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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Promoting a Contagion of Gratitude 5/27/2020

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Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, Distinguished Teaching Professor and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, shares perspectives, her campaign to redefine the status of the natural world, and discusses her hope for "a contagion of gratitude" in a recent article published in the Guardian.

Robin Kimmerer

In the article, Robin explains that the key to reshaping society's views of the natural world is a shift in our relationship with nature. We must "view nature not as a resource, but like an elder 'relative' - to recognize kinship with plants, mountains and lakes." In the article, Robin explains her fight for reframing our relationship with the living world toward recognition of the "personhood of all beings" and engaging with the Rights of Nature movement.

As she does with both of her books - Gathering Moss and The New York Times Best Seller Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin weaves into the Guardian interview thoughts that explain her position that the world is a gift, a concept people cannot fully grasp, she says, until it is shared and demonstrated.

"Most people don't really see plants or understand plants or what they give us," Kimmerer explains in the article, "so my act of reciprocity is, having been shown plants as gifts, as intelligences other than our own, as these amazing, creative beings - good lord, they can photosynthesize, that still blows my mind! - I want to help them become visible to people. People can't understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how it's a gift."

Please enjoy the full article in the Guardian!