Most of the environmental problems of our time stem from the morally bankrupt way we perceive our relationship with the natural world. There is much we can learn about a better approach from indigenous peoples around the world. In Wisdom of the Elders: Sacred Native Stories of Nature zoologist David Suzuki and scientific writer Peter Knudtson have assembled vignettes, stories, and ceremonies from tribes such as the Pueblo, Hopi, Sioux, and Navajo Indians as well as the Inuits of the Artic, Amazon natives, and the Chewongs of Malaysia.

This aboriginal wisdom provides spiritual takes on mother earth, paying attention to the natural world, the kinship between animals and human beings, plant powers, responding to the rhythms of nature, and caring for the land. The findings of Western scientists are juxtaposed with this material.

Suzuki and Knudtson demonstrate how the insights of the shamans and modern day scientists complement each other. But they go even further by suggesting that a spiritual perspective may be necessary to undergird a global environmental ethic and give it clout. Wisdom of the Elders is one of those rare books which generates both heat and light.