How Green Is Our Fave Five
Recommended by members of the Canton Public Library's Green Team.
Check our other Fave Five lists, too!
When Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia they decide to spend a year eating home-grown or locally produced food. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment. Kingsolver and her family set out to prove for themselves that a local diet is not just better for the economy and environment but also better on the table. In true Kingsolver fashion, she makes something that might normally come off as "preachy," entertaining and funny - all in a beautifully written package. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, and complete with original recipes, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle will make you wonder what, exactly, was the "cost" of getting your grapefruit to you in the middle of February. If you like this title you might also like Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation.
Could you live without indoor plumbing, regular washer and dryer, cook stove, refrigerator, computer, or telephone for over a year? With his wife, the author, Brende moved to a mixed community of Amish, Mennonites, and outsiders, whom he dubbed "Minimites" for their predilection to gain a maximum of ends with a minimum of technological means, leaving behind electricity, plumbing, and everything else "hooked on the grid," for 18 months. In "Better Off" he recounts the experience, not only detailing the daily activities and frequent difficulties they found necessary to maintain existence without electricity, but also touting the benefits of such a life and exploring the culture of their adopted community.
Lasso the Wind: Away to the New Westby Timothy Egan
Egan examines myths and realities of the West - both new and old - in 14 essays, each set in one of the 11 states west of the one-hundredth meridian. Beginning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at a gathering of writers, ranchers and Native Americans debating "the next hundred years in the American West," Egan sets out across the vast landscape, using a different city as a jumping-off point in each chapter. What emerges is a portrait of the new West constantly at odds with the old: defiant cattlemen fight to preserve their dying industry, passing protective laws in the name of "custom and culture"; the residents of Butte, Montana wait for the toxic waste from a huge abandoned copper mine to overflow and destroy the once-prosperous city; and everywhere ambitious communities such as Las Vegas scramble for more of the precious water that would bring life to the desert, that is, in the form of residential complexes with lush grass lawns. Egan's love for the land is tangible and contagious.
For the serious naturalist, there is the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Like Thoreau, Dillard provides us with her reflections on nature in a series of interconnected essays that focus on her experiences living at the edge of Tinker Creek in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. She challenges the reader to contemplate the natural world beyond its commonplace surfaces while entertaining us with her thoughtful and often funny observations. Perhaps the best reason to pick up this book is the beautiful writing. Dillard's alliterative phrasing, glorious imagery, and inspired themes will not disappoint. The essays make this a great book to read slowly and luxuriously as the mood strikes you.
If you've been to Isle Royale this is a must read, if not it'll entice you to make the trip and rediscover Michigan (yep - all da way to da U.P.!). For nearly half a century Isle Royale National Park has been the site of a comprehensive study on wolves (2008 marks the 50th anniversary) - the world's longest-running study on any wild animal. With its lush northern landscape and wolf and moose populations, the pristine and isolated park presents an ideal laboratory for wildlife biologists and a great escape for naturalists of all types. Author and wildlife biologist Rolf Peterson provides a fascinating firsthand account of the relationship that exists between the wolf and the moose on the island. Illustrated with over 100 photographs including several wolf kills, this book reveals the true nature of the mysterious and little-understood wolf. It also offers novel and controversial solutions to the conservation crisis as the wolf population falters to its lowest recorded level.