Both Western science and traditional ecological knowledge are methods of reading the land. But they're reading the land in different ways. Scientists use the intellect and the senses, usually enhanced by technology. They set spirit and emotion off to the side and bar them from participating. Often science dismisses indigenous knowledge as folklore-not objective or empirical, and thus not valid. But indigenous knowledge, too, is based on observation, on experiment. The difference is that it includes spiritual relationships and spiritual explanations. Traditional knowledge brings together the seen and the unseen, whereas Western science says that if we can't measure something, it doesn't exist.
Reading her history shows that she has combined both worlds successfully.
I wondered if anyone has read her books?
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (Oregon State University Press, 2003) ISBN 0-87071-499-6.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Editions, 2013) ISBN 9781571313355.
I'm halfway through her book Braiding Sweetgrass, and I'm enjoying it SO much! The stories are real with a touching depth that never gets "preachy".
I come from a science background myself (B.SC. in Molecular Genetics) and I went into science because of a sense of wonder about biology and life, and I gradually had that stamped out through working in medical research.
Now that I've come full circle myself, into sacred plant medicine, permaculture and listening to the beings of the land where I garden, I'm really, really appreciating the bridge that Robin builds between these 2 ways of knowing. It's giving me permission to use both, without making my science brain "bad", as I might have done before.
Also, I recently heard Robin interviewed by Krista Tippett in the "On Being" podcast. Here is the link to that interview...
I love this quote from her...
“Science polishes the gift of seeing, indigenous traditions work with gifts of listening and language.”
Destiny's powerful hand has made the bed of my future. And this tiny ad:
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