Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the

Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the

10 thoughts on “Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures

  1. Amalie Amalie says:

    This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read It's a deeply thoughtful provocative and perspective on the gifts of indigenous people being destroyed or ignored by the modern world Wade Davis' prose is excellent and easy to read I learned so much about native people from every continent I think of the world The author is a man who has extensively traveled and lived with groups I have never heard beforeuotesThroughout all of human history something in the order of ten thousand languages have existed Today of the roughly six thousand still spoken fully half are not being taught to children meaning that effectively they are already dead and only three hundred are spoken by than a million people Only six hundred languages are considered by linguists to be stable and secure Worldwide perhaps as many as four thousand languages remain inadeuately described The cost of properly doing so has been estimated by linguists at 800 million roughly the price of a single Aegis Class navy destroyerLess than one per cent of the world’s flora has been thoroughly studied by science Much of the fauna remains unknown Yeta people such as the Haunóo forest dwellers from the island of Mindoro in the Philippines recognize than 450 animals and distinguish 1500 plants 400 than are recognized by Western botanistsSome botanists suggest that as many as forty thousand species of plants may have medicinal or nutritional properties a potential that in many instances has already been realized by indigenous healersIn this book I make reference to perhaps thirty cultures discussing at some length a mere fourteen There remain another fourteen thousand to visit and celebrate if only there were time

  2. Edward Edward says:

    I've read K David Harrison's two books on endangered languages When Languages Die and The Last Speakers and I think I would place Wade Davis's book Light at the Edge of the World in that same vein Both Davis and Harrison employ anecdotes from their own research and interactions with other scholars and members of the indigenous communities to which they refer in their respective books This in my opinion serves to further highlight the human element of language culture endangerment They both use the uniue characteristics of each culture language mentioned in order to persuade their readers of their importance in contributing to human knowledge and complexifying the human experience A major difference which I noted between Davis and Harrison is that Davis being an anthropologist and ethnobotanist focuses primarily on endangered cultures whereas Harrison a linguist concentrates on language endangerment I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in linguistics cultural anthropology or ethnobotany particularly in the context of minority cultures

  3. Samuel Beer Samuel Beer says:

    Davis is a compelling writer and reading this book did make me want to go to cool places and do cool things but i never feel like i ended up going where he was trying to take me It seemed like he was at his most effective when speaking in broad generalities It's bad when the government destroys the ecological milieu of a given culture People with good intentions can do bad things but it seemed like when he dealt with very specific cases Person X had effect Y on culture Z he presented accounts of the interactions that weren't particularly fair or that posited a strict outside inside binary that didn't allow for differing opinions about the contact by those inside the culture under consideration or that suggested despite his claim of the importance of self determinism in cultural adaptation that those who chose to embrace the contact and leave behind a traditional lifestyle had made a less valid decision or that didn't allow for the outsideglobalized culture contacting the indigenous culture to consist of differing mutually antagonistic groups Finally i understand the natural limitations that present to a male anthropologist but i would very much have liked to have heard female voices it seemed likely that all or at the very least most of the cultures discussed were very much male dominated It seems that hearing some female voices commenting on the loss of a male dominated culture would present a different reading experience from hearing a bunch of male voices bemoaning the loss of a male dominated culture And hey look i just wrote a review that makes me look like an ethnocentric indigenous culture hater Sigh

  4. Leslie Leslie says:

    Wade Davis uses words well I still haven't forgotten the cloak of conformity that he describes falling over the indigenous people he writes about He takes us to Tibet Australia the Inuit lands the Africa and Indonesia He has friends in these places people that trust him and his good intentions He calls the the world an ethnosphere a sphere of people groups amazing in in its diversity I learned a lot from this book about the despair and demoralization of so many robbed of their cultures And about the hope and work and faith of those fighting to preserve those same cultures There is so much to learn from the ancient wisdom so much for us to learn Davis doesn't advocate for people to be left in the Stone Age He knows that's impossible But he fights for the right of these people to be in control of their own transition not into our world but into a world where they can incorporate parts of the surrounding cultures into their own and reject what they don't want He's found examples of people doing just that It's isn't a choice of 100% old ways or 100% new ways but just acknowledging that cultures are always evolving and changing and it's the members of those cultures that should control how not outside governments corportations or missionaries The arrogance and ignorance of the Europeans who made initial contact with these people is astounding but not surprising So often they were perceived as savages to be enslaved civilized eduacated Non humans to be obliterated The ancient wisdom was not ignored that would reuire an initial awareness of the wisdom and a consious decision to ignore it The civilized white people weren't capable of even that The book does end with hope Much has been lost but much has been preserved resurrected strengthenedI'm glad I read this book

  5. Lauren Lauren says:

    Due to the size of this book many would simply think of it as a coffee table photography book While the photos are uite stunning all captured by Davis himself over the last 25 years in the field it is the text that is the real gem Davis currently researches as a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence but his career has led him to very remote areas of the world to learn about the distinct ethnosphere and the modern phenomenon of these vanishing cultures With amazing detail gathered first hand and through interviews he discusses his research in British Columbia the Andes of Peru and Bolivia the basin Peru Brazil Ecuadorlowland Orinoco settlements in Venezuela and Colombia Haiti Malaysia Kenya Tibet Australia and Nunavut among others with less detail He notes that great effort has been put towards protecting biodiversity while cultural diversity as well as language is being lost everyday With nods to many of the great anthropologists and scientists of the 19th and 20th century he recognizes that modern nations can enrich themselves by accepting and encouraging the inherent diversity not as failed attempts at modernity but as new opportunities to see the human experience in full color I have had the great opportunity to see Dr Davis speak twice at the National Geographic Society in DC both times sharing stories and research in Peru His insights have enriched my travels and reading this book made me long for Peru even

  6. Ayako Ezaki Ayako Ezaki says:

    I'm fascinated by this topic Reading this book for me has been such a beautiful experience because of the depth cultural expressions and and the diversity of world views of the indigenous communities that we are fortunate to share our world with but haven't unfortunately properly respected I'm extremely saddened at the same time by the examples of what has been done in the name of development and modernization to deprive indigenous peoples of their ways of life I feel that it is a responsibility that we all have to at the very least learn about these facts particularly those of us whose lives have been enriched materially by oil woods and other resources extracted at the expense of the peoples for whom their natural environment is their home I will enjoy re reading this book many times in the future as each story represents so much tradition history heritage and world views and beliefs so fascinatingly different from anything that I can easily understand It reminds me how so beautifully diverse our world is in a way that may be even beyond my imagination and that discovering ideas and inspirations that I would otherwise not have been able to find myself for me is one of the biggest joys of reading

  7. Holly Harding Holly Harding says:

    I loved this book Light at the Edge of the World is written by anthropologist and ethnobiologist Wade Davis It is a beautifully written reflection on the importance of indigenous cultures in our world and the dangers of extinctions these cultures face One language vanishes every 2 weeks when it's last speaker dies I can't imagine being the last of my tribe unable to communicate and share knowledge When cultures die we lose knowledge as a whole They take their understandings of scientifically undiscovered plants with them their traditions world history and so much These people with their dreams and prayers their myths and memories teach us that there are indeed other ways of being alternative visions of life birth death and creation itself When asked the meaning of being human they respond with ten thousand different voices It is within this diversity of knowledge and practice of intuition and interpretation of promise and hope that we will all rediscover the enchantment of being what we are a conscious species aware of our place on the planet and fully capable of not only doing no harm but ensuring that all creatures in every garden find a way to flourish This book makes me want to playfully explore the world and lose my ethnocentric world view

  8. Sarah Marika Sarah Marika says:

    This was a great book to get through in 2 days Wade Davis is an ethnobotonist I had never heard that term before He puts it that the ethnosphere is like the ecosphere but with human culture As people argue successfully for the preservation of endangered animals and plants Davis also argues for the preservation of endangered cultures Or rather the lessening of overwhelming force against them so that they be allowed to adapt or assimilate as desired He points out the vast scope of human intellect and memory and cunning that we lose when a culture that has evolved along its own path is suashed out I think the closest I ever got to perceiving this idea when I was in school was learning how eskimos have so many words for snow and how they measure their wealth in friends rather than dollars But that is such a superficial exampleCultures that can correctly and consistently identify hundreds of kinds of trees by the sounds that they make when the wind blows through them aren't magic or faking it they're f ing amazing listeners and observers It's both comforting to know that this culture isn't the only one still around and sad to wonder how soon it will be

  9. Andrea Paterson Andrea Paterson says:

    I've been a fan of Wade Davis for a long time and this book is a beautiful over view of his work and perspectives Fairly succinct essays are accompanied by photography and the whole package has made me want to do a lot of deeper reading into the cultures and ways of living touched on here If you've ever thought that the loss of the world's languages is no big deal or that it doesn't matter if indigenous cultures are subsumed into our technologically driven modern world then you need to read this book right now And there's just a lot of unbelievably interesting stuff in here Did you know that the Inuit can make functional knives out of their own frozen feces Neither did I And that's only one of a million ways that they make their frozen landscape work for them instead of against them Crazy This book felt like a really fantastic undergraduate lecture It only scratches the surface of a huge topic but it's an excellent introduction that doesn't have a dull moment

  10. Kristen Kristen says:

    This book was amazing I stayed up almost all night reading itIt looks at many cultures that are on the brink of extinction Thereis so much depth to this book even though it looks only briefly at these various peoples I myself an extremely interested in nomadic cultures and the specific skill sets they have acuired to live in what seems like hostel environments to me The book doesn't dwell on the idea that technology and our modern system is wrong It just argues that people of this planet should have a right to choose if they want to be involved in the systems that are in place right now People should not have been forced into extinction because of colonialism political will or because of power hungry corporations that are ripping up the earth and in effect destroying the land on which people sustain themselves and their children

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Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures [Reading] ➽ Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures Author Wade Davis – A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing CulturesFor renowned anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis the term ethnosphere encompasses the wealth of human diversity and all that traditional cultur A Journey Through the the Edge PDF/EPUB ´ Realm of Vanishing CulturesFor renowned anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis the term ethnosphere encompasses the wealth of human diversity and all that traditional cultures have to teach about different ways Light at MOBI :å of living and thinking In Light at the Edge of the World Davisbest known for The Serpent and the Rainbowpresents an intimate survey of the ethnosphere in striking photographs taken over the course of at the Edge Kindle × his wide exploration In elouent accompanying text Davis takes readers deep into worlds few Westerners will ever experience worlds that are fading away even as he writes From the Canadian Arctic and the rain forests at the Edge of the PDF \ of Borneo to the and the towering mountains of Tibet readers are awakened to the rituals beliefs and lives of the Waorani the Penan the Inuit and many other uniue and endangered traditional cultures The result is a haunting and enlightening realization of the limitless potential of the at the Edge of the PDF \ human imagination of life.