I’ve long been a fan of Sarah Wilson’s work, first discovering her through I Quit Sugar and then her zero-waste cookbook Simplicious Flow. Her ethos of buying food in season, in as little packaging as possible, using every bit of it, and making the best use of scraps and leftovers really resonated as something we could all strive towards as a way of living a little more lightly on our one precious planet.
this one wild and precious life extends on the planet saving theme, starting with ‘our crisis of connection’, the paradox of how we are so disconnected from one another in a world that is constantly online. It then moves on to a discussion of the climate crisis, including how COVID-19 fits into it; followed by ideas for a path forward. The information within is based not just on one person’s perspective and despair but includes science, literature, and philosophy as well.
All of this is interspersed with descriptions of Sarah’s hiking trips in different countries around the world – and personally I found these to be some of the best parts of the book. As a lover of bushwalking, for several years I’ve dreamed of doing a multi-day-er. The English pub-to-pub walk over four days, hiking trails through the territory of the famous Heidi in the Swiss Alps; shuffling through sand in Jordan led by a Bedouin guide; they all sound like utterly amazing experiences, unique but all centred around putting one foot in front of another for hours each day and being enveloped by the natural environment.
Other ideas in the ‘path for our souls’ section include ‘cultivating big kindness like a Greek’ and ‘become a soul nerd’ which advises carving out time to absorb ideas from history, philosophy, anthropology, literature, art, poetry and music as a way to find our place; to find connection. Reading long articles, nonfiction, and good literature – or more specifically, having the concentration span to do this – is becoming a bit of a lost art and we need to practice it more often to ‘build the muscle’ of focus.
The book posits that after working on connecting with others, with ourselves and with nature, ‘now we change the world’. We need to #buylesslivemore, pay attention and do some critical thinking, build our resilience, become comfortable with uncertainty, and mobilise to fight for the kind of world we want.
The book is art and science, personal and political, desperate and yet hopeful. It reinforces the truth that if you want to save something, you need to fall in love with it. It is a book to be raced through in one sitting, then put aside to let thoughts and feelings simmer for a while before returning to it bit by bit for more thorough absorption. All with a bunch of beautiful hiking in between.