- BC Games
Le Bel's new book inspires us to live a larger life
Many of us see the Earth as a planet, but few of us regard her as a living, evolving being with whom we can have a rich and rewarding relationship.
In her newly released book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, published by Collins Foundation Press, Pauline Le Bel invites us to think again, to feel again, and to tell a different story than the dominant one that has viewed Earth as a machine whose resources are to be exploited and shaped for the greater glory of human consumption.
The story that she shares with us in a multitude of ways and forms in these pages is simple: “Earth is alive and we are part of her life.”
Simple, perhaps, but with monumental implications.
“We are on an evolutionary path, like any other species…Being anthropocentric—focusing on human needs—has been essential to the survival of our species," she writes.
"Until now. It has become more and more painfully clear that a focus on meeting human wants rather than needs endangers the life of our planetary home."
In recounting the danger, Le Bel doesn’t hold back her own heartbreak at the costs of our destructive path.
“I…weep at the devastation we as a society have afflicted upon the Earth, rage against the exploding of mountaintops, the poisoning of our waters, the fracking of the land, the killing of innocent people, animals, and plants with atomic bombs, nuclear waste, and toxic chemicals.”
And yet, while not shying away from the darkness, this is no “gloom and doom” book. If there’s one quality that it arouses in the reader, it’s wonder.
“If you look up, way up, into the giant trees of the Pacific Northwest, you will notice the canopy stretching out above your head and see the three-dimensional geometry of twigs and foliage and space.”
Becoming Intimate with the Earth is laced with such lyrical passages. While it is thoroughly researched and has intellectual rigour, it is also an enjoyable and artistically enriching read. Her imagistic poems lure us into each chapter, her personal stories offer an intimate glimpse into her own journey, and her invocation of wise words from the Earth’s bravest and most prophetic scientists, economists, mystics, and leaders inspires us to live a bigger life.
That is Le Bel’s core message.
“Much of popular culture, in its toxic consumer bubble, offers us a self-centered you-can-have-all-the-stuff-you-want kind of dream…True culture must include the land, the soil, the oceans, lakes, the plants and animals, because without their culture, there is no human culture.”
She also makes it clear that embracing a vaster culture doesn’t mean becoming an environmentalist or any other kind of “expert.” She doesn’t conceal her own, sometimes uncertain, efforts to walk her talk. Throughout the book, she suggests numerous “Intimacy Practices” to support our own efforts.
She also shares the voices of Bowen Islanders, “regular folks who care about the Earth, who tell new stories with their lives, who use their talent and their passion to make a difference…They range in age from five to 82; and they live in my neighbourhood. They are my Local Heroes. They inspire me. Perhaps they will also inspire you.”
There is little doubt that they will, as will this soul-stirring marvel of a book. Discover more and enjoy some music and refreshments at Becoming Intimate with the Earth’s launch at The Left Bank on Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:30- to 3:30 p.m.