This week, I’m pleased to review a book that I can’t recommend highly enough. It is a balm for the soul, even as it is completely down-to-earth and realistic: Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.
As a botanist and person of indigenous heritage, Kimmerer takes on a journey that challenges many of our assumptions about the human relationship to nature, and about the nature of nature itself. We learn lessons that give hope and resources for facing our climate emergency.
Kimmerer weaves togethers scientific observations of plants and plant communities, stories of her personal experiences, and traditional indigenous teachings and stories into a rich tapestry that helps you re-envision the human relationship with nature. In summary, we don’t have to choose between exploiting and ruining nature, or removing ourselves from the equation. We are part of nature and have been for millennia, we’ve just forgotten how to hold up our end of the relationship in a respectful and sustainable way.
As you probably know, right now is a very distressing time to contemplate the climate and ecological crisis. Europe is experiencing unprecedented heat and thousands of heat-related deaths. The clock is ticking in terms of our opportunity to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the catastrophic negative impacts of global heating. And yet national climate action of any kind seems doomed in the United States. Instead, we’re increasing fossil fuel production.
It’s a crazy-making time, but I’ll get back into topical episodes in August. I’m on sabbatical for the month of July, taking a break from writing in order read, reflect, and catch up on stuff I never have time for. Instead of full episodes this month, I’m releasing reviews of my favorite books that have helped me face the climate emergency (click here for the previous review).