Beautiful and Abundant asks the rare yet essential question, What is your positive vision for the future? Author Bryan Welch urges us to stop focusing so much on the problems we face and instead envision a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable future. Welch is a Kansas farmer who raises goats and cattle on natural prairies, and is the publisher and editorial director of Mother Earth News and Utne Reader. He sets four criteria for a positive vision: It must be beautiful, abundant, fair, and contagious. He accepts his own challenge, offering an approach that he describes as “idealistic and unrealistic,” yet it’s also grounded and bold. His proposals include voluntary population reduction and the preservation of places of natural beauty. His meditations can be quite lyrical. “I’m not concerned with ‘saving the earth,’ ” he writes. “The earth is pretty tough. But I want my children’s children to see this planet and to marvel. I want poets and composers to record their inspirations in books and symphonies. I want our species’ love affair with its beautiful, abundant planet to go on for a long, long time.” May it be so.
This article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.