A "magnificent, empowering" (Bill McKibben) memoir about a woman spearheading a global initiative to heal the world’s rainforests and the communities who depend on them
When Kinari Webb first traveled to Indonesian Borneo at 21 to study orangutans, she was both awestruck by the beauty of her surroundings and heartbroken by the rainforest destruction she witnessed. As she got to know the local communities, she realized that their need to pay for expensive healthcare led directly to the rampant logging, which in turn imperiled their health and safety even further. Webb realized her true calling was at the intersection of medicine and conservation.
After graduating with honors from the Yale School of Medicine, Webb returned to Borneo, listening to local communities about their solutions for how to both protect the rainforests and improve their lives. Founding two non-profits, Health in Harmony in the U.S. and ASRI in Indonesia, Webb and her local and international teams partnered with rainforest communities, building a clinic, developing regenerative economies, providing educational opportunities, and dramatically transforming the region. But just when everything was going right, Webb was stung by a deadly box jellyfish and would spend the next four years fighting for her life, a fight that would lead her to rethink everything. Was she ready to expand her work to a global scale and take climate change head on?
Full of hope and optimism, Webb takes us on an exhilarating, galvanizing journey across the world, sharing her passion for the natural world and for humanity. In our current moment of crisis, Guardians of the Trees is an essential roadmap for moving forward and the inspiring story of one woman’s quest to heal the world.
About the Author
Kinari Webb, MD, is the founder of Health In Harmony, an international nonprofit dedicated to reversing global heating, understanding that rainforests are essential for the survival of humanity, and a cofounder of Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). Dr. Webb graduated from Yale University School of Medicine with honors and currently splits her time between Indonesia, international site assessments, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Guardians of the Trees is her debut.
“The strengths of this much needed book are many, from showing the daily and often dangerous difficulties of research work to the life- and world-changing importance of not ‘educating’ local people but instead collaborating with them in creating economic and medical systems that make habitat protection and restoration part of community life. Perhaps the most important story is Webb’s own, as she shows that we are all imperfect people capable of creating a more perfect world.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Inspiring…In a compelling narrative, the author shares the details of her journey and the cultural nuances of the region…A unique perspective that offers immense hope and direction for humanity in the face of climate change.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
“[Webb’s] devotion to fighting for the health of the world and its people remains unflagging, as evidenced in her galvanizing and hopeful story. Those looking for a jolt of inspiration would do well to pick this up.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This really is a journey of hope, told with an observant eye and an open heart.”
"In my experience, only a few people have really earned the right to ask us to hope. As this magnificent volume makes clear, Kinari Webb is the exception. Her life is an inspiration, and her openness and vulnerability helps the rest of us make full empowering use of that remarkable story. Stay away from these pages unless you're prepared to be jolted into useful action!"
—Bill McKibben, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Nature
“In Guardians of the Trees, Kinari Webb tells the story of how she fell in love with a rainforest in Indonesia and how she worked to save it by listening to and involving the local people and improving their lives by providing medical facilities. People, animals and the environment—all are interconnected. Her courage and perseverance through a series of setbacks and a life-threatening encounter with a deadly jellyfish fill one with admiration. A wonderful book.”
—Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. Messenger of Peace
"This book is a wonder. An astonishing story, a page-turner, beautifully written, that will transport you deep into the rainforest and out again, transformed. Through her own remarkable journey, Kinari Webb has found a brilliant way to unite the healing of people and planet, to save both human lives and wild nature. So abundant is her passion and commitment that one can't help but emerge from her riveting story deeply affected, inspired, and flooded with hope."
—Jennifer Ackerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way
“Guardians of the Trees is a completely captivating story rich with lessons about the potential for personal and planetary transformation. Kinari Webb brings us along on her inspiring journey and we emerge infused with hard won and realistic hope for the entwined futures of humans, forests and the world we inhabit together.”
—David Grinspoon, author of Earth in Human Hands
“With Borneo as backdrop as well as foreground, Kinari Webb compellingly shows us how public health and planetary health are one and the same.”
—Christiana Figueres, co-author of The Future We Choose and co-founder of Global Optimism
“Reading Guardians of the Trees left me, at turns, stunned and elated. At last, a vision for addressing climate change that rests not on the promise of more technology, but a return to the most basic tool: listening to the communities that know the world's forests best.”
—Katherine Standefer, author of Lightning Flowers