While I enjoyed some essays more than others and each essay has a strong personal involvement and bias, each one gave me a something to consider about the ecology of this land and the abuses we have inflicted upon it. Unintended and unexpected consequences, as well as "who cares" consequences. Even attempts to correct the mistakes often had other harmful consequences.
First published in 2013, Kimmerer and most scientists were fully aware of the ramifications of global warming/climate change on both flora and fauna. Eight years later, here we are experiencing the cumulative effects that scientists have been warning about since the climate models of the 1970s. The changes may have been gradual for years, but the effects have intensified and can no longer be ignored.
Kimmerer had not despaired in 2013, and her work continues to offer ways of reclaiming damaged environments, but I have to wonder how hopeful she continues to be. The catastrophic fires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts have, for the last few years, forced us to look at what we have wrought and yet, we continue to do the very things that have contributed to the mess we've created.
Do I agree with Kimmerer's basic philosophy? Yes. It is beautiful, scientifically sound, and logical: reciprocate--take care of what feeds and supports you, don't take more than you need, insure that the plants, trees, and animals that help humans survive can also survive and thrive.
I wish I could have read this book decades before it was written. Braiding Sweetgrass may be idealized at times, but it touches people in ways that statistical models cannot. Perhaps it could have helped curtail the some of the practices that have led us to this point. Perhaps it would have encouraged a more open-minded outlook and offered a better horizon.
The Wendigo metaphor of insatiable greed and hunger is an affliction we can all recognize: we want more, faster, easier, more convenient. We never have enough. Instead of recognizing this always wanting more as a flaw, societies have seen it as not only acceptable, but aspirational.
The book is long and the audio version is exceedingly long, but I want to believe that we will, not only this country, but the world, realize the damage we continue to inflict, and think about healing this planet.