New Internationalist

The Wayfinders

April 2010

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. By Wade Davis.

Wade Davis is uniquely qualified, as National Geographic’s ‘explorer in residence’, to provide readers with a sense of what is being lost as global monoculture sweeps away hundreds of indigenous cultures – from the Penan of upland Borneo to the Inuit of the High Arctic. He has lived with these people and many others in terrains as diverse as the Andean Highlands, the endless sands of the African Kalahari and the islands of Polynesia – a frontline in the struggle against climate chaos.

His anthropologist’s appreciation of the skill and spiritual richness that it takes to survive in difficult habitats gives him the urgent awareness that we desperately need these wisdoms as our global environment continues to deteriorate. In a series of five lectures sponsored by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Davis delivers in crisp prose an indictment of a predatory industrialism that destroys cultures and habitats either through shortsighted arrogance or in order to plunder the earth’s dwindling stock of fish, timber, minerals and hydrocarbons. This is no dry academic work. Davis utilizes an astounding personal knowledge of indigenous life-struggles to pepper his text with colourful anecdotes.

This book will shock and challenge thoughtful readers across the political spectrum. It should come with a warning: highly dangerous for those with fixed comfortable assumptions about what is and is not ‘progressive’.


Available from the New Internationalist Australia on-line shop: The Wayfinders.

This column was published in the April 2010 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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Product information House of Anansi, ISBN 0887847668
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This article was originally published in issue 431

New Internationalist Magazine issue 431
Issue 431

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