Life, Money and Illusion
Book Tour Review

by: Michael Elrick, Guelph

On Monday, November 22, Mike Nickerson's book tour was co-hosted by the Guelph Greens and the Apocalypse Book Club at the Unitarian Church on York Road. With approximately 40 participants, the evening was a success, both in terms of a mindful presentation, and in book sales.

Mike's most recent book, "Life, Money and Illusion - Living on Earth as if we want to Stay" is a culmination of 10 years research. A complimentary and critical introduction was given by John McMurtry, a local University Professor, who helped edit the book and appears to have been a long time friend and colleague. When the floor was handed over to Mike Nickerson, he began by asking everyone to introduce him or herself and provide a brief background as to what brought them here this evening. It was a moment that defined the inclusive and community oriented person who Mike Nickerson is. Following this, Mike gave an overview of his book. He spoke confidently and clearly from a half page of notes and what appeared to be a mental file folder from a lifetime of asking questions. He took us through his understanding of today's economics, today's ecology, and today's illusionary divide that humans have between the two. A highlight was his smattering of visual images, metaphors and stories, which helped clarify his ideas and bring concepts into greater focus. He allowed us to, as one exercise demonstrated; see what it is we are looking for in order to find sustainable solutions to our human existence on this planet.

Mike Nickerson spoke of the years of research with a group in Ottawa that eventually led to the publishing of this book. It was clear that he had been in the sustainability business for a long time, definitely prior to the 'coining' of the word by the Brundtland Commission of the late 80's. He handed out his calling card which is an 8 point guide to "A Better Way to Live", but in true Mike fashion, did not read it aloud. "Seventy-seven words", he said. His inclusive attitude provided us with an opportunity to choose, but was not something he would ram down our throats from the pulpit.

The timing of Mike Nickerson's book is based on evidence that we, as a human species are facing a fundamental change in our relationship with the earth. To illustrate the point, he told a story of fish.

"Throughout history, the amount of fish that people could catch was limited only by how much time and equipment we invested in fishing. Today, the amount of fish we catch is limited by the number of fish in the sea We face similar limitations with forests, food lands, fresh water, fossil fuels and the Earth's ability to absorb waste."

How we will we face the coming "change" of relationship is the essence and challenge of his new book.

The evening ended with open questions and discussion. Mike was at his best as he engaged with others. A definitive moment came when he specifically made time to respond to an individual who had lost hope and challenged Mike's optimistic outlook. Mike stated that he has no doubt that humans will survive. However, when the calamity arrives, "Where will we catch the fall?" Mike finished his response to this individual with a story of Chicken Little and his friend Sparrow. After Chicken Little had proclaimed his famous line that the sky is falling, he came upon Sparrow lying on his back with his feet in the air. What are you doing Sparrow, asked Chicken Little? "One does what one can", replied Sparrow. With the publishing of his new book, it was clear Mike Nickerson is "doing what he can".

Mike Nickerson's book is published by Seven Generations Publishing
Order from:
Seven Generations Publishing
2799 McDonald's Corners Road,
RR#3 Lanark, Ontario K0G 1K0