The great poet gets to grips with images of the planet in danger, even then

To mark the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the poet laureate Ted Hughes wrote about an associated photography exhibition to ‘show the threatened planet in all its glory’ – 210 winning shots from 32,000 entries (‘Your world’, 29 November 1992).

‘If Earth is a casualty of modern civilisation, that is not her only problem,’ Hughes began. ‘According to Wittgenstein: “If a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand it.” Unluckily for the Earth, mankind has difficulty finding a language that will not only interpret the Earth’s needs exactly, but will also realign mankind to these needs, like an irresistible magnetic field.’

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