Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World

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Like many of us, award-winning poet and essayist Lisa Wells has spent years overwhelmed by news of apocalyptic-scale climate change and a coming sixth extinction. She did not need to be convinced of the stakes. But what can be done? Wells embarked on a pilgrimage, seeking answers in dedicated communities – outcasts and visionaries – on the margins of society.

Wells meets Finisia Medrano, a misanthrope leading a group of nomadic activists to rewild the American desert. She finds a group of environmentalist Christians practising ‘watershed discipleship’ in New Mexico, and another group in Philadelphia turning tools of violence into tools of farming – guns into ploughshares. She watches the world’s greatest tracker teach how to read a trail, and visits botanists who are restoring land overrun by invasive species and destructive humans. She talks with survivors of catastrophic wildfires in California as they try to rebuild in new ways that acknowledge the fires will come again.

Blending reportage, memoir, history and philosophy, Wells opens up seemingly intractable questions about the damage we have done and how we might reckon with our inheritance. Believers demands transformation: if the Earth is our home, if our home is being destroyed – how then shall we live ?