Some heavy reading on the ecological and climate emergency leads Cédric, a forty-something painter living in Paris, to question his life choices. In a state of vulnerability, racked with eco-anxiety, he is contacted by the spirit of Henry David Thoreau: writer, environmentalist and the author of Walden.
Two centuries separate Cédric from the author who, depressed by the narrow materialism of industrialised America, retreated to a single-room cabin in the woods by Walden Pond. But as their Socratic dialogue continues, Cédric notices striking parallels between the suffocating commercialism of mid-19th-century America and the unsustainable, alienating, tech-driven consumerism of today. Both societies are shaped by a single priority – economic growth – that not only squanders the earth’s resources but separates human beings from nature. Inspired by Thoreau’s return to nature, Cédric begins dreaming of his own retreat from urban life: his own self-sufficient cabin in the woods.
In Thoreau and Me, Cédric Taling explores the causes and consequences of today’s climate emergency. Blending humour, philosophy and fiction, Taling asks how, at a time of unprecedented ecological and climate breakdown, we can learn to live with and respond to eco-anxiety.