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The Path to Odin's Lake: A Scandinavian Soul Journey Paperback – 13 Apr 2015
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About the Author
Jason Heppenstall grew up in the Midlands and, after studying in London, got his first job working in H.M. Treasury’s economic forecasting department. Later he worked as an energy trader in the corporate world before dropping out to spend several years backpacking around the planet and teaching English. Having studied degrees in economics, computer programming and environmental philosophy, he settled on journalism as a second career and launched Spain’s first green-focused newspaper. He was later the managing editor of the Copenhagen Post in Denmark and a Scandinavia correspondent for The Guardian newspaper. These days he lives in west Cornwall with his family and is creating a sustainable forest garden on seven acres of woodland. He enjoys mushroom cultivation, sea kayaking and writing his blog 22BillionEnergySlaves.blogspot.com.
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Being familiar with 22billionenergyslaves.blogspot.com the author's blog on matters related to industrial civilization's decline, the philosophical parts of the book were not as interesting to me as his account of his solo camping trip to National Park in Sweden which had Odin's lake at its center. Having done a considerable amount of solo camping in North America, some of it in the rain, I was of course curious how the author fared at the same sort of adventure in Sweden. The author's campsite offered a communal kitchen, coffee, showers and a sauna, probably necessities in a place with much rain. How very sensible of the Swedes. I imagine that if you didn't offer some shelter in a place that gets a lot of rain you wouldn't have a whole lot of people using the campgrounds. Tents after all do tend to leak if rained on long enough and it doesn't take more than a day of that to send you packing.
So buy the book. If you never heard of global warming before or peak oil or the concept that all civilizations have an ascending and a descending phase and that we might be in the descending phase of our own civilization and that that might not be such a bad thing, given that industrial civilization inadvertently seemed to be ruining the planet we live on in order to make our extravagant lifestyle possible while at the same time killing our souls this book might be an eye opener. If you already heard of all this stuff, and reading the author's version might sound like preaching to the choir, then perhaps you can just shout out Amen and stuff ten dollars into the donation box. Or maybe you might just want to find out what camping in Sweden is like.
But instead of another doomer diatribe, or bunch of earnest policy proposals and to-do lists, the author gently points us back to a simple truth: we don’t really need to save the earth, since the earth will save itself (although it will take a bit of time for nature to clear up some of our messes). What we need to do is save ourselves from the consequences of our, often unconscious, behavior on this planet. And the best paths along which we can stumble towards some sort of salvation are those that take us back into a much closer relationship with nature.
For those who are aware of these great challenges, the book offers inspiration, humor and encouragement. For those who are new to them, the book offers an accessible and uplifting introduction to some heavy topics. Heppenstall also shares some of his own experiences as one who has clearly been walking this walk in his own life. And underneath it all is great travelogue.