The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be

A viral Book The Once a

A viral Book The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be published From one of Canada s most exciting writers and ecological thinkers, a book that will change the way we see nature and show that in restoring the living world, we are also restoring ourselves The Once and Future World began in the moment J.B MacKinnon realized the grassland he grew up on was not the pristine wilderness he had always believed it to be Instead, his home pFrom one of Canada s most exciting writers and ecological thinkers, a book that will change the way we see nature and show that in restoring the living world, we are also restoring ourselves The Once and Future World began in the moment J.B MacKinnon realized the grassland he grew up on was not the pristine wilderness he had always believed it to be Instead, his home prairie was the outcome of a long history of transformation, from the disappearance of the grizzly bear to the introduction of cattle What remains today is an illusion of the wild an illusion that has in many ways created our world In 3 beautifully drawn parts, MacKinnon revisits a globe exuberant with life, where lions roam North America and 20 times whales swim in the sea He traces how humans destroyed that reality, out of rapaciousness, yes, but also through a great forgetting Finally, he calls for an age of restoration, not only to revisit that richer and awe filled world, but to reconnect with our truest human nature MacKinnon never fails to remind us that nature is a menagerie of marvels Here are fish that pass down the wisdom of elders, landscapes still shaped by ecological ghosts, a tortoise that is slowly remaking prehistory It remains a beautiful world, MacKinnon writes, and it is its beauty, not its emptiness, that should inspire us to seek nature in our lives.. Popular Kindle The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be I recently saw that J. B. MacKinnon's book The Once and Future World was shortlisted here in Canada for the RBC Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction, and I wondered at that term "literary non-fiction". Intrigued, I picked up the book and right from the beginning, MacKinnon showed me what it means:My childhood landscape was the northernmost tip of the rain-shadow drylands that sprawl up most of western North America, and I could have stepped out of my house and walked three thousand kilometers to Mexico and been thirsty all the way. It was rattlesnake country and black widow country, and as a boy I was brown-skinned and blond-haired and so much a son of that sun-baked earth that I wouldn't flinch if a two-inch-long grasshopper thudded down on the bare skin of my ribs as I ran through the fields.MacKinnon packs this volume with interesting facts, cites innumerable studies and books, but as he writes with such an expressive style and emphasises a philosophical approach to ecology, it was a pleasure to read; neither dry nor preachy.The first interesting idea I encountered was called "change blindness" or "Shifting Baseline Syndrome". Essentially, it means that we all assume that the environment we grow up with is the "normal state". Even if we have grandparents who tell us that the forest used to stretch as far as the eye could see or that the streams were boiling with fish when they were kids, we look at the last stand of trees and spy minnows in the shallows and think everything is still pretty wild and free. According to a study, even children who grow up in a poor and terribly polluted community in Houston think that their environment is the normal state and only a third of them agreed that pollution affected their lives at all. Like the frog in a pot of gradually boiling water, this explains why we're not all alarmed by the degradation we see around us -- we can't actually see it. The level of degradation is the next amazing fact: MacKinnon claims that we're living in a "10% world". The variety of species in the wild is 10% of what it used to be, their gross numbers or biomass are 10% of what they used to be, and the range that the surviving animals occupy is 10% of what it used to be. When we start talking about how things "used to be", talking about how to restore the presumed original natural balance, things become complicated: Some people think, to take North America as an example, that "used to be" means in 1491 -- before Columbus. But every corner of the Americas had already been changed by the presence of its Native population before the Europeans came. There's a plan to reintroduce bison to Banff, because they used to live there, but it turns out that that population was probably the Natives' attempt to herd and keep them in the natural corral of the surrounding mountains -- so is a penned-in group of bison a return to the natural or not? Or as others have proposed, should a parade of elephants be allowed to range free across Texas because mastodons used to be there before the Natives hunted them off?The next broad principle explored is that of "double disappearance": Every time a species goes extinct, or is extirpated from its traditional range, it has a profound effect on the human population who once interacted with it -- whether culturally, like the fading away of the Chandelours ("bearsong") festivals across Europe as the bears disappeared, or even physically, like the increase in myopia among populations that no longer need acute vision for hunting. Citing conservation biologist Michael Soulé, MacKinnon writes:When we choose the kind of nature we will live with, we are also choosing the kind of human beings we will be. We shape the world, and it shapes us in return. We are the creator and the created, the maker and the made.In an interview with Harper's Magazine, MacKinnon sums up The Once and Future World: We need to remember, reconnect, and rewild — in that order. We first need to take a careful look at the past in order to understand nature’s potential and to guide our decisions, for example about what species we might need to remove or reintroduce. We need to reconnect with nature, to become more ecologically literate, so that we are alert to the impacts of our choices. Finally, we can remake a wilder world.The concept of "rewilding" is the final idea, and although it might even be considered the point of the book (the "future world" of the title), it was the least developed to me. After sharing various cautionary stories about the unintended consequences of man's attempts to interfere with rebalancing nature (like on Macquarie Island -- a manmade nightmare of cats and parakeets and bunny rabbits), the ultimate solution seemed unclear. I can accept that I have "change blindness" and suffer from "double disappearance" to the extent that of course I don't want bears or moose or, I can't even imagine, elephants ambling down the street I live on. I understand that rewilding means not only allowing nature to recover and reintroduce itself to the spaces we've pushed it out of but also rewilding ourselves -- recreating connections to the natural world that will allow us to live in harmony with the species that do return to us -- but I cannot see how wishing it will be so can make it so.In the end, this is not a handbook of solutions, but as a philosophical overview, it was fascinating and optimistic and an enjoyable read. I wish I had the courage to fulfill the promise of its vision:The lone person on a wild landscape is a baseline of human liberty, a condition in which we are restrained only by physical limits and the bounds of our own consciousness.
The Once The first single from The Once s new album Time Enough, available now Intro New Video Graphic work by Jud Haynes Photography by Tom Cochrane Web design by Matthew Byrne. The Once and Future King by T.H White The Once and Future King is, obviously, a modern variation on the Arthurian cycle Allegedly, T H White s main source was Sir Thomas Malory s Le Morte d Arthur However, while Malory starts his hefty book with the story of Uther and Igraine, White hardly mentions Arthur s true parents. The Once and Future King T H White The Once and Future King is about White s experiences with war and tragedy these are mirrored in the childish foolishness and aged grief of the Wart, and muddled into the tragedy of Lancelot and Guenever It is not always an easy book It is very obviously a product of its own peculiar place and time, as all good Arthurian stories should be. The Once and Future King The Once and Future King is a work by T H White based upon the book Le Morte d Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory It was first published in It was first published in It collects and revises shorter novels published from to , with much new material. The Once and Future King by T H White, Paperback Nov , The Once and Future King is T.H White s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur, a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations. The Once and Future Liberal After Identity Politics The Once And Future Liberal is a punchy, no b.s guide to how the Democrats can make the future their own A must read Rod Dreher, The American Conservative After the disaster of November , a wreckage analysis is desperately needed.

  1. Journalist and author J.B MACKINNON coined the term the 100 Mile Diet, and his book Plenty is widely considered a catalyst of the local foods movement His essays on natural history have appeared in Orion, Reader s Digest, and other magazines He is based in Vancouver, Canada.

190 Reply to “The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be”

  1. I recently saw that J B MacKinnon s book The Once and Future World was shortlisted here in Canada for the RBC Taylor Prize for literary non fiction, and I wondered at that term literary non fiction Intrigued, I picked up the book and right from the beginning, MacKinnon showed me what it means My childhood landscape was the northernmost tip of the rain shadow drylands that sprawl up most of western North America, and I could have stepped out of my house and walked three thousand kilometers to Mex [...]

  2. A few weeks ago I cycled from our downtown neighborhood in Mexico City up to the foothills of Cuajimapla, which greets visitors with expansive views of the valley floor below On just a handful of days after the rainy season, which pushes out the city s infamous smog, the view of the valley is bookended by the massive volcanic range of Popocat petl the Smoking Mountain and Iztacc huatl white woman Riding down the steep grade at 50 kilometers per hour, those volcanoes felt so close that I could st [...]

  3. A fascinating and thought provoking exploration of humans relationship or lack there of with the natural world The book broken into three parts nature as it was, as it is, as it might be offers lyrical descriptions of the natural world as well as an examination of how human denial and change blindness has led to a world where countless species are either extinct or on the verge of extinction It concludes with suggestions on how we might learn to co exist with nature in a different, less destruct [...]

  4. The Danger Of Success What if the planet s ecosystem, as J.B MacKinnon puts it, is reduced to a ruin, yet its people endure, worshipping their gods and coveting status objects while surviving on some futuristic equivalent of the Easter Islanders rat meat and rock gardens Humans are a very adaptable species We ve seen people grow used to slums, adjust to concentration camps, learn to live with what fate hands them If our future is to continuously degrade our planet, lose plant after plant, animal [...]

  5. This fine book is an urgent and a thoughtful plea to counter the ecological degradation of our world and to move toward rewilding the lands in which we live Drawing on a sweeping range of historical, scientific and archaeological research, and on a vivid set of personal experiences from diverse countries, MacKinnon shows how, almost without realizing it, we have lost as much as 90% of the animal and plant life that characterized nature in its baseline state The sheer abundance of life, the autho [...]

  6. Amazing, amazing, amazing It completely opened my eyes to what has really happened in nature and also what has happened and may happen with humans as apart of the natural world or separated as we seem to be today Which should be changed so we can form a balance between the two so they re not seen as two but as one.

  7. J B MacKinnon grew up on the edge of a Canadian prairie I knew the prairie in the hands in every crevice detail that only a child can, and it was, for me, a place of magic He developed a healthy relationship with the living ecosystem, an experience that is no longer ordinary Years later, as an adult, he returned to visit home, and his sacred prairie had been erased by the Royal Heights subdivision He could find no trace of the red foxes that he had loved so much It hurt.By and by, curiosity insp [...]

  8. When we choose the kind of nature we will live with, we are also choosing the kind of human beings we will be We shape the world, and it shapes us in return We are the creator and the created, the maker and the made What an amazing book I really like to read non fiction books about the environment but am not the biggest fan of the books styled like a collection of magazine articles This book was really refreshing in that way.It is divided into three parts Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could [...]

  9. Probably my favorite book so far this year I loved that the book is free of the illusion that nature is somehow purer or in some sense better than humans, but instead looks underneath to show in often surprising ways how humanity has always shaped their surroundings and how the surroundings have shaped us It reminded me of Pollan s concept that plants and animals use humans to thrive even as we use them for our own ends He explores deeply the concept of the shifting baseline in our conception of [...]

  10. J.B MacKinnon s The Once and Future World was a very pleasant surprise If not for a nuanced interview I heard with the author, I might not ever have purchased this book out of the fear that it so easily labeled an essay on humanity s responsibility for ecological change being a preachy bore no matter how correct it may have been Instead, it is well written and informative and manages to reshape perceptions and biases without ever becoming shrill or hectoring MacKinnon starts from a very point th [...]

  11. MacKinnon uses an array of lenses to examine humans relationship with the natural world sometimes a journalist s sometimes a scientist s sometimes an artist s These are all important, but the author is most effective, when he forgoes the lenses and chooses to relate things from the point of view of a simple observer when he relates, for example, what happens in a city park during the sixty minutes he decides to give nature his fullest attention MacKinnon is at the edge of a pond in a city park T [...]

  12. I found myself smiling and delighted through many passages, and feeling a strange sense of loss through others fortunately, not overwhelmingly so This book was illuminating and valuable as a person engaged in city building activity I haven t and probably will never have the kind of experiences with nature that MacKinnon describes But I have been fortunate enough to scratch the surface of the sense of awe and admiration for nature which infuses his prose It butts up against a lot of my sensitivit [...]

  13. An interesting reminder that we suffer from landscape amnesia, forgetting that living memory and photographs are but a tiny slice of how the world has looked and changed over thousands of years.

  14. An excellent book I rarely give 5 stars on here, but this one deserves it The writing is great, and that plus the always interesting topic make it a page turner I won t say it didn t leave me feeling depressed at times, but it s an important thing to actually feel that pain a bit, to really acknowledge it That is the sign you still care, and maybe might start to act on it I really appreciated most the parts that discussed how our baseline feeling for normality in our local ecosystems has slowly [...]

  15. J.B has a way with words and is a wonderful story teller He makes a compelling argument that the nature we think is normal is just one slice of time that we re able to glimpse Conservation and rewilding of nature is just taking is back to that time and might not even be the normal state Even if we were able to bring it back to how it once was, we might not even want to live in or visit it A great thought provoking book about what natural means and his title captures it perfectly.

  16. I loved this book J B MacKinnon writes in such an informative and conversational way It felt like sitting on the porch watching the sun come up with a relative you ve never met, drinking tea and chatting then all of a sudden you re stargazing together It was easy to read and engaging So much of the information I learned on these pages stayed with me, probably due to the storytelling format.Great read, highly recommended.

  17. While there were interesting sections of the book, I did not care for the author s style of writing He would start going down an interesting path and then seemed to start rambling He was all over the place, like putting together random thoughts, and I would find myself getting frustrated and thinking where the heck is he going with this Really an odd style to put a book together.

  18. Goes back and forth from inspired to quite boring It also slows down in the second half as the as it could be part never really pans out It is the most important part of the book, but the least explored.

  19. I was instantaneously drawn to this book for no other reason than the title I had not read the 100 Mile Diet Mackinnon s previous well received work and really had no context for the content, itself Instead, I was drawn in by a simple cover, beautiful typeface, and a title that seemed to strike a chord somewhere inside me.I was right to have picked it up From the start, The Once and Future World whisks readers away on a journey through the eyes of Mackinnon in his home town, and from there, we a [...]

  20. My journey to this book reads thus I picked up George Mobiot s book Feral in a shop recently I was struck by the eeriness of the cover and the poetry of the first page but I didn t purchase it Fool Out of some niggling sense of regret at having not acted on impulse and through indecision as to precisely which rewilding book to go for as an introduction to the subject, I allowed myself to be swayed by online reviews and bought MacKinnon s book on the internet Tsk tsk.MacKinnon s book opens with a [...]

  21. If you like reading essays about nature from someone who gives a shit and don t want to be caught up in the collective amnesia that our society has about the natural worldohd if you are interested in how to maybe possibly start correcting our course as a species, check it out Whales for life.

  22. This novel was extremely engrossing and eye opening While the subject matter is quite dramatic and surprising the narration sometimes bordered on the melodramatic side, and this made the middle third of the novel the weakest part This novel opens and ends on very strong notes, however, and is absolutely recommended to anyone who loves nature and the idea of living in greater harmony with it.

  23. Magnificentoffering ideas on how to reconcile our modern day non natured lives with a far distant path teaming with nature as we cannot remember it because we have never known it that way A book about what an ecological human might be like and an imagined Lost Island, where nature is reclaimed as 12 percent of the whole where large beasts run huge swaths of land unhampered by humans Definitely food for thought I live in closer proximity to nature than most of my brothers and sisters in a small v [...]

  24. In a way this is similar to the world without us in that it imagines scenarios for radical restoration or rewilding by looking deeply into history and prehistory and the contemporary world where nature and humans have collided and interacted in various ways The world today is a ruin beautiful ruin, but a ruin nonetheless Compared to the abundance of life on this planet that existed, even what we think of as wilderness today is denuded of megafauna all over the world and of the sheer amounts of e [...]

  25. This book is divided into three parts so Part 1 really describes nature as it was , as it was before the human starts modifying its environnement, and also how it was on the american continents before the europeans arrive This part makes me remember about stuff I once knew, but kind of forgot, and I learn interesting new stuff too But something makes me unconfortable during the reading of the beginning of the book, I felt a kind of bitterness in the tone of the author, I don t know if it was rea [...]

  26. The Once and Future World is essentially a 200 page essay wherein MacKinnon encourages the reader to consider nature as it was before humans in order to better understand how it exists today, so that we might decide what sort of world we want to cultivate for the future MacKinnon discusses the innumerable ways in which humans have shaped the environment for better and for worse , and the astonishing ease with which we forget, both intentionally and unintentionally, about all the damage we ve don [...]

  27. How do I describe the feelings I had when reading this book The first part of the book contains astonishing information about the number of non human creatures who inhabited the planet If you could drop yourself onto that planet as it existed, you would be astounded by the differences between then and now Unfortunately, one can t do that, and the author describes lost memories He states that our views of what the natural world is like are formed by our childhood observations, even though it was [...]

  28. I read a library copy of this book and feel I must buy it to add to my personal connection The Once and Future World is a short, easy read due to MacKinnon s engaging writing style He paints a description of how amazing the world used to be with delights throughout the book On drives outside the city, I always wonder what the first European explorers experienced and saw as they traveled across Canada this book gives me a glimpse This is a great read for anyone who feels they don t entirely fit i [...]

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