Eat, Die, Live

John Allemang on life, death, and a good meal in between

Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis

By Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky

Spoiler alert: We’re all going to die. It’s just a matter of when. That’s the problem with climate change, and the seemingly hopeless discussions around it. If individuals aware of their own mortality still treat living as the norm and death as a surprise, why would they welcome warnings of a global catastrophe that is far less personal and immediate? Expert reports pile up like the grinning skulls that adorned the studies of medieval potentates. But the science-based memento mori has little effect on politicians who inhabit a short-term never-never land where doomsday predictions compromise materialist desires.

So why not despair? It’s an entirely reasonable reaction to unheeded debates over how bad things need to be before the end is officially declared to be near. In Learning to Die, B.C. poet Robert Bringhurst...