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

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Thousands filled Centennial Square in June for the peace rally for Black lives, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
Survey seeks input on racism in Greater Victoria

Confidential answers to inform work with immigrants and marginalized people

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Most Read