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Summary of Braiding Sweetgrass 

What’s inside

Discover the principles that can heal our relationship with nature, helping us to feel at one with the world around us and save the planet for future generations.

Key points


Mother Earth isn't just a literal expression

Scientists have been studying nature for centuries, yet it continues to bring surprises. For instance, recent research has discovered that the scent of humus makes us release oxytocin. Usually, this hormone strengthens the bond between the closest people, like mother and child. Why do our brains react to humus this way? What if our current beliefs about the environment are inexact?

In Western culture, we see the world through the lens of hierarchy. People are incomparable, occupying the top position while others are beneath them. Unsurprisingly, we often treat animals, plants, or land as resources. We all know the consequences of this attitude: global warming, deforestation, over-fishing, extinction of species, tons of waste, and the like. It's high time for us to rethink our relationship with nature.

What is the alternative approach? Native Americans believe people are the youngest on Earth; therefore, they should learn from other beings. Let's look at plants. They provide for themselves and sustain life on the whole planet. When insects attack a tree, it manufactures pheromones, warning others and encouraging them to produce defensive chemicals. Forests also have “social media” — fungal strands in soil. These networks resemble Robin Hood. They distribute the carbohydrates equally among all the trees. Impressive, right?

Initially, we were all aware of nature's wisdom and had a respectful attitude toward it. Yet we have abandoned this knowledge while adjusting to capitalistic society's rules. It's mostly forgotten but not lost. Native Americans remember it. So do our brains as reactions to humus confirm. Join our eye-opening expedition to recall the principles that will help to save the Earth for future generations.
The most powerful tool to protect the environment is changing how we perceive nature.

Science is a crucial source of knowledge, but not the only one

It took Robin Wall Kimmerer a long time to remember nature's wisdom. Although she is a member of the Potawatomi (a Native American nation), she had to adjust to Western standards during her studies. Many professors encouraged her to concentrate only on scientific data, stating that stories from Kimmerer's elders weren't based on evidence.
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Democracy of species is at the core of the indigenous outlook


Let's replace consumerism with a culture of reciprocity


How gratitude can protect the environment


Restoration of Earth and our attitude to it is a promising solution


We could lose Potawatomi's perspective on nature



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You’ll learn

About the best land healers
What a democracy of species is and how to reach it
Limits of science that indigenous knowledge can overcome
The challenges of the Potawatomi nation

What is Braiding Sweetgrass about?

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