December 14, 1953) is a notedCanadian anthropologist, ethnobotanist,
author and photographer whose work has focused on worldwide indigenous
cultures, especially in North and South America and particularly
involving the traditional uses and beliefs associated with psychoactive plants. Davis came to
prominence with his 1985 best-selling book The
Serpent and the Rainbow about
the zombies of Haiti.
published popular articles in Outside, National
Geographic, Fortune and Condé
In 2009 he was
selected to be the speaker for the Massey
Lectures, for his publication, The
Davis was born
Columbia, Canada and grew up in Pointe
Claire, Quebec. He attended Lower
Canada College and
later, when his family moved back to British Columbia, Brentwood
College School. He received degrees in Biology and Anthropology as
well as a Ph.D. in Ethnobotany, all from Harvard
University. Mostly through the Harvard
Botanical Museum, he spent more than three years in the Amazon
Basin and Andes as a plant explorer, living
among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin
Americannations while making some 6,000 botanical collections.
Davis's work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk
preparations implicated in the creation of zombies,
an assignment that led to his writing The
Serpent and the Rainbow (1985),
and Passage of
The first was an international best-seller, which appeared in 10
languages and was later adapted by Universal
Studios into a 1988 horror film that Davis despises.The
second reprints material from the first, and is primarily about the
theories of how zombies are made, while the first is the story of the
investigation. He is author of eight other books, including One River, in which
he follows in the footsteps of his mentor, Harvard ethnobotanist Dr. Richard
Davis is a citizen of Canada, Ireland and the
has worked as a guide, park ranger and forestry engineer. He has
conducted ethnographic fieldwork among several indigenous
societiesof northern Canada. He has published scientific and
popular articles on subjects ranging from Haitian Vodouand
Amazonian myth and religion to the global
biodiversity crisis, the traditional use of psychoactive
drugs, and the ethnobotany of South American indigenous
peoples. His discussions of drugs such as the Amazonian entheogenic brew ayahuasca reveal how some human uses
of psychoactive substances can be profound and culturally enriching.
associate of the Institute of Economic Botany of the New
York Botanical Garden, Davis is also a board member of the David
Suzuki Foundation, Ecotrust, Future Generations, and Cultural
Survival—-allNGOs dedicated to conservation-based
development and the protection of cultural and biological diversity.
Recently his work has taken him to Peru, Borneo, Tibet,
the high Arctic,
Delta of Venezuela and northern Kenya.
Davis's television credits include Earthguide,
a 13-part television series on the environment, which he hosted and
co-wrote. He hosted the National
Geographic Channel and History
at the Edge of The World. He also wrote for the
of the Mask, Cry
of the Forgotten People, and Forests
Davis is an
outspoken conservationist and belongs to many non-governmental
organizations that work to preserve biological and cultural diversity.
He appeared in the IMAX documentary film Grand
Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, promoting water
In 2009 Davis
delivered a series of talks for the CBC Massey
Lectures entitled The
Wayfinders, which has also been
published as a book under the same name.
Wade Davis was
one of the contributors for writing the book, We Are One: A
Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in October 2009. The book explores the
culture of peoples around the world, portraying both its diversity and
the threats it faces. Among other writings, we can find several western
authors, such asLaurens
van der Post, Noam
Lévi-Strauss; and also indigenous peoples, such as Davi
Kopenawa Yanomami and Roy
Sesana. The royalties from the sale of this book go to the
indigenous rights organization, Survival
2010, Davis was the Schwartz Visiting Fellow of the Pomfret
In 1983, Davis
first advanced his hypothesis that tetrodotoxin (TTX) poisoning could
explain the existence of Haitian zombies. This idea has been
controversial and his popular 1985 follow up book (The Serpent and
the Rainbow) elaborating upon this claim has been criticized for a
number of scientific inaccuracies. One of these is the
suggestion that Haitian witchdoctors can keep “zombies” in a state of
pharmacologically induced trance for many years. As part of his Haitian
investigations, Davis commissioned a grave robbery of a recently buried
child. (Dead human tissue is
supposed to be a part of the “zombie powder” used by witchdoctors to
produce zombies.) This has been criticized in the professional
literature as a breach of ethics.
scientific criticism of Davis’ zombie project has focused on the claims
about the chemical composition of the “zombie powder”. Several samples
of the powder were analyzed for TTX levels by experts in 1986. They
reported that only “insignificant
traces of tetrodotoxin [were found] in the samples of ‘zombie powder’
which were supplied for analysis by Davis” and that “it can be
concluded that the widely circulated claim in the lay press to the
effect that tetrodotoxin is the causal agent in the initial
zombification process is without factual foundation”. Davis’ claims
were subsequently defended by other scientists doing further analyses and these findings were
criticized in turn for poor methodology and technique by the original
skeptics. Aside from the question of
whether or not “zombie powder” contains significant amounts of TTX, the
underlying concept of “tetrodotoxin zombification” has also been
questioned more directly on a physiological basis. TTX, which blocks sodium
channels on the neural membrane, produces
numbness, slurred speech, and possibly paralysis or even respiratory
failure and death in severe cases. It is not known to produce the
trance-like or “mental slave” state typical of zombies in Haitian
mythology, or Davis’ descriptions.
- Davis, Wade (1985). The Serpent and the
Rainbow. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-50247-6.(1997
edition retitled: The
Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey into
the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic.)
- Davis, Wade (1988). Passage of Darkness: The
Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie. Robert F. Thompson, Richard E.
Schultes. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807817767.
- Davis, Wade and Thom Henley (1990), Penan Voice for the
Borneo Rain Forest, Western Canada Wilderness.
- Davis, Wade (1991), The Art of Shamanic
Healing, Cross Cultural Shamanism Network.
- Davis, Wade (1996). One River: Explorations
and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest. New York: Simon &
Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80886-2.
- Davis, Wade (1998). Shadows in the Sun:
Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire. ISBN 1559633549.(Published
in Canada as The
Clouded Leopard: A Book of Travels, Douglas
& McIntyre, 1998.)
- Davis, Wade (2001). Light at the Edge of the
World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures. National
Geographic. ISBN 0-792-26474-6.
- Davis, Wade (2009). The
Wayfinders: why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world.
Toronto: Anansi Press. ISBN 0-88784-842-1.
- Davis, Wade, Ian MacKenzie, and
Shane Kennedy (1995), Nomads
of the Dawn: The Penan of the Borneo Rain Forest.
- Osborne, Graham (Photographs) and
Wade Davis (Text) (1998), Rainforest:
Ancient Realm of the Pacific Northwest White
River Junction, Vermont, Chelsea
Green Publishing Company.
- Davis, Wade (2004), The Lost Amazon: The
Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, Chronicle
Books (Intro by Andrew
- Davis, Wade and K. David Harrison
(2008) Book of
Peoples of the World: A Guide to Cultures, National Geographic,
introduction, foreword or afterword
- Ranier, Chris (2004), Ancient Marks: The
Sacred Art of Tattooing and Body Marking, Media
- Price, Travis (2006), Archaeology of Tomorrow,
- Semeniuk, Robert (2007), Among the Inuit,
- Grand Canyon: A River at Risk (2008), Earth Aware
- ^ CBC Massey Lecture Series
- ^ http://www.ed.psu.edu/icik/2004Proceedings/section7-davis.pdf
- ^ Light
at The Edge of The World at nationalgeographic.ca
- ^ 
- ^ "‘We
Are One: a celebration of tribal peoples’ published this autumn".
Survival International. 2009-10-16.
- ^ Survival
International - We Are One
- ^ Davis, Wade (1983), “The
Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie”, Journal
of Ethnopharmacology, 9: 85-104.
- ^ Hines, Terrence (2008),
“Zombies and Tetrodotoxin”, Skeptical
Inquirer, Volume 32, Issue 3 (May/June), pp 60-62.
- ^ Booth, W. (1988), “Voodoo
- ^ Davis, Wade (1985), The Serpent and the
Rainbow, New York: Simon & Schuster, pp 92-95
- ^ Davis, Wade (1988), Passage of Darkness: The
Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie, University
of North Carolina Press, pp 115-116.
- ^ Booth, Op. cit.
- ^ Anderson, W.H. (1988),
“Tetrodotoxin and the Zombie Phenomenon”, Journal
of Ethnopharmacology, 23: 121-126.
- ^ Kao, C.Y. and T. Yasumoto
(1986), “Tetrodotoxin and the Haitian Zombie”, Toxicon,
- ^ Benedek, C. and L. Rivier
(1989), “Evidence for the presence of tetrodotoxin in a powder used in
Haiti for zombification”, Toxicon,
- ^ Kao, C.Y. and T. Yasumoto
(1990), “Tetrodotoxin in 'Zombie Powder'”, Toxicon, 28: 129-132.
- ^ Hines, Op. cit., pg 62.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dmitry Orlov (born 1962) is an engineer
and a writer on subjects related to "potential economic, ecological and
political decline and collapse in the United
States, something he has called “permanent crisis”. Orlov believes collapse
will be the result of huge military budgets, government deficits, an
unresponsive political system and declining oil production. 
Orlov was born
in Leningrad (now Saint
Petersburg) and moved to the United States at the age of 12. He has
a BS in Computer Engineering and an MA in Applied Linguistics. He was
an eyewitness to the collapse of theSoviet
Union over several
extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late 1980s and
In 2005 and
2006 Orlov wrote a number of articles comparing the
collapse-preparedness of the U.S. and theSoviet
Union published on
small “peak oil” related sites. Orlov’s article "Closing
the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the
US" was very popular at EnergyBulletin.Net.
In 2006 Orlov
published an online manifesto, "The New Age of Sail." In 2007 he and
his wife sold their apartment in Boston and bought a sailboat, fitted
with solar panels and six months supply of propane, and capable of
storing a large quantity of food stuffs. He calls it a “survival
capsule.” He uses a bicycle for transportation. Having bartered vodka
for necessities during one of trips to the post-collapse Russia, he
says "When faced with a collapsing economy, one should stop thinking of
wealth in terms of money." 
He continues to
write regularly on his “Club Orlov” blog and at EnergyBulletin.Net.
Orlov’s book Reinventing Collapse:The
Soviet Example and American Prospects, published in 2008, further
details his views. The
New Yorker's Ben McGrath writes that Orlov describes "superpower
collapse soup" common to both the U.S. and the Soviet Union: “a severe
shortfall in the production of crude oil, a worsening foreign-trade
deficit, an oversized military budget, and crippling foreign debt.” He
believes the U.S. will fare worse because Americans have fewer backup
plans. Orlov told interviewer McGrath that in recent months financial
professionals have begun to make up more of his audience, joining
"back-to-the-land types," "peak oilers," and those sometimes derisively
Howard Kunstler, who has been described as “one of Orlov's greatest
fans” but denies he is a “complete ‘collapsitarian’”,
described the book as an “exceptionally clear, authoritative, witty,
and original view of our prospects.”
In his review
of the book, commentator Thom
that Orlov holds that the Soviet Union hit a “soft crash” because
centralized planning, housing, agriculture, and transportation left an
infrastructure private citizens could co-opt so that no one had to pay
rent or go homeless and people showed up for work, even when they were
not paid. He believes the U.S. will have a hard crash, more like Germany’s Weimar
Republic of the
1920s. This is partially true because the U.S. is so much more
dependent on imported oil.
Writing on Atlanta’s Creative
Loafing, Wayne Davis considers Orlovs views and anecdotal stories
to be an easy read for a serious subject. Orlov gives practical advise,
like when to start accumulating goods for exchange purposes and the
need to buy goods that would sustain local communities - "hand tools,
simple medications (and morphine), guns and ammo, sharpening stones,
bicycles (and lots of tires with patch kits), etc." Orlov writes: “Much
of the transformation is psychological and involves letting go of many
notions that we have been conditioned to accept unquestioningly. In
order to adapt, you will need plenty of free time. Granting yourself
this time requires a leap of faith: you have to assume the future has
already arrived.” He also advises: “Beyond the matter of personal
safety, you will need to understand who has what you need and how to
get it from them.”
EnergyBulletin.Net review states that “Orlov's main goal is to get
Americans to understand what it will mean to live without an economy,
when cash is virtually useless and most people won't be getting any
income anyway because they'll be out of a job.” The review by author
Carolyn Baker, PhD, notes that Orlov emphasizes that "when faced with a
collapsing economy, one should stop thinking of wealth in terms of
money." Physical resources and assets, as well as relationships and
connections are worth more than cash and those who know how to "do it
themselves" and operate on the margins of society will do better than
those whose incomes and lifestyles have plummeted.
commentary has been favorable. In a 2009 article in Mother
Heffernan labels Orlov a “collapsitarianism” which she believes
involves “a desire for complete economic meltdown” and writes that
Orlov espouses “bourgeois survivalism.”
- ^ Punishing
Greens puts climate crisis on back burner, The
Irish Times, June 11, 2009.
- ^ http://www.energybulletin.net/node/23259
- ^ Biographical
details of Dmitry Orlov, Barnes & Noble website. Accessed 07
- ^ Club
Orlov May 2006 listing of articles. Available at Google Docs: Thriving
in the Age of Collapse(2005), full text at Google Docs of a
three-part internet article originally published atLifeaftertheoilcrash.net and Post-Soviet
Lessons for a Post-American Century, (2005); full article text at
- ^ Closing
the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the
US, EnergyBulletin.Net, December 4, 2006.
- ^ Discussion of Orlov’s
writings by Shepherd Billis, US
Economy–Recession, Depression, or Collapse?, DissidentVoice.org,
November 15th, 2007.
- ^ a b Ben McGrath, The
New Yorker, January 26, 2009.
- ^ EnergyBulletin.Net articles
five stages of collapse, February 26, 2008; The
Collapse Party platform, March 31, 2008; That
bastion of American socialism, January 10, 2009; Of
swans and turkeys, February 27, 2009.
- ^ Orlov, Dmitry, Reinventing
Collapse, New Society Books, 2008, ISBN
- ^ James Howard Kuntsler, A
Christmas Eve Story, at Kunstler.Com, December 24, 2007; also
published at EnergyBulletin.Net and Atlantic
- ^ Thom
Thom Hartmann 'Independent Thinker' Review, BuzzFlash.Com, November
- ^ Wayne Davis, Hard
times ahead: a discussion on the post-oil world, Atlanta Creative
Loafing, May 11, 2009.
- ^ Amanda Kovattana, Review:
Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov, EnergyBulletin.Net, April 19,
- ^ Carolyn
Baker Reviews Dmitry Orlov's "Re-inventing Collapse", 26 February
- ^ Virginia Heffernan, Apocalypse
Ciao: Let the End Times Roll, When the economic Rapture comes, will
collapsitarians be the chosen ones?, Mother
Jones, July/August 2009.
Orlov, Orlov's blog website with economic collapse commentary.
of Dmitry Orlov.
Today interview with Orlov, March 2009 (also on
Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices, The Long Now Foundation, at
Fora.Tv (Short version on
Orlov Interview on KPFA’s
“Guns and Butter”, August 5, 2009.
Keiser interview of Dmitry Orlov, August 1, 2009.
Dmitry Orlov – Seizing the Mid-Collapse Moment, at Creative-I site,
public lecture at the Davenport Hotel, Dublin, Ireland, June 9, 2009.