Braiding Sweetgrass Summary – February 2022

Author: Robin Wall Kimmerer

Short Summary
Braiding Sweetgrass (2013) highlights the challenges faced by our environment and shares the perspective of an environmental biologist on mother nature. The author Robin Wall Kimmerer gives us a unique view of how we care for Mother Nature. 
braiding sweetgrass summary
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

The book Braiding Sweetgrass is written by Robin Wall Kimmerer. She is a Native American and an Environmental Biologist. In her book, she has taught us how we can take care of our planet Earth and gives the attention that Earth wants.

Moreover, she advises us to treat the environment as a family member. By that, she means to take care of it and just not treat it like a resource. As an environmental biologist, she has highlighted the challenges that our environment is facing and what we can do to control them.

What are our options? People are fighting to pass rules that limit our consumption of resources and encourage us to move to greener alternatives. Things are beginning to shift. But what if the real remedy lies in a total shift in our perspective of our surroundings?

Braiding Sweetgrass Key Points

Native Americans culture for nature

The author says that growing up as a Native American in modern America was a collision of cultures. Her clan and the country seemed to be at odds all the time. Kimmerer spent a lot of time with her grandma and the Potawatomi tribe when she was younger. She saw a significant difference in the way both civilizations viewed nature.

 She uses wild strawberries from a field near her school as an example. These kinds of gifts, she believes, are part of the world’s gift economy, or things that people give without expecting anything in return. However, it is customary in Potawatomi culture to return such gifts. As a result, she would return at the end of the season. The relationship should resemble that of two people who genuinely care for one another. They look out for one another because they want to, not because they have to. However, Kimmerer observed that most people do not engage in this type of gift economy.

Work in harmony with the environment

Native Americans are aware of and respect the cyclical pattern of life in their environment. Just like that when Kimmerer came upon a contaminated local pond where birds would become stuck in the algae, she used this method of thinking, she said. She tended to the pond for 12 years, cleaning it and removing algae. She tended to the pond for 12 years, cleaning it and removing algae. This form of caring develops into a vicious cycle. The birds are flourishing now, and as the pond drains into adjacent ponds, they benefit as well. Many cultures practice the Honorable Harvest, which entails taking only what they require and allowing nature to replenish and return to us. Instead of tossing paper away without considering the trees that provided it, she suggests thinking about the gifts this tree has given you and giving back by joining in a local tree-planting initiative.

The book gives us a lesson here that this is how humans commonly treat the Earth and its resources, such as mining with no reciprocation.

What we can do to protect nature in the future?

The book teaches that we can protect nature in the future only by teaching our next generation about it. Next-generation should learn how to take care of the environment and they should be aware of how important it is to take care of it considering the climate changes.

According to the author, a vow honoring Mother is one method we might implant this way of thinking in the next generation. This has previously been done in Native American schools in the form of a Thanksgiving Address, in which they thank Mother Earth for supplying us with water, food, and shelter. This may encourage kids to begin each day with thankfulness for what the Earth provides rather than a desire to consume more. It might even persuade them to donate.

Who would I recommend Braiding Sweetgrass Summary to?

Braiding Sweetgrass summary is recommended is every student to raise awareness of taking care of nature. It will motivate them to start showing gratitude towards mother nature.