It’s the end of the world as we know it

thhlumu69tI have been reading two books about the devastating effects of this now officially declared   Anthropocene era. The first is the now famous The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert ( Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2014). The other, an attempt to illustrate how we can live right in a time of environmental crisis, is Hope Beneath Our Feet edited by Martin Keogh (North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 2010).

Hope Beneath Our Feet is an anthology of writings. Some are good, some are a little too spiritual for my liking. There are two that stand out. One is by Ben Gadd, a Canadian naturalist. bengadd.com . His article, titled ‘Living with Losing’ starts with ” You are not going to like what I am about to say, but it’s the truth. We have lost. Those of us who have tried to save the world from the depredations of our own species have lost.”

It ends with ” If I have learned what is wrong with the world, I am grateful also to have learned what is right. I can live with that.”

The other article is one by the late Howard Zinn. www.howardzinn.org

It is titled “The Optimism of Uncertainty”.  ” I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning.”

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And now to “The Sixth Extinction”

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If you haven’t read it, why not ? It’s well written in non-scientific language and it is one of the most important intellectually accessible books on the subject. It deserves its Pulitzer Prize.

Part of the last paragraph of the book is this. “Obviously the fate of our own species concerns us disproportionately. But at the risk of sounding anti-human – some of my best friends are humans! – I will say that it is not, in the end, what’s most worth attending to. Right now, in the amazing moment that to us counts as the present, we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed.”

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At least learn about what’s going to happen, I implore you.

 

 

 

Author: urbanehorticulture

A native of England a U.S. citizen for the past 30 years, I have worked in the garden world as a director and designer for over 35 years. I am best-known for my groundbreaking designs at Chanticleer, an estate and “pleasure garden” in Wayne, PA, where I worked for 20 years. Career Highlights I started my gardening life at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England, where I was trained as a gardener. I worked in three other gardens in the UK, notably Portmeirion in Wales, Bateman’s in Sussex, and Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. At Bateman’s, I was responsible for the restoration of the 17th-century garden. I came to the U.S. in 1981 and was director and chief designer of Chanticleer in Pennsylvania for the next 20 years. I transformed a moribund private estate into one of America’s most exuberant, romantic and flamboyant gardens. Its glorious 47 acres have been celebrated by gardeners and horticulturists from around the world and, based on my designs, it continues to draw international visitors every season. After twenty years creating Chanticleer, I became vice president for horticulture for the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and, in 2006, was appointed director of the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. While pleased to be in Canada, my heart yearned for California and in 2008 he was appointed executive director of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. After a successful period in northern California, he returned to his home near Santa Barbara, CA where I operated my own design-consulting business. In 2012, I was lured back east by The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (founded in 1827) and appointed director of its private estate and garden, Meadowbrook Farm. I was commissioned by PHS to design the central feature for the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show, the third major exhibit I have designed for PHS over the years. Among numerous other responsibilities, I have been a member of the board of the Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia and a founding member of the business advisory board for the Flora of North America Project. I have designed gardens in Chicago, northern and southern California, and throughout the Northeastern United States. I have also been a consultant to the Garden Conservancy and to Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as well as serving on the horticulture advisory committee of Lotusland in Santa Barbara, California. I have been the Advancement Advisor for the Flora of North America Association and am now traveling the world researching, interviewing, and photographing for a book on gardens around the world. Books & Awards My n first book, The Encyclopedia of Perennials, was published in 1992 by Facts on File. I also contributed to 1001 Gardens to See Before You Die (Barron's Educational Series, 2012) and The Gardener’s Garden (Phaidon Press, 2014). In 2003, I was awarded the Professional Citation for significant achievements in public horticulture by the American Public Garden Association. In 2007, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society awarded me its prestigious medal for Distinguished Achievement. I currently live in the Bay Area, California.

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