Judy Schwartz: The Reindeer Chronicles

Posted by Peter Donovan 2 weeks, 4 days ago

YES! magazine recently published a review of Judy Schwartz's new book plus some interview excerpts:

We’re at a Tipping Point—Toward Healing the Climate

If we focus on the best possible outcomes, journalist Judith D. Schwartz argues, together we can restore ecosystems.

Climate change is the undercurrent that drives and shapes our lives in countless ways. Journalist Judith D. Schwartz sees the term as shorthand. “It’s almost as if people think climate is this phenomenon, determined solely by CO2, as if we could turn a dial up or down,” she tells me over the phone. “We are missing so much.”

In her quest for climate solutions, Schwartz leans into the complexity of natural systems. As she and I talk, I come to imagine our climate as a beautiful series of overlapping Rube Goldberg-style cycles of carbon, water, nutrients, and energy. Those systems have been knocked out of alignment, sure, but as Schwartz sees it, repair is not impossible.

While mainstream environmentalism has historically pursued either preservation or conservation, Schwartz’s new book, The Reindeer Chronicles (Chelsea Green 2020) explores a third option: regeneration. She looks at community efforts to restore ecosystems the world over. “We’ve been trained to believe that finding solutions is a job for the experts,” she writes, but “Earth repair is a participatory sport: a grassroots response to evolving global crises.”

Schwartz is worried that climate change conversations center around terrifying projections. “What do you do with that? Cower under the bed?” She says collapse is unlikely to be a one-shot meteorite, and that gives us some leeway. If we assume we’re not always going to get things right, that leaves room for mistakes and the collective learning they bring. “We have so much more agency than we’ve been able to see,” she says.

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