Ecology of Our Worlds, published last week by the prime minister of India and president of France to mark the launch of the International Solar Alliance, is a 180-page collection of quotations, poems, and articles on nature and climate change. With quotes from Plato, Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, Hildegard of Bingen, Lakota chiefs, Chilean poets, and African proverbs, and even an article from the Ecuadorian constitution (article 71, to be precise), it reads like a cross between a critical theory course packet and an Earth Day prayer pamphlet.
Ecology of Our Worlds might not convince a climate skeptic, but it will make you feel smug about already caring about nature. Here’s a taste of what’s included:
- “Terrible wars and demonic diseases will decimate the human race and savage cold and scathing heat,” a foretelling of climate apocalypse from the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic and foundational text of Hinduism.
- “Nature is not a temple but a workshop, and man is the workman in it,” a quote from Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev’s 1862 novel Fathers and Sons that could be read as support for geoengineering.
- “The land should be left untouched: as it was in the Dreamtime when the Ancestors sang the world into existence.” Ecology of Our Worlds identifies this as “Aboriginal words;” it’s actually taken from Bruce Chatwin’s semi-fictional Australian travelogue The Songlines.