Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review: "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer

I heard about this book through some independent booksellers on the PBS Newshour. While it isn't brand new, it is vital reading if you want to make a positive difference in the world.

Braiding Sweetgrass; Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Milkweed Editions 2013

Imagine how different the daily operations of our federal government might be if each convening of the U.S. Congress began with our elected officials first agreeing that all people and all living things had the right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable life. How could they build solutions, if they agreed that the water had an obligation to be clean and to flow naturally so that it could play the roll it was meant to play for the planet and for the living beings. How different would we look at our planet if we saw ourselves as part of its natural processes and not separate from them?

Robin Wall Kimmerer is that rare human who lives both in the world of modern science and indigenous culture. Can the two intertwine and compliment one another? Kimmerer reveals her own path to combining new knowledge with ancient wisdom. She provides insight from ancient language that can name challenges our English language has no words for. 

There is no lecturing here, but there are challenges to a Western European mindset of conquer and subjugate. The Earth gives all that it can to us, what do we give back?

hummingbird nest in native Catalina cherry

This book has won a spot on my nightstand. I know that I will go back to it time and again, finding greater depth in my understanding and discovering new layers in its wisdom. For now, I have put my hands back into the earth to grow some of my own food. I renew my efforts to bring native plants into my yard to feed and shelter the flying families and "four-legged peoples." I will tend my "standing people" because the trees provide shade from the summer heat and clean the air for us all. 

Channel Island fox

"Reciprocal" is the word you will walk away with. In Kimmerer's stories I found insights into my own relationship with island fox conservation and the human relationship with island foxes.

What will you find in these pages to enlighten your own journey? 





Other Book Reviews:

"The Big Ones" by Lucy Jones

"Life in a Shell" by Donald C. Jackson

"Feathers; The Evolution of a Miracle" by Thor Hansen

"The Geese of Beaver Bog" by Bernard Heinrich


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