“If you could host a dinner party and invite anyone, living or dead, who would you invite?”
I’ve always loved this little conversation starter. It generates good discussion, and often ends up revealing something about the responder’s values that might have otherwise gone undetected. Perhaps that’s why people tend to take their time before answering this question.
My answer to this question, however, requires no hesitation. In fact, I secretly long for someone to ask me this question so I can astound them with the speed and certainty of my response. My ultimate dinner companions? Easy: every expert I have interviewed for Leaf Litter. Why? Because I am convinced that if I could get these thought leaders, activists, and researchers together in one room, they could change the world for the better. Because at a time when I feel so discouraged by humanity, these people give me hope that maybe… just maybe…our species is not completely failing its way to extinction.
What are some of the common threads connecting my would-be dinner guests?
- They view humans as just one member of an interconnected community of living beings and things.
- They are fully aware of the state of our planet, yet they are fearless and hopeful.
- They understand the importance of communication.
- They present visions of the future that are not post-apocalyptic.
To Sandra Steingraber, who is in jail today because she stood up to the natural gas industry…to Robert Costanza, whose work is changing the way we define “economy”….to recent college graduate Dan Omasta, who, despite a challenging job market, refuses to let go of the idealism he held as a leader in campus sustainability…to Andrew Bryant, who fought for the survival of North America’s most endangered mammal, the little known Vancouver Island Marmot…to Daniel Wildcat, who is bringing the voices and wisdom of indigenous people to the forefront of environmental science… to Bob Peart, who turned the sadness and loss of an all-too-aware biologist into a passion-fueled mission to reconnect children with nature…to John Davis, who trekked, paddled, pedaled and skied through a 7600 mile, continental wildway to draw attention to the need for habitat connectivity–only to do it again… to all of the inspiring people I have had the honor to interview over the last decade… may the world join me in supporting and recognizing the brilliance, courage, and hope of your work.
Who would be your ideal Earth Day dinner guests?
Further ReadingPandemic Pause
E+D Podcast with Keith Bowers: The state of ecology and design in landscape architecture
Living Infrastructure: Green is great, but alive is even better
Water, Equity, and Ecology in Urban Planning
Composting Toilets: When Nature Calls
More From This AuthorThoughts on Threatened Species
Religion & Environmental Stewardship
Thoughts on the Ohio River Bioregion
Role of art in ecological restoration, conservation & regenerative design
The stark reality of post-apocalyptic film locations