Braiding Sweetgrass: Weaving together the gifts the natural world offers us
About the Discussion Series
Last year, we as Ridges staff were so inspired by the release of Paul Hawken’s book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation that we wanted to involve the community in our discussions of the book and the climate crisis. Thus, The Ridges Book Club was born. The first series of the book club focused on Hawken’s book, titled “Ridges + Regeneration”. We were shocked by the large participation we received from our community throughout the discussion series. We also recognized the need for more spaces to discuss the intersection of the climate crisis, our community, and The Ridges.
This year, we are excited to focus on another invaluable work that has influenced us in our personal and work lives. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer was published in 2015 and soon became a New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times Best Seller. It was also named a “Best Essay Collection of the Decade” by Literary Hub. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In her collection of essays that make up Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer uses her scientific training in confluence with her Indigenous knowledge to show the reader how much we can learn from organisms like asters, goldenrod, strawberries, and salamanders, if we learn to listen to their languages. Although anyone can relate to Kimmerer’s essays in Braiding Sweetgrass, the book struck a chord with our staff as many of the flora and fauna that Kimmerer writes about are found in our forest ecosystem. We look forward to learning from each other through discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass, as well as remembering the gifts of the earth as Kimmerer describes.
Book Club Discussions
Book Club discussions will be offered both in person and virtually. Virtual discussions will meet every third Tuesday night starting on January 10th at 6:00 pm, and In-Person discussions will meet every third Thursday night starting January 12th at 6:00 pm. The five meeting dates listed below will coincide with the five sections of both the original book and the Young Adult edition: Planting Sweetgrass, Tending Sweetgrass, Picking Sweetgrass, Braiding Sweetgrass, and Burning Sweetgrass. In conjunction with our meetings for each section, we will also send out other materials, such as articles, videos, or related content that we will touch on in our discussions. Our goal is to not only discuss the teachings within Braiding Sweetgrass but apply them to our own community in order to collectively and collaboratively imagine a better future.
“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us”.
We encourage everyone to participate in these discussions, including young adults! We are excited to listen to and learn from the perspectives of the younger generation during our discussions of the book. Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults explores the same stories as the original edition of Braiding Sweetgrass, making it easy for those reading the Young Adult version to follow along in discussion.