Title: The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis
Author: Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Penguin Allen Lane
Genre: Nonfiction, Environment & Nature, History Pages: 350
Once again, Amitav Ghosh shows us the mirror. On perhaps every single page. It is really up to us if we want to see it or not. He speaks about climate change with an urgency that is pervasive throughout the book. He doesn’t cut corners and tells it like it is.
The Nutmeg’s Curse begins with how colonialism and imperialism has been responsible for mass exterminations of indigenous communities, of course to serve their own means, whose end is only greed. It then moves on to talk about capitalism being a culprit when it comes to large scale environmental damages leading to the climate change crisis at hand.
Only Amitav Ghosh can trace climate change to the 17th century and make it clear for us how it isn’t much of a recent phenomenon. The book speaks of how the Western world looked at the earth only as a resource giver and not someone with life and maybe that’s why they could never understand nature the way indigenous communities did and continue doing so.
Placing the humble nutmeg at the center of this book, Ghosh explains portrayal of human greed, lust for power, and the convenience with which most people don’t even consider climate change crisis as crisis. They just think it is a matter of slight inconvenience.
The Nutmeg’s Curse takes the reader back and forth – through various centuries, to enable the understanding of what also can be done to perhaps work with the situation. Ghosh’s writing is incisive, comes from a place of great wisdom and perspective, and more than anything else it is urgent. You can almost hear the tone of emergency in his sentences and chapters.
Ghosh through this book and the ones written in the past on the climate is himself trying to search for answers. The Nutmeg’s Curse is real, scary even, but also hopeful at the end of it all.