The Roots of Beauty
Some might say it’s an objective matter: the undulating terrain, the mild and rainy weather in autumn and spring or the bio-geo-chemical characteristics of the land, the perfect balance between forests, vineyards, olive groves, cereal fields, and the characteristic cypresses, the farmhouses scattered throughout the territory… Others would argue subjective reasons: our gaze learned to appreciate these landscapes in the paintings of the great Renaissance masters, our minds recognize the proper functioning of ecosystems, and environmental ethics is transformed into aesthetics.
Beauty arises from a mixture of all these characteristics and the -mostly unconscious- recognition of a unique identity. Beauty reflects a complex social and ecological system. It’s a way of life based on respect for heritage and ecosystems. It’s about the inhabitants’ engagement with the land for generations, their respect for ancestors, adaptability, and resilience over time.
These landscapes were configured after the first Millennium and have been managed for centuries, evolving in time while maintaining green infrastructure, their greatest virtue. Such infrastructure builds a complex agricultural landscape and uses resources without depleting the land. It allows the inhabitants to have a good life and coexist with a rich and complex ecosystem. This balance between environmental, cultural, and economic values is supported by laws that have ensured protection, custody, and governance since ancient times.
As some philosophers of Environmental Aesthetics explained, beauty rooted in this kind of value is perceived when it floods our senses and souls to remind us of a good relationship between humans and the Earth.µ
Rural landscape category:
- Landscapes and Seascapes Features
Author(s): Esther Valdès Tejera
Photo Credit: Esther Valdès Tejera