Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis by E. Cirino

 


Summary (Island Press): 

Much of what you’ve heard about plastic pollution may be wrong. Instead of a great island of trash, the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of manmade debris spread over hundreds of miles of sea—more like a soup than a floating garbage dump. Recycling is more complicated than we were taught: less than nine percent of the plastic we create is reused, and the majority ends up in the ocean. And plastic pollution isn’t confined to the open ocean: it’s in much of the air we breathe and the food we eat.

In Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis, journalist Erica Cirino brings readers on a globe-hopping journey to meet the scientists and activists telling the real story of the plastic crisis. From the deck of a plastic-hunting sailboat with a disabled engine, to the labs doing cutting-edge research on microplastics and the chemicals we ingest, Cirino paints a full picture of how plastic pollution is threatening wildlife and human health. Thicker Than Water reveals that the plastic crisis is also a tale of environmental injustice, as poorer nations take in a larger share of the world’s trash, and manufacturing chemicals threaten predominantly Black and low-income communities.  

There is some hope on the horizon, with new laws banning single-use items and technological innovations to replace plastic in our lives. But Cirino shows that we can only fix the problem if we face its full scope and begin to repair our throwaway culture. Thicker Than Water is an eloquent call to reexamine the systems churning out waves of plastic waste. 

Reviews:

1. Bioneers: https://bioneers.org/thicker-than-water-the-quest-for-solution-to-the-plastic-crisis-erica-cirino-ze0z2204/

2. Greenhouse Think Tank: https://www.greenhousethinktank.org/thicker-than-water-the-quest-for-solutions-to-the-plastic-crisis/

Interviews/Videos:

1. Island Press: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwWHkmZ0liw

2. Plant Paradigm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcN6f65JjQw

3. Delaware Valley University: One Health Series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqv79ZP1C78

Center for Biological Diversity Articles by Author: https://therevelator.org/author/erica-cirino/

National Audubon Society Articles by Author: https://www.audubon.org/content/erica-cirino

Discussion Questions: (Please check back later)







Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Momaday

 

(Kirkus Reviews)

Summary (HarperCollins) One of the most distinguished voices in American letters, N. Scott Momaday has devoted much of his life to celebrating and preserving Native American culture, especially its oral tradition. A member of the Kiowa tribe, Momaday was born in Lawton, Oklahoma and grew up on Navajo, Apache, and Peublo reservations throughout the Southwest. It is a part of the earth he knows well and loves deeply.

In Earth Keeper, he reflects on his native ground and its influence on his people. “When I think about my life and the lives of my ancestors," he writes, "I am inevitably led to the conviction that I, and they, belong to the American land. This is a declaration of belonging. And it is an offering to the earth.”  

In this wise and wonderous work, Momaday shares stories and memories throughout his life, stories that have been passed down through generations, stories that reveal a profound spiritual connection to the American landscape and reverence for the natural world. He offers an homage and a warning. He shows us that the earth is a sacred place of wonder and beauty, a source of strength and healing that must be honored and protected before it’s too late. As he so eloquently and simply reminds us, we must all be keepers of the earth.


Reviews:


Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/n-scott-momaday/earth-keeper/#


Paris Review: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2020/11/02/we-must-keep-the-earth/


Interviews and Videos:


1. https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=2295298993947395


2. CS Monitor: https://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Author-Q-As/2020/1124/Q-A-with-N.-Scott-Momaday-author-of-Earth-Keeper


(caa.com)


About the Authorhttps://poets.org/poet/n-scott-momaday


Discussion Questions: (John will be leading the discussion)


1. What does the author mean by “Earth Keeper”? How does he see his relationship

to Earth?

2. Who is Dragonfly? What does he represent?

3. What does the recurring story of the woman with the beautiful dress represent?

4. What are the “farthest camps”? Where are they?

5. What does the author mean by saying “the Earth is alive and sacred”? What does

he say about those who deny this (p. 59)?

6. The author says it’s human nature to pray. What was his prayer? (P. 63)

7. What were your favorite passages? Why?

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raises Families, Creates Beauty and Achieve Peace by C. Safina

 



Summary (Amazon): Some believe that culture is strictly a human phenomenon. But this book reveals cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if you’re a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too come to understand yourself as an individual within a particular community that does things in specific ways, that has traditions. Alongside genes, culture is a second form of inheritance, passed through generations as pools of learned knowledge. As situations change, social learning―culture―allows behaviors to adjust much faster than genes can adapt.

Becoming Wild brings readers into intimate proximity with various nonhuman individuals in their free-living communities. It presents a revelatory account of how animals function beyond our usual view. Safina shows that for non-humans and humans alike, culture comprises the answers to the question, “How do we live here?” It unites individuals within a group identity. But cultural groups often seek to avoid, or even be hostile toward, other factions. By showing that this is true across species, Safina illuminates why human cultural tensions remain maddeningly intractable despite the arbitrariness of many of our differences. Becoming Wild takes readers behind the curtain of life on Earth, to witness from a new vantage point the most world-saving of perceptions: how we are all connected.

Reviews: 


Author's Websitehttps://www.carlsafina.org/

(NYTimes)

Videos and Interviews:
2. Saw Mill River Audubon Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lk56iPAehA
3. Audubon Everglades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkEX_1oyNqg

Discussion Questions 


(IOE.org)




Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Journey of Trees by Zach St. George

 


Summary: (Amazon) Forests are restless. Any time a tree dies or a new one sprouts, the forest that includes it has shifted. When new trees sprout in the same direction, the whole forest begins to migrate, sometimes at astonishing rates. Today, however, an array of obstacles―humans felling trees by the billions, invasive pests transported through global trade―threaten to overwhelm these vital movements. Worst of all, the climate is changing faster than ever before, and forests are struggling to keep up.

A deft blend of science reporting and travel writing, The Journeys of Trees explores the evolving movements of forests by focusing on five trees: giant sequoia, ash, black spruce, Florida torreya, and Monterey pine. Journalist Zach St. George visits these trees in forests across continents, finding sequoias losing their needles in California, fossil records showing the paths of ancient forests in Alaska, domesticated pines in New Zealand, and tender new sprouts of blight-resistant American chestnuts in New Hampshire. Everywhere he goes, St. George meets lively people on conservation’s front lines, from an ecologist studying droughts to an evolutionary evangelist with plans to save a dying species. He treks through the woods with activists, biologists, and foresters, each with their own role to play in the fight for the uncertain future of our environment.

An eye-opening investigation into forest migration past and present, The Journeys of Trees examines how we can all help our trees, and our planet, survive and thrive.


Review: 

WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-journeys-of-trees-review-giants-in-transit-11602256237


Interviews:

Powell's Bookshop in Portland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG9Bjm_7s7o


NPR: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/28/896030567/believe-it-or-not-forests-migrate-but-not-fast-enough-for-climate-change

(wwnorton.com)



Author's Websitehttps://zachstgeorge.com/


Articles/Programs:


Giant Sequoia Genetic Conservation Program: http://www.torreyaguardians.org/sequoia-lunak-2015.pdf


Redwood Genome Project: https://www.savetheredwoods.org/project/redwood-genome-project/


Discussion Questions: 




(npr.org)




Sunday, July 31, 2022

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

 


Summary: (Amazon) When Catherine Raven finished her PhD in biology, she built herself a tiny cottage on an isolated plot of land in Montana. She was as emotionally isolated as she was physically, but she viewed the house as a way station, a temporary rest stop where she could gather her nerves and fill out applications for what she hoped would be a real job that would help her fit into society. In the meantime, she taught remotely and led field classes in nearby Yellowstone National Park.

Then one day she realized that a mangy-looking fox was showing up on her property every afternoon at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? She brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, yet as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself and they became friends.

From the fox, Catherine learned the single most important thing about loneliness: we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world. Friends, however, cannot save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. 

Fox and I is a poignant and remarkable tale of friendship, growth, and coping with inevitable loss—and of how that loss can be transformed into meaning. It is both a timely tale of solitude and belonging as well as a timeless story of one woman whose immersion in the natural world will change the way we view our surroundings—each tree, weed, flower, stone, or fox.



(Washingtonpost.com)



Author's Websitehttps://www.catherineraven.com/;



Reviews:


NPR: https://www.npr.org/2021/07/08/1013302180/friendship-between-a-woman-and-a-fox-leads-to-transformation-in-fox-i


NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/books/review/fox-and-i-catherine-raven.html


Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/fox-and-i-catherine-raven-book/2021/07/06/457c3320-de6a-11eb-9f54-7eee10b5fcd2_story.html



(csmonitor.com)

Videos:

Book Trailer: https://www.pw.org/content/fox_and_i


https://leslielindsay.com/2021/07/07/fox-and-i/


Interviews:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_EmhP_YwlY


American Book Association: https://www.bookweb.org/news/indies-introduce-qa-catherine-raven-1626081





Article by Author in National Geographic:


https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2021/12/notes-from-an-author-catherine-raven-on-finding-solace-in-the-wilderness-of-the-american-west


Discussion Questions: (Heidi will lead the discussion)






(wsj.org)









Friday, July 1, 2022

The Seaweed Chronicles by Susan Shetterly

 



Summary (Amazon): “Seaweed is ancient and basic, a testament to the tenacious beginnings of life on earth,” writes Susan Hand Shetterly in this elegant, fascinating book. “Why wouldn’t seaweeds be a protean life source for the lives that have evolved since?” On a planet facing environmental change and diminishing natural resources, seaweed is increasingly important as a source of food and as a fundamental part of our global ecosystem.


In 
Seaweed Chronicles, Shetterly takes readers deep into the world of this essential organism by providing an immersive, often poetic look at life on the rugged shores of her beloved Gulf of Maine, where the growth and harvesting of seaweed is becoming a major industry. While examining the life cycle of seaweed and its place in the environment, she tells the stories of the men and women who farm and harvest it—and who are fighting to protect this critical species against forces both natural and man-made. Ideal for readers of such books as The Hidden Life of Trees and How to Read WaterSeaweed Chronicles is a deeply informative look at a little understood and too often unappreciated part of our habitat.

Reviews: 



(Bangor Daily News)  Sheep and Flat Island

Videos and Interviews:
1. Interview: Surry Historical Society: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu5Puj77aqI

(medium.com)



Discussion Questions (Anne will be leading the discussion and also wrote the questions)




(WSJ.org)










Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Rooted by Lyanda Lynn Haupt



Summary: (AmazonIn Rootedcutting-edge science supports a truth that poets, artists, mystics, and earth-based cultures across the world have proclaimed over millennia: life on this planet is radically interconnected. Our bodies, thoughts, minds, and spirits are affected by the whole of nature, and they affect this whole in return. In this time of crisis, how can we best live upon our imperiled, beloved earth?

Award-winning writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s highly personal new book is a brilliant invitation to live with the earth in both simple and profound ways—from walking barefoot in the woods and reimagining our relationship with animals and trees, to examining the very language we use to describe and think about nature. She invokes rootedness as a way of being in concert with the wilderness—and wildness—that sustains humans and all of life.

In the tradition of Rachel Carson, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Mary Oliver, Haupt writes with urgency and grace, reminding us that at the crossroads of science, nature, and spirit we find true hope. Each chapter provides tools for bringing our unique gifts to the fore and transforming our sense of belonging within the magic and wonder of the natural world. 

Reviews:


(Spirtuality Health)


Interviews:
1. Magers and Quinn Bookshop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR2vncPlv_w

Discussion Questions from online:

Discussion Questions: (Please check back)