Author inspiring readers to connect with wilderness

Book focuses on making democracy inclusive of nature.

  • Apr. 28, 2016 8:00 a.m.

By Jesse Laufer

 

Thomas Martin spent his Earth Day surrounded by nature, but he didn’t feel connected with it.

He was speeding past it in a car on the way back from visiting the Site C Dam site, fighting to stop the mega project.

Martin turns 81 Saturday. But the avid environmentalist and published author didn’t start advocating for the environment until he moved to Vancouver in 2001 after 30 years in Saskatchewan.

It was there, spending time surrounded by the pristine scenery around Lynn Valley, that he not only became infatuated with nature, but also met his wife Ana Simeon who works with Sierra Club B.C.

They moved to Victoria six years ago. Over that time, Martin completed his second book, From Democracy to Biocracy: Finding the River of Life, which was released this month.

Martin said the easiest way to define biocracy is “democracy plus nature,” but the book itself is about making democracy more inclusive of nature.

To Martin, one of the unintended side effects of democratic capitalism has been humanity’s separation from nature. He believes as a whole, western society has focused on money and machines for too long, and that though everyone recognizes nature, it is primarily viewed as a resource rather than our own environment. Even when people talk about saving the environment, that thought is often motivated by the need to save resources, rather than our connection to them.

Looking around a café discussing his book, he explained that without nature no one would be able to sit around enjoying their buzz.

“We return to nature I think by allowing ourselves to experience it in a new way, and I’m not just talking about going to a city park,” he said.

“I’m talking about hiking along the West Coast Trail, climbing in Manning Park, and you’re surrounded by nature, it’s everywhere. You begin to recognize that ‘I wouldn’t be here without it.’”

He did his best to write From Democracy to Biocracy not too academically, though the book is non-fiction. That said, at times he tries to make his point through stories.

The book is separated into two parts, “Outrage” and “We are part of the Earth.” His biggest literary inspirations are authors Joanna Macy and Thomas Berry, though he acknowledges his wife and the ecosystems they visit together as his main inspiration.

From Democracy to Biocracy: Finding the River of Life, can be found online at biocracynow.ca/bookstore.html.

 

intern@vicnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

A 45-metre tall call tower is proposed for Westhills Stadium. (Black Press Media file photo)
New cell tower proposed for Westhills Stadium in Langford

Tower will increase capacity in congested network: staff report

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read