‘We imagine how it feels to be a character, why can’t we imagine how the land feels?’

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Vital reading – and a generous mention of your truly – from Paul Kingsnorth…

Climate change and mass extinctions suggest that we have been telling the wrong stories. Writers need to reconnect with the natural world.

 

We had climbed, slowly, to a high mountain ridge. We were two young Englishmen who were not supposed to be here ā€“ journalism was forbidden ā€“ and four local guides, members of the Lani tribe. Our guides were moving us around the highlands of West Papua, taking us to meet people who could tell us about their suffering at the hands of the occupying Indonesian army.

The mountain ridge was covered in deep, old rainforest, as was the rest of the area we had walked through. This forest, to the Lani, was home. In the forest they hunted, gathered food, built their homes, lived. It was not a recreation or a resource: there was nothing romantic about it, nothing to debate. It was just life.

Now, as we reached the top of the ridge, a break in the trees opened up and we saw miles of unbroken green mountains rolling away before us to the horizon. It was a breathtaking sight. As I watched, our four guides lined up along the ridge and, facing the mountains, they sang. They sang a song to the forest whose words I didnā€™t understand, but whose meaning was clear enough. It was a song of thanks; of belonging…

Read on…

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