Book Review: An Antidote to Doom


| May-June 2011

  • Beautiful_and_Abundant

  • Beautiful_and_Abundant

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.

Cover-165-thumbnailThis article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.

steve eatenson
6/3/2011 6:25:26 AM

It is said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. On a personal level, positive visualization may motivate and improve one's mood. I see too many who go overboard with the positive affirmations and take no further action. Nothing changes if nothing changes which means what am I going to do today to bring about the changes I want to see? I did a group once with a bunch of substance dependent clients. I was tired of seeing them treated like children by staff and reasoned that if you treat them like adults they will respond in kind. Some did. Some didn't. Far too many people in grown up bodies are mentally stunted and the problem is only getting worse due to environmental toxins, over population, too much stress, poor parenting often brought on by poverty, violence, addiction, declining mental and physical health. Far to often we keep making the same mistakes and don't learn from the past. It's a problem of lack of awareness and inability to self regulate emotions also growing at an alarming pace do to environmental toxins, over population, stress, poor parenting. Like a child who needs a parent to set limits on poor behavior, I sadly think the world needs a benevolent dictator that is smart enough to lay down the law and enforce it in a loving yet firm manner.

Jeff Hutner
5/14/2011 9:59:41 AM

For years, a similar question has been running around my brain, a question that takes things as far to the positive as possible, a question I wish were humaity’s focus in every field, school and our personal lives, namely, “what is your vision of the positive equivalent of the atomic bomb? We are at such a powerful moment in human history with so many interconnected challenges facing us that only big questions like these can move us into a new sustainable orbit. This question can be applied anywhere. How can greed and power be transformed into love, compassion and service? The answers to questions like these could form the basis of a radically positive action plan for humanity to implement through its best and brightest in service to life rather than a total focus on self serving or special interest serving agendas we now see in action.

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