One of the most promising trends in ecological awareness is a growing respect between analytically trained environmental scientists and advocates and practitioners of Traditional Ecological Knowledge or TEK. The Spring Creek Project has convened a number of gatherings that bring gather people with deep knowledge in one of the disciplines and a respect for the other. It’s especially fruitful when we can host one of those rare individuals who is adept in both Western science and TEK. Robin Kimmerer, mother, biologist, professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, is one of those rare individuals. Rarer still, she is a graceful and eloquent writer, and her new book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants is full of wisdom and beauty. Her elucidation of the “Honorable Harvest” and the ecological role of gratitude is a profound guide and challenge for mindful living. She writes, “The evolutionary advantage for cultures of gratitude is compelling. This human emotion has adaptive value, because it engenders practical outcomes for sustainability.”
Jane Goodall says about Braiding Sweetgrass, “Robin Kimmerer has written an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most—the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page.”
Robin recently gave a moving talk in New York for the Center for Humans and Nature. You can read the text of her talk here: http://www.humansandnature.org/earth-ethic—robin-kimmerer-response-80.php
And, even better, you can hear Robin speak Saturday, October 19, 7:30 pm at LaSells Stewart Center, C&E Auditorium. She’ll be joined by poet Alison Hawthorne Deming for an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Long-Term Ecological Reflections program. It’s free and open to all.