Science, Social Commitment, Practical Life: Ecology as a Boundary Word

with Roberto Della Seta


Ecology is an elusive word, a word that bounds many different and often contradictory concepts. It is both a human and natural science, an epistemological reflection to better know the world and a militant commitment to changing it. It is a school of thought considered by some to be “anti-scientific” but more than any others, its constructors include many scientists. Often accused of being “anti-modern,” it has in fact anticipated many concepts today celebrated as highly modern: the idea that the economy does not follow a linear development, that well-being cannot be measured only through GDP… It is, in the end, ecology, a word split between an evocation of values, principles and a general and radically innovative vision of progress, and concerns linked to the practical, everyday life. So it has been since the start of its history, and the issue of food has always been one of the main links between these two aspects, between the planetary ecological problem and the human condition.

Roberto Della Seta has been working uninterruptedly on ecology for many years, studying it as a historian, seeking to practice it as an activist, trying to make it the base for a social movement of change in politics as well as styles of life and consumption. In short, he is an ecologist with many sides, just as the ecological issue is by nature multi-faceted and “liquid”.