Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA
Sacred Sea

Sacred Sea

by Peter Thomson


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Sacred Sea

"Absoliutno blagopoluchnoe ozero Baikal!" the Russian scientist looking out over the great lake says. "Lake Baikal is Perfect!" And humans can never harm it.

For a man cut loose from his life in the U.S., Lake Baikal-Siberia's sacred inland sea-becomes a place of pilgrimage, the focal point of a 25,000-mile journey by land and sea in search of connection, permanence, restoration and hope.

Following a difficult divorce, veteran environmental journalist Peter Thomson sets off from Boston with his younger brother for one of nature's most remarkable creations, in one of the farthest corners of the planet. Lake Baikal, a gargantuan crack in the Siberian plateau, is the world's largest body of fresh water, its deepest and oldest lake, and a cauldron of evolution, home to hundreds of unique creatures, including the world's only freshwater seal. It's also among the most pristine lakes on earth, with a mythical ability to protect itself from the growing human impact-a "perfect," self-cleansing ecosystem.

A trip halfway around the world by train, cargo ship and rubber raft brings the brothers to a place of sublime beauty, deep history and immense natural power. But at Baikal they also find ominous signs that this perfect piece of nature could yet succumb to the even more powerful forces of human hubris, carelessness and ignorance. They find that despite its isolation, Baikal is connected to everything else on Earth, and that it will need the love and devotion of people around the world to protect it.

On their trek to and from Siberia the author and his brother also encounter a stream of people who are also lonely, displaced and yearning for something beyond the limits of their own lives, but many of whom are also big-hearted and deeply connected to their own communities and the world around them. What begins as a search for restoration in nature becomes as well a discovery of the restorative power of trust, faith and human connection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195170511
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 08/01/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Peter Thomson is Founding Producer and Senior Editor of NPR's "Living on Earth" and recipient of 19 awards for excellence in broadcast journalism; currently freelance environmental journalist and member of Executive Committee of Society of Environmental Journalists.

Table of Contents

Author's Note
Prologue: Blagopoluchnoe
Part One: The Sacred Sea
1. A Flash of Blue Light
2. Songs and Whispers
3. The Earth Splits, Water Rushes In
4. Into the Lake-Shallow
5. Into the Lake-Deep
6. Buryatia, in Black & White and Color
7. On the Trail with Pod Boy and Monkey Mind
8. Bad Roads are Good for Baikal
9. Traveling and Staying Home
Part Two: 180@
10. The Long Way Home
11. The Great Circle
12. Zigzag to Russia
13. Power in the East
14. Across the Sleeping Land
15. Angels & Ghosts in Irkutsk
Part Three: Baikal, Too, Must Work
16. One of the Best Enterprises in Russia
17. Righteousness, Uncertainty and the Point of No Return
18. Connecting the Dots
19. Dr. Hope and Dr. Despair
20. Blind Love is a Dangerous Thing
21. 360°
Epilogue: The Great Baikal Chain
Illustration Credits
Source Notes and Further Reading

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