I’m on a podcast: reading Thoreau on “Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon”!

If it were my job to read poetry into a microphone more often, I would not be sad about that! I’m on at 24:00 and 40:00, reading excerpts from Thoreau’s journals, as he contemplates the wildness of the wood thrush, and then the music of telegraph wires.

My own contribution aside, I also think this is a great hour of radio! Details on the show are here; I really enjoyed the thoughtful responses to climate change, policy solutions, and civil disobedience, from Jedediah Purdy, author of After Nature, who weighs in on the question of, “What would Thoreau do?”, and Janet Echelman, the artist who installed the stunningly beautiful nets over Downtown Boston this past summer.

Favorite quotes from Jedediah Purdy:

Thoreau…says, “All of life is startlingly moral.” He’s talking about what you eat, but he’s also saying every interaction you have with the world is a model of a whole way of being in relation to the universe.

Climate change makes this very concrete, vivid, and specific, right? Every act of moving from place to place, staying warm, staying cool, getting food, is startlingly moral. It contributes to this pattern of remaking the world.

re: the question of: “Can we engineer our way out of [climate change]?”

An increase in our technological powers won’t stop the acceleration of our appetites for useless things that ultimately don’t satisfy us. And we need to ask how we want to live and what ways are worth living before we know what we want to achieve with technology and our other collective powers.

He also references this great quote from Thoreau, who’s talking about nature, but could just as well be talking about art:

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

Thoreau is talking about nature (or capital-N “Nature,” perhaps!), but he could just as well be talking about art. I say three cheers for both.

This entry was published on December 18, 2015 at 9:19 pm. It’s filed under Audio, Listen/Watch! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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