Why spend countless hours indoors in front of screens when being in nature feels so good? In learning why and how to nurture our emotional connection with nature, we can also regenerate the ecosystems on which we depend for our survival.
Renewal explores the science behind why being in nature makes us feel alive and helps us thrive. Using personal experiences and cutting-edge research in cognitive science, this book weaves delightful stories that:
Reveal nature's genius and impacts on our lives from physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual perspectives
Explore how emulating nature is yielding design breakthroughs with biomimicry and biophilic design
Highlight the importance of compassion and coexisting with wildlife in designing our conservation strategies
Describe the significance of nurturing an ecological ethic that supports a reciprocal relationship with nature.
Whether you are drawn to conservation or are interested in the science behind human behavior, Renewal will help create a blueprint for integrating nature with a life of creativity, compassion, and joy."
About the Author New Society Publishing says "Andrés R. Edwards is an educator, award-winning author, media designer, and sustainability consultant. He is founder and president of EduTracks, a firm specializing in developing education programs and consulting services on sustainable practices for green building and business initiatives. He has worked as a producer, exhibit developer, and consultant for projects in natural history, biodiversity, and sustainability."
I think Renewal does a good job of fulfilling the mission that it set out to accomplish, as I think it stated well in the Foreword:
"Our choices are based on our values. Renewal explores how we can nurture an ecocentric ethic, which encompasses a reciprocal relationship with nature where we use natural resources wisely and enhance the biodiversity of nonhuman species."
I commend the author for the organization and formatting in the book, because this is something I deeply appreciate for its ability to make things easier and more enjoyable to read. Each chapter begins with a picture related to that chapter, a few quotes that hit the essence of that chapter, and of course, the chapter title and number. Then, there is usually a personal anecdote of some sort to start the discussion that Andres Edwards would like to get into for that chapter. This is then followed by a short explanation of the topic, usually supported with evidence of some kind. Then, the chapters are broken into sections, which go into specific nuances about the subject of that chapter. Throughout each chapter, there are usually a few nice and inspiring images related to the discussions of that chapter. Lastly, each chapter ends with a series of questions of suggested exercises to help with incorporating and practicing that aspect of ecocentric ethics into one's life or community.
I appreciated how thoroughly cited the book is, because that indicated to me how much work the author has done into understanding the topic at hand. I also liked the many quotes that Andres used from the sources he referenced.
The section at the end of the book Resources (in their own words) was particularly nice, because I like to have places to go to for further information when I want to delve deeper into certain topics.
I found the stories and research used to explain the many facets of what an ecocentric ethic is and how to incorporate it to be well-chosen, compelling, and highly informative. I appreciated the name-dropping in the book of about other people and their work, because it made it very easy for me to find out more. I liked the discussions on using beauty and emotion to inspire action the most, because I similarly do not believe that emotional beings (which I think most people are) will be compelled to act by data alone.
So, that was the being a fair reviewer part. I think the book was well-executed and accomplished its mission well. However, for the personal bias stuff, I found the book to be mostly preaching to the choir, for me at least. i found that a lot of information in Renewal was stuff that I had already encountered or learned about at multiple earlier points in my life from my own personal interests or classes or exploring Nature. So, I think this book would be good for people who are new to the concepts of land stewardship, ecology, human-nature interactions, and self-care. Using the Wheaton Eco Scale, I would recommend this book for people with knowledge around Level 0 to Level 1. I think this is an awesome book for getting started, and I think the numerous references, citations, and compiled list of resources will do a lot for swaying skeptical people and in convincing others to start caring for the earth and themselves more. For me, I think I will mostly keep this book and refer back to it for the Resources section at the end of the book, I'm always looking for new sources of wonderful information to devour on topics I know little about!
The book is deep and philosophical, i can't give acorns yet, because i am at chapter 3. But it has questions and activities at the end of each chapter, and one was think of beauty and nature and spend 30 minutes describing it through writing drawing, painting etc. I
The importance of beauty.
Beauty has many faces, as well as that, it is in the eye of the beholder. I can be wowed by the monstrous grandiosity of a 100% artificial industrial complex. I like to watch that too, but it's not beautiful as nature is. Beauty comes with humbleness, being an observer of something pristine and unique makes it personal and precious. A butterfly of a kind i've never seen before fluttering about and sucking on a leave, completely unaware of my presence. It's there, alive, continuously it exists, my awareness does not affect it's liveliness, however it's liveliness does affect my awareness. It creates appreciation, curiosity, it calms me to know that despite the madness of the human experience, the butterfly will continue, the beauty will continue. I was only there to witness it, because i chose to, beauty is like an always around ever giving present, silently waiting to be embraced.
The vibrant colors of flowers combined with their soothing smell, the vastness of a sky filled with curious cloud-forms, the waving of the pasture that has gone to seed in the summer-breeze are obvious examples of beauty. An old lonely dead tree, dead as can be, has a different kind of beauty, stagnant, dark, relentless decay, a reminder of sorts to enjoy as much beauty as we can while still alive, for time is short.
Surround ourselves with beauty and let it lead us into the flow of what there is to know and forget...
I've been very busy creating a garden to feed myself while enhancing biodiversity, so busy i forgot at times to appreciate the beauty it has brought forward. Renewal is the book that made me remember. I try to write a bit more lately, because i am so busy with my expanded permaculture project and life that i can't sit still, but it's so hot that i have to have some chill time in the shade in which i read Renewal and write. It's perfect because it approaches things differently than what i'm used to, in a complete way, whole spectrum in stead of just science, science is part of it, but also the personal, it is broadening touches a nerve and is very timely for me in my life.