Indigenous peoples have faced the end of the world before. Now, humankind is on a collective march towards the abyss. Global pandemics, extreme weather, and massive wildfires define this era many now call the Anthropocene.
From Brazil comes Ailton Krenak, renowned Indigenous activist and leader, who demonstrates that our current environmental crisis is rooted in society's flawed concept of "humanity" – that human beings are superior to other forms of nature and are justified in exploiting it as we please.
To stop environmental disaster, Krenak argues that we must reject the homogenizing effect of this perspective and embrace a new form of "dreaming" that allows us to regain our place within nature. In Ideas to Postpone the End of the World, he shows us the way.
Ailton Krenak was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the Krenak homelands along the Doce River Valley, a region where mining operations have severely affected the ecology. A socio-environmental activist and campaigner for Indigenous rights, he organized the Alliance of Forest Peoples, which unites riverine and Indigenous communities throughout the Amazon. He has consistently been one of the best-known campaigners in the movement set in motion by the Indigenous Awakening in the 1970s and was a key figure in the formation of the Union of Indigenous Nations (UIN), which brought together 180 different Indigenous groups across the country in a unified front to push for rights. In his capacity as a journalist, producing videos and making television appearances, he has pursued an educational and environmental agenda. His struggles in the 1970s and 1980s were instrumental in the inclusion of Chapter VIII of the Brazilian Constitution (1988), which guaranteed Indigenous rights to their ancestral homelands and traditional cultures – on paper at least. He was co-author of the UNESCO proposal that led to the creation of the Serra do Espinhaco Biosphere Reserve in 2005, and remains a member of its managing committee. He was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by the President of the Republic in 2016, and holds an honorary doctorate from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais. He is the author of two previous books, and was recently featured in the Netflix documentary series Guerras do Brasil.doc (Wars of Brazil).
Anthony Doyle was born in Dublin, Ireland. He holds a degree in English Literature and Philosophy and a master’s degree in Philosophy from University College Dublin. He has been living in Brazil since 2000, where he works as a freelance translator of fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of a children’s book in Portuguese entitled O Lago Secou, published by Companhia das Letras.
"Perhaps you're thinking we should come out of the COVID crisis in a new way, not just trying to recreate the old normal. If so, Ailton Krenak has some ideas that might send you down a new and useful path – useful to you, useful to the world."
– Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"Ailton Krenak's ideas inspire, washing over you with every truth-telling sentence. Read this book."
– Tanya Talaga, bestselling author of Seven Fallen Feathers
"Ailton Krenak's words, expressed with the visceral intensity of one of those peoples who 'still consider the need to stay attached to this land,' [...] fill me with hope. Amid the successive catastrophes we experience today, he surprises us once again by teaching that the fight for a better world, a world that can be called home, involves not only explicit activism, but dance, music, the stories we tell at night."
– Aparecida Vilaça, anthropologist and author of Strange Enemies: Indigenous Agency and Scenes of Encounters in Amazonia and Praying and Preying: Christianity in Indigenous Amazonia