Tag: Earth Day

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Earth Day Reads that aren’t ‘The Lorax’

It’s hard to find ways to connect with people while we all social distance.  However, as the world sits at home, we are beginning to notice over social media, telephone calls to those we haven’t spoken to in a while, and even waving at others across the street for their daily walk that we have a lot more in common that we usually might think.  The biggest thing we share is our Earth, and in honor of Earth Day here are some spectacular modern titles about the collective challenge facing us across the globe.

 

Rising

Elizabeth Rush’s book takes readers to the cultural, social, and economic peripheries of the United States.  From places like Louisiana’s marginalization shores to the glass castles of Silicon Valley, Rush shows the encroaching problem of rising tides on our coastal communities around the country.

Rising

Image Via amAZON

The Uninhabitable Earth

Columnist and editor David Wallace-Wells traverses past, present, and future to bring his readers a harrowing picture of life in the time of anthropogenic global warming.  His tone is urgent, keenly aware of the emergency crisis we face today.  However, he seizes moments of hope, possibility, and ways out of the mess if we act soon.

Uninhabitable earth
Image via amazon

 

Silent Spring

Published in 1962, Silent Spring was a cornerstone of modern America’s awareness about the adverse effects of indiscriminate pesticide use.  Author Rachel Carson began her research in 1950, driven by a belief that many environmental problems were the effect synthetic pesticide contamination.  Upon its publication, Silent Spring was unsurprisingly met with opposition from chemical companies but the truth in its pages spread across the country in a transformative way.

silent spring
Image via AMAZON

 

This Radical Land

Daegan Miller dives deep into the archives in this collection of essays that explore the history of the environmental conservation movement from its very beginnings.  These early radicals believed in a way for humans to coexist with the natural world rather than exploit it, even when most were under the impression that Earth was an endless supply of resources.  Miller reminds his readers that efforts to live in harmony with our environment have always been part of our history, and it’s up to us to harness these early sentiments in our actions today.

this radical land
Image via Amazon

 

 

Where the Water Goes

David Owen takes a trip along the Colorado River, from its start in the Rocky Mountains all the way down to Mexico.  This prized waterway is depended on by nearly 40 million people, but overuse by farmers, engineers, lawyers, and politicians is quickly threatening the river’s resilience and longevity.  We must do something, argues Owen, before the tap runs dry.

where the water goes
Image via amazon

 

The End of Nature

If the waves crash up against the beach, eroding dunes and destroying homes, it is not the awesome power of Mother Nature. It is the awesome power of Mother Nature as altered by the awesome power of man, who has overpowered in a century the processes that have been slowly evolving and changing of their own accord since the earth was born, writes Bill McKibben in The End of Nature.  McKibben refuses to sugarcoat our defamation of the natural world, suggesting we return to a more humble way of living.

the end of nature
image via amazon
Feature Image Via Smithsonian Magazine

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5 Books to Teach Your Kids About the Environment

It’s Earth Day! Whether you’re looking to educate your children about the environment in a fun and informative way, or simply want to take a trip down memory lane, here are five children’s books about the environment, in honor of the holiday.

1. ‘Seekers’ by Erin hunter

Seekers Book 1

image via amazon

If you have a young middle-schooler at home (or were once a Warrior Cats fan obsessed with anything Erin Hunter, like me) you may have heard of this middle-grade animal series featuring four main characters—all of which are bears. The series isn’t wholly centered on environmental issues, but the state of nature, and its impact on animals and their homes, plays a large role in the series. 

From the start, Toklo, Kallik, and Lusa struggle to find their place in a world dominated by man. Toklo comes from the wild, but his family struggles as their resources and food supply dwindle. Meanwhile, Kallik is a polar bear grappling with the melting ice caps and warmer temperatures. Lusa is the only bear living in captivity, though she longs to break free from her zoo and enter the wild. 

As these bears—and their companion Ujurak, a grizzly bear with a unique ability—cross paths, they go in search of a place to call home, hoping to escape to a place untouched by man, where resources and food are plentiful. Throughout their journey, the gang meets others struggling in the wake of a polluted Earth. This series is action-packed, but with a focus on the effects of our actions on the animals of the world.

 

2. ‘The Lorax’ by dr. Seuss

The Lorax

image via amazon

This widely-popular Dr. Seuss book is probably the most well-known children’s book about the environment, complete with a recent movie adaptation. The story follows the Lorax, who speaks for the trees as they are cut down by the Once-ler. 

The fictional world of The Lorax is a fairly obvious parallel to our own world, commentating on industrialization and the environmental issues surrounding it. With beautiful illustrations and a powerful message, The Lorax is the perfect Earth Day read!

3. ‘Greta and the Giants’ by zoe tucker

Greta and the Giants

image via amazon

As a mere teenager, Greta Thunberg made it her life’s mission to speak out against the ever-growing climate crisis, sparking a movement of protests and change. Her message isn’t just for adults, but children too, and her story is now more accessible than ever.

Set in a world where “Giants” are cutting down a forest to build their homes, Greta is a young girl living within the trees. As the Giants’ towns grow into cities, Greta’s home in the forest shrinks. Greta comes up with a plan to stop them, not just to save her home, but to protect the animals living within it.

The book even comes with a guide for how YOU can help Greta in her fight. It is also printed sustainably on 100% recycled paper. If you’re looking to do your part this Earth Day, and in the days thereafter, following Greta’s example is a great start!

 

4. ‘Judy Moody Saves the World’ by Megan McDonald

Judy Moody saves the world

image via amazon

The beloved Judy Moody is back again, but this time with her sights set on saving the world! After losing a comic strip competition with her slogan, “Heal the World,” Judy decides to move on to bigger and better things: saving the environment. As Judy learns more and more about the state of the world—its destroyed rainforests, endangered species, and poor recycling habits—she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Funny and relatable, Judy Moody has always been a favorite of mine. This book is not only educational but also shows that even a young girl like Judy can take action against the climate crisis. Judy will inspire your kids, and maybe even you too!

5. ‘Just a Dream’ by Chris van Allsburg

Just a Dream

image via Amazon

Just a Dream begins with a young kid, Walter, going about his everyday life. However, when he goes to sleep at night, he wakes up to find himself in a polluted dream world. Seeing this opens Walter’s eyes and prompts him to change his lifestyle. 

It’s easy to forget the damage we can wreak with simple things like littering or wasting water. Just a Dream reminds us that the little things matter and that taking small steps towards sustainability can still make a difference.

Featured images via amazon

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7 Nature-Centered Books to Read on Earth Day

It’s April 22nd, do you know what that means? It’s time to celebrate Earth Day! While this year it will be a little harder to celebrate what with everyone in quarantine, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop to appreciate the planet we call home. In honor of having some extra time to read in quarantine, here are some books that one can read to connect more with nature.

1. ‘Braiding sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer

book cover

image via amazon

In this memoir, Robin Wall Kimmerer uses her experiences as a woman, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and a scientist, to express the relationship between people and nature. Kimmerer unifies these perspectives to show us how to strengthen our relationships with other living beings. Kimmerer emphasizes the importance of other living things, including the small animals we find in the forest, and how much we can learn from the workings of nature when we choose to listen. This is an inspiring read that expertly knits together identity, science, and spirit. 

2. ‘RAIN’ by Cynthia Barnett

Book cover

image via amazon

If you are interested in history or the study of humans, this book is the one for you. Cynthia Barnett tells the story of rain and how humans have tried to control it, from rain dances to levees. This book takes you on an anthropological journey from the beginning of time to now, and how we as humans have changed rain for the worse. This book speaks about climate change and rain; how it benefits, how it damages, and ultimately leads to a conversation about how we as a society treat the Earth.

3. ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben

book cover

image via amazon

This book shares the case that the forest is a social network. Drawing on scientific discoveries, Wohlleben describes how trees are like human families – complete with tree parents and children. Wohlleben explains how they live together, communicate and support each other as they grow, share nutrients when one is struggling, and even warn each other when danger is near. This book helps you dive into the amazing processes of nature, how much we know, and how much we can’t possibly understand.  While this life of trees seems like a different world, Wohlleben explains the importance of sharing this world and how we can learn from their processes of life, death, and regeneration. 

 

4. ‘The Peace of Wild Things’ by Wendell Berry

Book cover

image via amazon

The Peace of Wild Things is a collection of poems written by Wendell Berry. These poems will instantly transport you into a mindset of gratitude towards the interworking of nature. Using simple yet powerful language, Berry notes his love for nature while also commenting on his inner peace, relationships, and life philosophy. Want a taste? Here is an excerpt from one of Berry’s poems, ‘The Peace of Wild Things’

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

5. ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers

book cover

image via amazon

This novel by Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize and there are quite a few good reasons why. One reason is its beautiful prose, and another is the connection of our lives to the natural world. This story intertwines eight lives from antebellum New York, to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest, and even beyond. Throughout the novel, Powers weaves together these lives to trees. This connection drives us to see the world in a whole new lens that makes us look to nature with admiring eyes. 

6. ‘The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating’ by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Book Cover

image via amazon

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a memoir of Bailey’s observation of nature while dealing with a life-threatening illness. One of the species she studies is the Neohelix albolabris -a common woodland snail. Bedridden from her illness, Bailey discovers comfort and admiration from a creature whose new home is on her bed stand, from both being confined to a small place in the world. This memoir holds many lessons and observations that inspire us to appreciate being fully alive. 

7. ‘The Shell Collector’ by Anthony Doerr

book cover

image via amazon

This collection of short stories was one of my favorite books I read last year. it is filled with magical realism and themes of how we interact with nature. These stories are imaginative with a wide range of characters and settings. From the African coast, to the pine forest of Montana, Doerr explores how nature reflects the delicacy, beauty, and crushing realities of both humanity and nature. 

 

I hope these nature centered books inspire you to celebrate the complex and beautiful inter-workings of our planet!

featured image via Smithsonianmag.com

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5 Excellent Books With an Environmental Message to Celebrate Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is a reminder about the planet we live on, about its resources and the ecological impact we do with every move we make. To remind you about how you can help the planet, not just on Earth Day but every day of the year, here are five compelling books with an environmental message to celebrate this day, covering from a variety of genres such as nonfiction to fiction.

 

5. No turning Back: The Extinction Scenario by Richard Ellis

 

Two extinct species stand next to each other, a wooly mammoth and a dodo

Image Via Goodreads

No Turning Back by Richard Ellis is a nonfiction scientific book which examines the topic of extinction. Author Ellis examines the finality of a species existence by using five periods of mass extinction to outline how a species meets its final end, including the meteorite that brought an end to the dinosaurs and humanity killing off animals such as the saber-toothed tiger, wooly mammoth, and cave bears when they crossed the Bering Land Bridge 15,000 years ago. Ellis offers a naturalistic view that is well worth the read and reminds us that no species, least of all our own, lasts forever.

 

4. Midworld by Alan Dean Foster

 

Image Via amazon

Midworld by Alan Dean Foster tells the story of a planet called Midworld, covered entirely by a vast rainforest that’s almost a mile high and rich with alien fauna. Home to a primitive society that’s in tune with the natural world, Midworld is changed when an exploitative human company arrives and begins attempt to mine the planet for its resources while ignoring the delicate ecosystem. A pulpy page turner, this one is an obvious metaphor for destructive of delicate environments by corporations but done extremely well and the planet itself is so richly described you’ll feel like you can live there.

 

3. Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

 

A tree grows in a natural field, its canopy designed to look like a green Earth

Image Via Amazon

Ecotopia heavily influenced the green movement when it was first published in the 1970s and is just as compelling today. Ecotopia tells the story of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington separating from the United States to create their own nation. Admitting its first visitor from the outside world, a reporter who finds a utopia inside the new nation’s borders, one economically and socially viable, showing a world that could be created if humanity would let it.

 

2. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

 

A skeleton of a mammoth on the cover of The Sixth Extinction

Image Via Amazon

There have been five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history. Now, in this nonfiction novel, Elizabeth Kolbert argues we are in the midst of a sixth and one that we are responsible for. Drawing on the world’s best scientific minds and researchers, Elizabeth Kolbert presents her case very bluntly, showing species that are already perished within humanity’s lifespan and others that are on the verge of dying out. This novel very starkly illustrates that a new mass extinction is underway and we can’t stop it, as its already too late for dozens of species. This one is a must-read and shows that if we do not taking action immediately, our legacy could be the sixth extinction.

 

1. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

 

A book with a pure green cover

Image Via Amazon

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is the classic environmental novel. Published in 1962, it was first serialized in The New Yorker before being compiled as a full length novel. Gaining huge swaths of publicity and popularity, the book highlighted the extreme damage that unregulated usage of pesticides would cause if left unchecked. Carson faced ruthless backlash by chemical companies and unfortunately passed away in 1964 but her work changed the word, as sweeping changes were made to pesticides. This is a must read for anyone environmentally active and is the perfect book for Earth Day.

 

 

Featured Image Via Goodreads