Believers, by Lisa Wells

Staff Pick

Seeing the natural landscape she loved as a child succumb to the concrete of suburbia “radicalized” Wells at an early age; she understood “environment” not as an abstraction, but “where we lived,” and dropped out of school in tenth grade, unwilling to be complicit in civilization’s “unsustainable expansionist system.”  Her thought-provoking and capacious book examines how and why we let this system turn a paradise of natural abundance into a “near dead world.” But even as that process also kills something inside us, we don’t have to live lives as depleted as that of the places we’ve desertified. Surveying a range of art and literature including Gilgamesh, the Bible, and Salgado’s photos of Brazilian mines, she tracks the shifting relationship between humanity and nature; from this conceptual foundation she explores a range of alternatives to mainstream capitalist business as usual, from desert “outlaws” living off the grid to alternative spiritual communities to environmentalists rewilding devastated landscapes. Ultimately, her fascinating book leaves us hopeful: if we can stop dominating and imposing ourselves like colonizers and instead cooperate and adapt, like migrants, we can restore both ourselves and the planet.

Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374110253
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - July 20th, 2021

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