by Tom Brown, Jr., with Randy Walker, Jr.
My new book, Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth, is structured around the “Sacred Order of Survival”: shelter, water, fire, and food. In a survival situation, if you take care of your needs following the Sacred Order of Survival, you have a better chance of coming out of that situation alive. For our planet to survive the ongoing stressors and changes to our climates and ecosystems, we need to look at what is happening now and approach caretaking and healing our Earth Mother as we would approach any survival situation.
“Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth” explores what one person can do as a caretaker and how much each act of caretaking and healing — no matter how small or seemingly insignificant — makes a positive impact. The book shows how every act of caretaking sends out a concentric ring of positive energy to the natural world that is a message of hope and caring, along with the physical actions themselves.
Shelter can be viewed in a number of different ways. Our Earth is a form of shelter, as are our bodies. In my book, I point out how humankind can learn from the squirrel; it builds a primitive shelter in which trapped dead air space is the key to retaining body heat and staying warm and dry. I also describe what kinds of shelter animals and birds need — the animals that are part of a healthy ecosystem.
For example, the mice, vole, and mole populations are indicators of a healthy or an out-of-balance ecosystem. By sign tracking and some exploring on hands and knees, the caretaker can assess an area. Where the caretaker finds evidence of large numbers of these animals, that ecosystem is in balance. When a caretaker seeks to help an area regain balance, planting forbs and smaller plants in transition zones will attract smaller animals and birds. The thick brush and undergrowth provides the shelter the animals and birds seek.
The importance of potable water is an obvious key to our survival. I describe how Grandfather taught me about the way his tribe honored and revered the life-giving properties of water. His people spent most of their time in desert regions, where finding good sources of water dictated where camps were made and what routes of travel they used.
“Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth” takes a look at the multitude of ways human activities are ill-using and poisoning our waters. In order to save what “good” waters we have left, we have to better understand how our waters have come under attack by industry, chemical run-offs, hydraulic fracturing, mining, and through the use of chemical fertilizers and GMOs in our food production.
Fire is one of the elements that originally began to separate humankind from all the other entities living on this planet.
This book looks at how fire was a vital tool and sacred entity to Grandfather’s people. Fire was more than a way to cook or preserve food, gain light in the dark, or as protection at night from packs of animals. It was seen as a living entity that could work miracles.
Today, our fires are way too big. And as a result, we have affected the natural balance of our planet’s entire weather systems and the air we breathe. This book looks at how we can make our fires smaller and less impactful to our environment.
Food is the most labor-intensive and time-consuming element of any survival situation, taking about 90 percent of primitive survival.
For healthy food to grow, the soils of life must be healthy as well. Chemical additives to food production might lead to a high production of that year’s crops, but the soils will be depleted through the use of chemicals. This approach is not sustainable in the end. The book looks at how smaller farms and family gardens are one approach that better sustains our soils.
Helping to Heal Our Earth
One person can choose to become a caretaker and healer in a multitude of ways. It then is up to the individual to decide what types of caretaking projects they feel drawn to undertake. “Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth” also presents spiritual tools that each person can use in their quest to heal our Earth Mother.
About the Authors
Author of Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth, Tom Brown, Jr., began to learn hunting and tracking at the age of eight under the tutelage of an Apache elder, medicine man, and scout in Toms River, New Jersey. Brown is the author of 16 books on nature. In 1978, Brown founded the Tracker School in the New Jersey Pine Barrens where he offers more than 100 classes about wilderness survival and environmental protection.
Randy Walker, Jr., has been a student and volunteer at the Tracker School for the past 27 years, focusing on philosophy, tracking and awareness, and the way of the scout. He was mentored by Tom Brown, Jr., and the pair have worked on various projects together, one of which resulted in the writing of “Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth.” Walker splits his time between the Tracker School and his home in Vermont.