles referring to environmental preservation and his passions. This attitude has its roots in the human predisposition to seek a touch with nature, in a close relation which reaches aesthetic and existential spheres. However, the environmental labor is fulfilled with tensions, frequently leading to personal disappointments. Not few professionals have abandoned this career because of its inherent strain. Thus, it becomes important to critically evaluate how these topics are related to the environmental labor, discussing their professional, social, epistemological and philosophical issues.

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Published by: Vitor Vieira Vasconcelos on Jan 04, 2013
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THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONAL AND THE TOUCH WITHNATURE
 Available online at:
Legislative Consultant of Environment and Sustainable Management at the Legislative Power of 
Minas Gerais
 State, Brazil. PhD. student in Geology. Master of Arts in Geography. Specialist in Soil and Environment.Bachelor in Philosophy. Environmental Technician. Computer Science Technician.
Paper originally published in Portuguese, at:
VASCONCELOS, Vitor Vieira . O Profissional de Meio Ambiente e o Contato com a Natureza.Qualit@s (UEPB), v. 1, p. 1-10, 2011. Available at:http://revista.uepb.edu.br/index.php/qualitas/article/viewFile/1009/569 Proofreading of the English version by Carolina Dias, in December, 2012
 
Qualit@s Revista Eletrônica ISSN 1677 4280 Vol.1. N°1 (2011
)
 
1
 
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONAL AND THE TOUCHWITH NATUREO PROFISSIONAL DE MEIO AMBIENTE E O CONTATO COM ANATUREZA
Vitor Vieira VasconcelosPhD. student in Geology. Master in Geography. Bachelor in Philosophy. Technician inEnvironment and Informatics. Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto. Assembleia Legislativa deMinas Gerais. Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Phone: 55-31-3274-4446, 55-31-9331-1593.Address: Rua Goitacazes, 201/1402, Centro, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, CEP: 30.190-050.vitor.vasconcelos@almg.gov.br  
Abstract:
It is usual for the environmental technicians to establish affinities among their work praxis, their principles referring to environmental preservation and his passions. Thisattitude has its roots in the human predisposition to seek a touch with nature, in a close relationwhich reaches esthetic and existential spheres. However, the environmental labor is fulfilled withtensions, frequently leading to personal disappointments. Not few professionals have abandonedthis career because of its inherent strain. Thus, it becomes important to critically evaluate howthese topics are related to the environmental labor, discussing their professional, social,epistemological and philosophical issues.
Keywords
: Environment, Nature, Work.
Resumo:
É típico do profissional técnico em meio ambiente estabelecer afinidades entresua atuação em serviço e seus valores e emoções em relação à preservação do meio ambiente.Subjaz a essa atitude uma predisposição humana em buscar um contato com a Natureza, na formade uma relação íntima que envolve esferas estéticas e existenciais. Contudo, a prática laboralambiental está permeada de tensões, ocasionando não raro desapontamentos, o que tem levadodiversos profissionais a abandonar essa carreira. Propõem-se neste artigo, avaliar criticamenteessas questões, relativas à vivência no trabalho em meio ambiente, perpassando seus liames profissionais, sociais, epistemológicos e filosóficos.
Palavras chave:
Meio Ambiente, Natureza, Trabalho.
1. INTRODUCTION
The aim of the lines that follow is to address how environmental
 professionals’ life has a
tense relationship between the search for a contact with Nature and the actual practice of their labor activities. I write this paper based on recurring experiences along my professional life in theenvironmental area, seeking a deeper reflection on this chosen phenomenon. To that goal, Iintend to look for the reasons which can cause this phenomenon and for the consequences that itcan bring to the environmental area and to society.Therefore, let us start reporting the main issue. Since the beginning of my technicaleducation on the environmental area, I followed the personal situation of many schoolmates, andalso of some who were attending other courses on the environmental area. However, after sometime, many of them gave up from this work field, either before graduating, or either immediately
 
Qualit@s Revista Eletrônica ISSN 1677 4280 Vol.1. N°1 (2011
)
 
2
 
afterwards, after a brief working experience on this area. As this state of affairs occurred with asignificant part of the professionals with whom I had contact, this issue got carved in my mind
 – 
 for the loss of dear fellows on the process of environmental defense, as well as for the possibleloss for the overall society, if this situation were also happening at the various centers of  professional education on the environmental field, in Brazil and worldwide.When I happened to ask these companions about their waiver regarding the professionalcareer on the environmental field,
many of them would answer something similar to: “Sorry, but I
realized that the work on the environmental area is not what I thought it was when I chose this
 professional qualification”. At more detailed conversations, it was clearer that these individual
s,many of them freshly out of adolescence, had, initially, an utopian vision of the environmentalworker 
 – 
as someone who strolls along the groves, assisting wounded animals, and, after a brief and friendly talk, is able to convince people to adopt better ecological behavior. Let us not forgetthat the teenage is a stage for big dreams and ideas. Neither do I disclaim the influence of wildlifedocumentaries, which captivate a huge amount of people of all ages. Nevertheless, the matter of this paper emerges from the frustration of these utopias, fromthis tacit disagreement between the environment defense dream and the professional practice.
2. DEVELOPMENT
2.1 Evolution, adaptation and artificialization
It is not difficult to imagine about how, through the course of its evolutionary history, thehuman species adapted its biological structure to a series of environmental feedbacks. It is worthto note how such process of adaptation has been largely responsible for the esthetic reaction of human beings. It is hard to find someone who does not find it cozy to be and to look at a greengrass, where a brook flows, or an open landscape with pleasant shade of trees. That is, humanspecies enjoys favorable environments for its survival, with fertility and plenty of water, a suitabletemperature for the metabolic activities and vision width which makes it possible to foresee anythreat that approaches. In contrast, the fear of the dark and the repugnance to odor of decayingmatter are examples of how the danger or the contaminant has gradually become averse to thehuman esthetic sense.On the other hand, the degradation of natural environment becomes a huge loss, bothregarding our morality in killing dozens of living beings that should deserve our empathy andrespect, and also due to the loss of quality of life for human beings. I mean, the loss of quality of life but not an extinction risk 
 – 
as an answer to more catastrophic environmentalists who broadcast the danger to the survival of human species on our planet. As always, we succeed persisting through the hardest adversities, even if we have to replace the biological resources withartificial ones, at least in the sufficient measure to ensure the survival and order of society. Nonetheless, there is a cost, which is not always evident, although it is very high, because theartificial environment hardly fits our biological structure (physical, perceptual and mental) so wellas the natural one. We replace the natural landscapes with squares, the animals with robots, thefresh air with air conditioning, the sunlight with the lamp, the fields with asphalt, the humancontact with telephone calls and the Internet, the vegetables with the dietary supplements, and thelist goes on, indefinitely. Without major doubts, it would be more sensitive to seek for thereconciliation with nature, while there is still time for some reversibility
 – 
the problem is that wedo not know how long these opportunities will last.Therefore, what we experience today is an increasing artificialization of our environment.When we relocate a species (us), nourished for hundreds of thousands of years on fields andgroves, to the city, there is no way to avoid considering an esthetic shock. Not only visually, butalso regarding odors, thermal sensations and, moreover, cycles of effort, rest, sleep, hunger andsatiety should be considered. The sum of all these small misfits, also considering the interferencein the hormonal regulation, leads to the feeling that something is wrong, that something is lackingin our lives. Even if we do not understand exactly what it is.

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