You Don’t Have to Be Complicit in Our Culture of Destruction
“People feel a kind of longing for a belonging to the natural world,” says the author and scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer. “It’s related to, I think, some of the dead ends that we have created for ourselves that don’t have a lot of meaning.” In part to share a potential source of meaning, Kimmerer, who is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a professor at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, published her essay collection, “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” That book, which was put out by Milkweed Editions, a small Minnesota nonprofit press, and which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, has more than done its job. “Braiding Sweetgrass” has now been a yearslong presence on best-seller lists, with more than 1.4 million copies in print across various formats, and its success has allowed Milkweed to double in size. Given the urgency of climate change, it’s very unlikely that the appetite for the book’s message of ecological care and reciprocity will diminish anytime soon. “As we’ve learned,” says Kimmerer, who is 69, “there are lots of us who think this way.”
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