Friday, July 17, 2009
A Reenchanted World
I heard the author, James William Gibson, of A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New Kinship with Nature speak on a podcast of To The Best of Our Knowledge a week or two ago. The topic was radical gardening. Gibson's words about reconnecting to the natural world convinced me to find his latest book at the library.
A Reenchanted World makes the case that as a society we need to rediscover the vital connection between humans and nature while nature still exists. Gibson explains how many key players in environmental activism came to value nature. In many instances, the person encountered a large mammal be it whale, wolf, or bear... and suddenly realized the awe of nature, the power of nature, the importance of nature.
My favorite section of the book is entitled "Troubles in Paradise." It details the ways in which humans "love nature to death" ... for example, enthusiasts for off-road vehicles love nature so much they tear it up and often refuse to stay out of protected areas. Another chapter describes imitation wilderness like zoos or wildlife parks. Also fascinating was the look at some Native American casinos... did you know that some tribes have found loopholes in their treaties that allow them to trade their sacred land for land better suited to casino profits? (Wow, I can't even count the number of issues involved there...)
The book ends with these words: "The reenchantment of nature-- if coupled with the political courage to act-- offers a chance to remake the world." Gosh.
Recommendation: It's always interesting to hear about successes and failures of the environmental movement. Plenty of inspiration between the pages.