Sunday, March 21, 2010

Superhero Secrets: Spring Reading

Spring reading from the Greenhabilitator...

I have no business asking for book recommendations right now. Judging by the stack of books on my nightstand and windowsill, I'll be ready for a new book sometime in the year 2012. That doesn't seem to stop me from requesting new books on a weekly basis at the library though. I just can't help myself!

Right now I'm about 3/4 of the way through Coming Home to Eat by Gary Nabhan. What a terrific book - I highly recommend it! Nabhan's accomplishments are as long as my arm - he's a PhD, an ecologist, a lecturer, food and farming advocate, conservationist and has recently accepted a tenured professorship as a Research Social Scientist at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona. Coming Home to Eat chronicles his year eating local foods - not just foods grown locally, but foods that are native to his area. It's given me a whole new perspective on "local foods" and has truly been a fascinating tale as well as a geology, geography, history and agriculture lesson all tied up in one.

I'm simultaneously reading Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food by Andrew Kimbrell and the Center for Food Safety. It's a good companion to (and the copy at the library actually comes with the movie) The Future of Food. It's all the things in the movie that you wished you could remember - from what GMOs do to farmers, crops, your body, etc. to what you can do about it. There are sample letters you can send to your grocers, lists of GE-free food brands, a list of related organizations and websites, and a list of US food companies and their policies on GE ingredients. It's a great resource.

At the library I just reserved Siesta Lane: One cabin, no running water, and a year living green by Amy Minato. Minato left the city life to spend a year in a cottage with no electricity or running water. In the book she documents this challenging but inspiring experience, filled with new friends, heartbreak, interactions with nature, and self-discovery. I've heard it's quite a page turner, so I hope to sneak it in next week.

I'm also eager to read The Vanishing of a Species: A look at modern man's predicament by a geologiest by Peter Gretener. From the book's website...

The author...starts his exploration by putting man in context, both in terms of space and time. We find that in either case, man is not as pre-eminent as he may be­lieve. While man is the most accomplished toolmaker this planet has ever seen, his technical progress is overpowering his social progress—an imbalance that sets the stage for his vanishing act, absent quick, corrective action.

The author makes a compelling case that society’s unrestricted material growth is the challenge of our times. Modern man’s predicament refers broadly to man’s collision course with nature—his attitude of ruthless exploitation leading to depletion of non-renewable resources, pollution of the environment, overpopulation, with its accompanying increase in human aggression, and other effects.

After the agricultural and industrial-scientific revolutions, it is now time for the Human Revolution—a more realistic attitude on the part of man towards the universe, the earth and other forms of terrestrial life

Having moved from being a biblical history believer to more of a scientific history believer over the past few years has opened up a whole new area to me that I've never studied before. As I look at the earth being billions of years old instead of thousands, well, that puts global warming (as well as a lot of other things) in a different perspective for me. I can't wait to read this and learn more. (And hopefully that isn't offensive to anyone. I sincerely respect everyone's beliefs.)

Green Living Online has a nice little slide show of spring time reading they suggest and I also just discovered Grinning Planet and their extensive list of green book reviews. The website EcoBooks also offers books on all environmental subjects from living simply to clean energy to gene tampering.

What are you all reading these days? What's on your list?


Jenn the Greenmom said...

Not quite as much along our usual lines, but if you're interested in that whole sacred/scientific time/creation concept, I'd highly recommend "The Universe Story" by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry--they look at creation from the Big Bang to the present shift from the Cenozoic to what they call the "Ecozoic" era, and humanity's place in it. A little "woo woo" from time to time, but it's also well-grounded in science--and from a theological standpoint, though I can't remark on other faiths, the Catholic Church at least considers these guys to be fairly in-line, and the Catholic church is not known for their tolerance of "out there" theologies--and yet it's not Cathlo-centric at ALL. And it's very lovely writing, easy to read, not too pedantic and preachy...


Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I have the same problem with too many books on my "to-read" list. This is the list I made at the beginning of the year:

# Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

# Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping

# Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times

# Where Am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes

# Practically Green: Your Guide to EcoFriendly Decision Making

# Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee

And I'd also like to read the book on Umbra Fisk's book club - Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money

Sense of Home said...

I'm just finishing up "This Organic Life" and have several more to be read on my bookshelf. "Coming Home to Eat" sounds like another good one to add to my pile.


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