Ziya Tong (pronounced ZYE-AH) is “one of the world’s most engaging science journalists”. She is vice chair of WWF Canada, an award-winning broadcaster who anchored Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet for 10 years, and former correspondent on PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW. Oh yeah, and she’s the current Canada Reads champion. Also Sasha’s sister and one of the smartest, most passionate people I know. Is it weird to be fascinated by a friend? Because I find Ziya fascinating. Like she could tell you anything you want to know about marine biology but then, as I was sitting next to her this morning, she was talking to people about the James Charles drama. But that’s the thing about Ziya – she is interested in anything, her mind is open to everything.
Which is why she’s such a great tour guide to take us past the world we think we know and reveal to us the world that actually is. Ziya’s book, The Reality Bubble, just released today, breaks through the illusions we’ve created for ourselves, the “Matrix” of our existence, if you will, to show us the wonder that we haven’t seen. Like did you know that the dragonfly has 28,000 lenses in each eye?! That means they see more colours than we do, that they can see in slow motion, and this enables them to catch 95% of their prey. And dolphins! Dolphins can see… through sound. Ziya writes about researchers in Hawaii who put objects into black, opaque boxes. When the dolphins arrived, they’d show them pictures of the objects that were in the boxes and from that, using their sonar, the dolphins were able to match the pictures with the boxes. Scientists also suspect that that’s why dolphins are so into pregnant women, because they can “see-hear” the babies inside them.
Our blind spots, however, don’t just separate us from wonder – they also keep us from reality. And in her book, Ziya also challenges us to identify and eliminate our deliberate ignorance, not just for self-advancement but for collective preservation. It’s the things we refuse to acknowledge, that we continue to ignore, that are holding us back from our potential and, potentially, our continued existence. Which, I know, this might sound bleak. But where Ziya’s coming from, it’s actually the exact opposite. Because The Reality Bubble is a celebration of science and curiosity. As Naomi Klein says in her blurb for The Reality Bubble, “the kind of radical curiosity that fills this book – a commitment to probing the unseen, unknowable, and unthinkable – has become essential to our survival”. Basically Ziya’s telling us what Leia told Rey: “We have everything we need”. We can all be curious, we all have curiosity, and Ziya’s point is that our curiosity can save us.
Jane Goodall and David Suzuki also provided blurbs on the book. That’s the kind of company Ziya keeps.
To add The Reality Bubble to your reading list, click here.
Yours in gossip,