Davis has certainly earned the dream job exploring the very farthest reaches of this giant blue planet we all call home. As an ethnographer, he has lived with and transcribed cultures as varied as the indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin, Himalayan villagers eking out a living on the side of Mount Everest and the nomads wandering the desert climes of Africa’s great Sahara.
Davis’ newest book, The Wayfinders, explores a vital concern regarding the quickening homogeneity of the world cultures. According to Davis, the myriad cultures of the world make up a web of life called the ethnosphere that is as important to the well-being of the planet as the biological web of life called the biosphere. As the sum total of all thoughts, dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations and intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness, this ethnosphere is humankind’s great legacy. The problem is that just as the biosphere is being severely eroded, so, too, is the ethnosphere, and as the symbol oaall that we are and all that we can be, this loss too would be completely devastating to the world we know.
Luckily, we have Davis and other explorers to help catalog and preserve these living cultures.
Authors Live: Wade Davis @ Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524-8200, Feb. 3, 7 p.m., free. SLCPL.org