Scientist and author Jared Diamond talks about his latest book, The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? And herbalist Holly Bellabuono discusses her book, The Authentic Herbal Healer: The Complete Guide to Herbal Formulary & Plant-Inspired Medicine for Every Body System.
This modern world isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, we have the Internet, antibiotics, and airplanes. But there’s a lot we’ve lost — healthy, uncontaminated food, clean air, and, perhaps most important, the myriad intimate bonds that used to nurture our human connections, back when we lived in small communities.
In his latest book, The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond says that in some ways, we moderns are misfits: our bodies and our practices now face conditions very different from those under which they evolved and to which they became adapted. He’s no Luddite, but he does say that we have much to learn from traditional, pre-industrial societies about living well, living healthily, and living within our means.
He examines traditional societies in such places as Papua New Guinea and the Amazon to explore how they deal with such issues as the care of children and elders, warfare, health, and taking risks — and applies what he learned to solving some of the more pressing problems of modern society.
Jared Diamond is the author of several very influential books, including the bestseller, Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Originally trained in physiology, Diamond’s work is known for drawing from a variety of fields, such as ecology and ornithology. He currently teaches geography at the University of California.
Read an excerpt from Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday
Herbal healing, though as ancient as humans, is one body of knowledge that has continued to thrive in the modern world. That’s in spite of — or perhaps because of — the dominance of the conventional pharmaceutical industry. Many see plant medicines as cheaper without harsh the side effects of modern drugs. And those who make their own herbal medicines have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what went into them.
Herbalist and author Holly Bellebuono directs Vineyard Herbs, Teas & Apothecary on Martha’s Vineyard. She’s the author of several books and numerous articles about plant medicines and she teaches an online course in the subject. Her latest book is The Authentic Herbal Healer: The Complete Guide to Herbal Formulary & Plant-Inspired Medicine for Every Body System.