“A hymn of love to the world,” says Elizabeth Gilbert about the next book chosen for the Knowing Our Place Book Club. Written by a scientist and member of the Potawatomie Nation, Braiding Sweetgrass brilliantly combines Indigenous knowledge, scientific knowledge and spirit, as it explores what we can learn from plants. It is not the land that is broken, she writes. It’s our relationship to the land. Her book describes how to heal that relationship without falling into despair. “Despair is paralysis,” Robin Wall Kimmerer tells us. She prompts us to take action as “restoration is a powerful antidote to despair.”
I encourage everyone to read and savour this book. The chapter on the Honorable Harvest should be mandatory for everyone who is interested in what we have been calling sustainability. “A harvest is made honorable,” she writes, “when it sustains the giver as well as the taker.” She asks us if we can learn to live as if we are staying. If you’re planning on staying, this book is a must.
Conversations on the book at the Bowen Island Library. January 26 and February 16 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.