Friday, January 29, 2010

The Wayfinders by Wade Davis

Our society views the extinction of plant and animal life with alarm, however, we seem to ignore the rate at which ancient cultures are disappearing from the planet. As they disappear, so does much of the knowledge which they have accumulated over the millennia. The Wayfinders by Canadian Ethno-botanist, Wade Davis, addresses this matter.

Davis points out that of the 7,000 languages spoken today half are not being taught to children. Along with the language goes the social, cultural and intellectual heritage. An example is the Polynesian people who, while on the ocean, guide themselves by noticing thousands of details about the sky, stars, and water.

Davis discusses the role that location plays in culture and that destroying the geography also destroys the culture. He also notes how European culture has negatively impacted on so many others.

This book reminds the reader that the path we have chosen is not the only one, and other voices matter in today’s global village.

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