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A thought-provoking read: Half-Earth

annapolis green reads

The Green Reads book group discussed E.O. Wilson’s Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. What a thought-provoking read from a highly respected biologist and renowned naturalist.

half earthHe methodically laid out facts and observations in a way that reminded me of a spider weaving a web. Next thing I knew I was the meal at the center being devoured by the truth of our human limitations and the Earth’s need for more natural space. This wasn’t even new information to me so I’ve yet to discern why I felt so ensnared. If you are looking for a scientifically sound and comprehensive read on the condition of the natural world, this could be a great read.

His proposition is that we need to set aside half of the Earth in order to save the natural world. One member of our group thought of it as the adult version of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. The time we are living in has been termed the Anthropocene age and we discussed the appropriateness of the description. Is the goal of setting aside half of the Earth a good idea and a realistic one? We discussed that as well. Human fallibility was thoroughly acknowledged in this book. We need to resolve to do no harm to the flora and fauna around us which for us humans means leaving it alone!

In order to set aside half of the Earth, a global effort is required. There are plenty of global issues that are mentioned in the book and that we discussed, including population control and education. We also worry about how many people are separated from nature in their daily lives and how that can limit effective stewardship.

Our next book is going to be on environmental justice. If we are to reach people where they are and build a community doing our best to confront Climate Change, we need to have an appreciation of where they are! Perhaps Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney will give us some insights and actionable steps in expanding our perspective and our reach.

I just finished an excellent novel, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, and one point that came up was the white privilege of just assuming that you can join and belong in a social group of interest and that systemic racism in our country has prevented others from feeling that way. If you are a person of color (or not female or under 50 years of age), we really need you to help make this a more diverse group. Please contact me if you are interested in joining in the discussion.

–Karen Grumbles

about the Annapolis Green Reads book club


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