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The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,161 ratings  ·  67 reviews
The economy and global competitiveness are the bottom line for society and governments, or so says conventional wisdom. But what are the real needs that must be satisfied to live rich, fulfilling lives? This is the question David Suzuki explores in this wide-ranging study. Suzuki begins by presenting the concept of people as creatures of the Earth who depend on its gifts o ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 12th 2006 by Greystone Books (first published 1997)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  1,161 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Joseph Mckenna
I will preface this statement by stating that I would want David Suzuki as a neighbor, and that his hopes and dreams are very similar to my own in many respects. However, I am left with an overall feeling of disappointment in his canonical work. There is no paradigm shift, no revolution in thought, only his lingering feeling of nostalgia for paradise lost and token suggestions to slightly modify our own behavior.

The Sacred Balance of the earth will not be achieved with individual's considering p
Aug 18, 2009 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed reading The Sacred Balance, it didn't really grab me because it was like having someone preach to the choir. I already identify with a lot of the ideas in this book about needing to refocus as a society on what is really important, how to reinvigorate communities and how to recognize that we are as much a part of the environment as is a tree. I was a little put off during the chapter "The Sacred Matter" because I felt that some parts were almost too spiritual & that there was a s ...more
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Sacred Balance is a stunning exploration of how our physical bodies are comprised of the four sacred elements -- Air,Fire, Water, and Earth. The author, David Suzuki, does draws from the many indigenous traditions around the world that have preserved the knowledge of the central role of these elements in maintaining the balance of life on this earth. Suzuki positions himself as a storyteller adding something to that world view. As a biogenetist, his contribution is to tell the story of the f ...more
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Our stories tell us where we come from and why we are here. In the beginning, these stories say, there was water, and then there was sky and fire, there was Earth, and there was life. We humans crawled out of the womb of the planet, or we were shaped out of clay and water, carved from twigs, compounded of seeds and ashes, or hatched from the cosmic egg. One way or another, we were from the sacred elements that together compose the Earth. We are made from the Earth, we breathe it in with every b ...more
Dave Angelini
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: environmentalists, anti-environmentalists, and fence-sitters
This is a well-spoken call to environmental thinking. I argue with environnmental causes, but I usually skip books that scare people into the need for action, or preach to the choir. But I couldn't put this book down. It reiterated old truths in new ways and made fascinated arguments I had never heard. Suzuki has a poetic and impassioned voice, but stays plain-spoken. He even raises the issues of overpopulation, often ignored in discussions of global warming and other environmental problems. Imp ...more
Travis Hosgood
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very detailed perception of mans connections to earth, wind, fire, and water. Not only to the elements, but down to the smallest micro organisms. Suzuki explains detailed relationships of the collective noosphere. Speaks of some dogmas of science and technology and some possible solutions for future generations. Let us understand this message, tell a friend and work to copy nature instead of bludgeoning it into submission.
Julie Fukuda
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This was not an easy read. There was a lot to ponder on each page, and had to be taken in small doses.
Gavin Esdale
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
David Suzuki and Amanda McConnell weave an impressive tapestry with this one.

It's exactly what it says in the subtitle: Rediscovering our place in nature, and it does a good job overall.

The book uses the four Aristotlean elements (Earth, Air, Water, Fire) as a structural device to illustrate the myriad of ways in which human beings are part of and wholly dependent upon the interplay of these Earthly elements, and it's fairly effective. Weaving together science, anecdotes, liberal use of quoted
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Most of the book felt like being back in science class. I enjoyed the chapters on love and personal stories of change. The chapter on spirituality was confusing and surprising. I didn't totally agree with it. I do think the main idea of this book is important - we need to start living with less waste and connecting with nature in order to improve it.
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
The content of The Sacred Balance is crucial for humans to understand and appreciate, and is told in a storytelling narrative emphasizing that everything is interconnected, humans are whole with our surroundings and our environment, and what we do to it, we do to ourselves.

However, I found his storytelling to be overly wordy, as if he was trying too hard to sound dramatic, his flow often erratic, and his content to be annoyingly repetitive. I guess that's unavoidable when you are talking about t
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very well-thought-out book explaining man's place in nature. Modern humans have been around for only the very briefest of moments in the geologic or biologic history of the earth. Yet in that short time we have caused huge stresses to the natural world upon which we are all (all 7+ billion of us) completely and 100% dependent. We treat our air and our water as dumping grounds. We poison our soils in order to produce unsustainable amounts of food and minerals. And we are reducing the earth's bi ...more
Wendy Jensen
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how Mr. Suzuki links spirituality with proper healthy respect and care of our environment, our Mother Earth. Too often we see recommendations that fall far short of behavior that would truly represent reverence for the place that birthed us and gives us sustenance. Just like ocean travelers who throw their garbage overboard, there are those who profess their enjoyment of nature while thoughtlessly contributing to its decline, all in the same breath.

Where I wanted Mr. Suzuki to go further
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecospirituality
Well written; scientific information presented in a mystical/poetic style. In "The Sacred Balance," Suzuki invokes the classical elements of life: air, water, earth and fire, to explain Earth's ecological balance. He discusses the ways in which humankind, like all the inhabitants of our planet, is dependent on the building blocks of life and the environment around us. And, he asks each of us to remember how sacred our relationship with all life is. Can our "modern," consumer economies be sustain ...more
Nov 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I had the privilege of seeing David Suzuki present a live lecture a few weeks ago in my home town. I was amazed at the conviction, the energy, and the compassion that he conveyed. Refreshing to hear someone so powerful, so influential, and so important speak live about the pressing environmental issues of our time.

While reading this book I could feel his energy coming right off the pages. This is another book that highlights the need for change and paints the picture all too clear what will hap
Janet Aird
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Suzuki shows how everything in our universe is connected, from the microscopic to the universal to the undefinable soul.

He incorporates quotes from the Koran, the Bible, Leonardo da Vinci, scientists, philosophers and poets, and covers everything from the origin of air to how a breath of air travels through our bodies, from the structure of a water molecule to the hydrologic cycle, from the way soil was formed to soil as a source of life, and more.

It’s very dense. I had to lea
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Suzuki argues that Environmentalism requires nature-spirituality, that a spiritual connection with nature is the reason and driving force behind Environmentalism. In beautiful descriptive language to follow, he lays out the scientific grounds for inter-connectedness. He understands the physical world well, but falls short when relating it to the metaphysical. The end of the book seemed a little shallow and preachy.
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
the book flows from the smallest matter of how we digest our food to the largest part of how our ecosystem work, giving a clear outline of the intricacies of how our Mother Earth "works". a deeper understanding of the Nature allows one to learn of our smallest action has always a consequence unimaginable. it nourishes our soul and re-affirms our faith in conserving and protecting the environment for a sustainable living future.
Rhonda Browning
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
This text examins the relationship of living things--humans, animals, Earth and the cosmos--in an environmentally ethical way. It touches upon science and spiritualism. It's an interesting read, but I found it poorly written, which at times distracted me from the message.

If you're interested in the human relationship to the planet, you might find this book helpful , but there are better ecocritism books out there.

Daniela Serrano
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and enlightening work about the general state of the planet, humanity as a species, where we belong on the planet and what it means to us in terms of sustaining us as a species for the long run. This book describes the importance of the things that we depend on for survival; water, air, soil etc. Everyone should read this book so that they can incorporate into their daily lives the changes that are necessary to save ourselves and the planet.
Allison Roy
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one took me over a month to read but I wasn't really in the mood for a book like this but once I open a book I always finish it. It was lovely in how it had a chapter on the each of the elements (air, earth, water, etc) needed to create delicate balance that created and sustains life. Then it was your normaL UGH HUMANS ARE THE WORST type things you'll read in pretty much anything dealing with the environment or conservation.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is written by a famous Canadian scientist/environmentalist/writer - David Suzuki. He talks about the delicate balance between the air, soil, and water on the Earth that provide all living things with what they need to survive. He emphasizes that there is a deep connection between everything on Earth and when we, as humans, turn our back on that connection we suffer greatly.
Nov 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in humanity's destruction of environment.

David Suzuki is a great writer. Rather than chastise society for destroying their very roots, he expresses understanding and empathy. Sukuki illustrates where we come from, our ties to nature and the destructive route we are headed down. If society doesn't wake up soon, what kind of world will we be leaving in the hands of our children? Grandchildren?

Good eye-opener.
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent David Suzuki book. Suzuki artfully portrays basic, but important and frequently overlooked biological realities in an attempt to illustrate mankind's firm link to the natural world. I'd classify it as a religious book for any environmental spiritualist. Reading this book reaffirms convictions of oneness with the universe.
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm sad to admit I've been reading this book for years, and am interminably distracted away from it, but I love it's density and the way to illustrates how we are intricately connected and enmeshed in our world. This is the year though that I will find a way to read it cover to cover, and even from the first few chapters, I would recommend it.
Jul 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
The sloppy writing in this book reveals the sloppy thinking that accompanies it. I am embarrassed to admit that I helped fund this book. I agree with the message, but this terrible book does a disservice to the ideas that it presents. The writing itself is perhaps the worst I have ever seen published, even by a vanity press. There are many better books on this subject, don't read this one.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
While this book was written in the 90's, it is still very valid today. Interesting approach with the first four chapters broken up into air, water, earth and fire. Unfortunately, a decade later we still take this planet for as disconnected beings apart from the natural world that makes up our whole essence.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, library, ebook
I think I need this in video or podcast format and then I'd love it - its like my brain can't hold written science anymore; I need to hear the interest in human voices. So I didn't retain a lot but that's prob just me.

Fire chapter was awesome. The formatting in my digital copy was exceedingly messed up but I endured.
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So amazing. This book will fire up the deep love for nature we have in all of us. Perfect explanation of how EVERYTHING is connected, and how we as a race have forgotten this. The chapters are wonderfully paced, the last chapter holding simple solutions we can all incorporate into our lives to aid in the re-balancing between us and this incredible planet. READ IT, YOU'LL LOVE IT!
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: conservation, ewa, ethics
Here is a scientific yet spiritual work from one of my favorite authors, who urges us to rekindle with our inner sapiens (wisdom) and find back our true place within Nature as opposed to despise it, fooling ourselves thinking that we are different, better even, and that we certainly don't "belong" to Nature...
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I have long been a fan of David Suzuki, and have read a few of his books. I very much enjoyed the scientific and ‘awareness of our impact’ portions of the book. I kind of had to drag myself through the more spiritual pieces. Interesting to read a book on this topic written 20 years ago, back before climate change was a phrase heard almost daily.
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David Suzuki is a Canadian science broadcaster and environmental activist. A long time activist to reverse global climate change, Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, to work "to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us." The Foundation's priorities are: oceans and sustainable fishing, climate change and clean energy, sustainability, and Da ...more

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“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life's breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.” 37 likes
“The environment is so fundamental to our continued existence that it must transcend politics and become a central value of all members of society.” 14 likes
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