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Finding Hope in an Era of Climate Chaos

There is no shortage of stories about how climate change is affecting us now, rather than in some distant future. It can seem overwhelming to watch the news about extended droughts, extreme weather events, melting ice caps and not feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

So, can a book about soil and carbon give us … hope? Award-winning author Michael Pollan thinks so.

“Hope in a book about the environmental challenges we face in the twenty-first century is an audacious thing to promise, so I’m pleased to report that Courtney White delivers on it,” writes Pollan in the foreword to White’s new book, Grass, Soil, Hope.  “He has written a stirringly hopeful book, and yet it is not the least bit dreamy or abstract. To the contrary, Grass, Soil, Hope is deeply rooted in the soil of science and the practical work of farming.”

Pollan notes that White’s key achievement is “that it asks us to reconsider our pessimism about the human engagement with the rest of nature. The bedrock of that pessimism is our assumption that human transactions with nature are necessarily zero-sum: for us to wrest whatever we need or want from nature—food, energy, pleasure—means nature must be diminished. More for us means less for it. Examples of this trade-off are depressingly easy to find. Yet there are counterexamples that point to a way out of that dismal math, the most bracing of which sit at the heart of this book.” Read Pollan’s full foreword in the excerpt below.

In his new book, Quivera Coalition founder and author Courtney White sees hope in some of the groundwork being done by permaculturalists, ranchers, farmers, and citizens all around the world. Grass, Soil, Hope is White’s journey into what he calls “Carbon Country.” A country where we live, we breathe, and we eat. Why carbon?

“Carbon is key.  It’s the soil beneath our feet, the plants that grow, the land we walk, the wildlife we watch, the livestock we raise, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the air we breathe. Carbon is the essential element of life. Without it we die; with too much we suffer; with just the right amounts we thrive,” writes White in his prologue, which you can read below.

It is the hopefulness of White’s book that has garnered praise from key visionaries who have shown that it is possible to keep more carbon in the soil and produce healthier livestock and food, without the use of invasive agricultural practices that require extra water and pesticides.

Read praise for Grass, Soil, Hope from Allan Savory, president and founder of the Savory Institute and other environmental leaders.

The best part is that anyone can be part of the solution, because we all live in White’s Carbon Country. “Whether you live in a city, go to school, graze cattle, enjoy wildlife, grow vegetables, hike, fish, count grasses, draw, make music, restore creeks, or eat food—you live in Carbon Country. We all do. It’s not a mythical land; it exists.”

Grass, Soil, Hope: Foreword and Prologue by Chelsea Green Publishing


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