Down to Earth

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William deBuys is a prolific author of books documenting people’s relationship to the earth—which is too often destructive. In his new book, The Trail to Kanjiroba: Rediscovering Earth in an Age of Loss, he writes of an expedition to Nepal that he made with a group of doctors and other medical professionals, led by American Zen Buddhist Roshi Joan Halifax, and reflects on what it means to care for an ailing earth as doctors care for patients.
Bill deBuys will be giving a keynote speech at the Regenerate 2021 Conference in November.

Author photo credit: Ben Moscona

5’15 the Nomads Clinic expedition
6’03 feeling despair and rage about the destructions people have done to the natural world
7’00 rage as a normal reaction
8’09 thinking about the earth in terms of “hospice” or palliative care
8’59 species lost, places destroyed
9’48 doing as much as you can with the tools you have is all you can really do
10’38 strong back soft front
11’34 focusing more on care than on cure
13’07 build an ark
13’39 a park, a wildlife refuge, seed saving–anything that keep the biological world going
15’00 what happens if you bring back extinct species
15’13 preserving species in captivity
15’32 the unit of evolution is the ecosystem, not the individual
16’47 being attached to place, to the things we love
17’08 being unattached to place leaves place undefended
18’40 giving care once and then disappearing
19’11 doing “the right thing” in a context of uncertainty
20’16 the evolution of evolutionary theory
20’44 cooperation is a form of Darwinian fitness
21’13 the unit of evolution is the ecosystem
22’14 evolutionary notions of beauty
23’23 observing time embedded in geology
24’00 the top of Mt. Everest used to be the floor of the ocean
25’15 notions of beauty change over time, like agricultural lands
26’06 they way to keep moving is to keep moving
27’04 finding common ground across humanity
29’08 reflecting on the origins of the Quivira Coalition
29’39 old enmities and then coming together across differences
30’33 the “radical center”
30’57 focusing on your interests rather than your positions
31’57 beautiful meeting of the minds at the annual conference
33’50 waning faith in human nature…and how to deal with all the bad news
35’50 self-flagellation doesn’t do any good
36’10 how do you keep heart
37’00 writing different when you’ve slowed down a lot
37’43 practicing writing more deeply and less surface
38’16 what gives you hope
39’18 being ready when surprises and great changes take place