environmental awareness

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An entertaining and profound look at the lives of birds, illuminating their surprising world--and deep connection with humanity. Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As scientists come to understand more about the secrets of bird life, they are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself. The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the deft artistry of bowerbirds, the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the lifelong loves of albatross, and other mysteries--revealing why birds do what they do, and offering a glimpse into our own nature. 

A frustrated housewife sets out to see more bird species than anyone in history--and ends up risking her life again and again in the wildest places on earth. Phoebe Snetsinger had planned to be a scientist, but, like most women who got married in the 1950s, she ended up keeping house, with four kids and a home in the suburbs by her mid-thirties. Numb and isolated, she turned to bird-watching, but she soon tired of the birds near home and yearned to travel the world. Then her life took a crushing turn: At forty-nine, she was diagnosed with cancer and told that she had less than a year to live. Devastated, she began crisscrossing the globe, finding rare and spectacular birds that brought her to the heights of spiritual ecstasy. Life List is a powerful portrait of a woman who found refuge from society's expectations in a dangerous and soul-stirring obsession.

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The Big Year is Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Obmascik's account of what was to become the greatest birding year of all time. It was freak weather conditions that ensured all previous records were broken, but what becomes clear within the pages of this classic portrait of obsession is that while our feathered friends may be the objective of the Big Year competition, it's the curious activities and behavioral patterns of the pursuing "homo sapiens" that are the real cause for concern. It is a contest that reveals much of the human character in extremes. Such are the author's powers of observation that he brilliantly brings to life and gets under the skin of these extraordinary, eccentric and obsessive birders while empathizing with and eventually succumbing to the all-consuming nature of their obsession. The result is a wonderfully funny, acutely observed classic to rank alongside the best of Bill Bryson. 

Most people would love to be able to fly like a bird, but few of us are aware of the other sensations that make being a bird a gloriously unique experience. What is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? How do desert birds detect rain hundreds of kilometers away? How do birds navigate by using an innate magnetic compass? Tracing the history of how our knowledge about birds has grown, particularly through advances in technology over the past fifty years, Bird Sense tells captivating stories about how birds interact with one another and their environment. 

Jeremy Irons sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution.

Long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf, BP was widely viewed as a company that valued deal-making and savvy marketing over safety, a ''serial environmental criminal'' that left behind a long trail of problems, deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations, which many now believe should have triggered action by federal regulators.

Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling fresh water supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Will ours too?

In 2009, filmmaker Josh Fox learned his land was on top of the Marcellus Shale, a giant reservoir of natural gas, and that he would be paid to lease his land for natural gas extraction. Fox documented his cross-country trek to find out if the controversial process of hydraulic fracking is actually safe. What he unearthed was a shocking discovery about a practice that is understudied and inadequately regulated, and raced to find answers about fracking before it was too late.

Earth Day Reading, Viewing & Listening

Earth day: Earth dayThe Canton Public Library is celebrating Earth Day from April 14-27 with a series of entertaining and educational programs. Topics include bat conservancy, organic eating, buying local food, and rain gardens. The week will wrap up with a fantastic performance by authentic Native American Dancers. The Library's collection if full of excellent books, dvds, and cds to help you celebrate with us:

America's neighborhood bats by Merlin D. Tuttle

The bat house builder's handbook by Merlin D. Tuttle, Mark Kiser, Selena Kiser

Bats by M. Brock Fenton

Movies to Watch this Earth Day

earthday2012.thumbnail.pngWe can all observe Earth Day this year by educating ourselves about the challenges that face our environment and what we can do about it. Try some of the titles suggested below to get started:

The age of stupid [videodisc] — Pete Postlethwaite stars as an archivist living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, who spends his days looking at old footage from the years leading up to 2015 - when a cataclysmic climate change took place.

Bag it [videodisc] by produced and directed by Suzan Beraza — The story of an average American guy who makes a pledge to stop using plastic bags.

Green Beings

Green is definitely not just a color for beans anymore. We all need to be "green" and take responsibility to care for our wonderful planet. Kids can be just as responsible as parents in this area by doing simple things like turning off the lights when they leave a room, or using both sides of a sheet of paper. Of course using the library is a fantastic way to be green, by using the books and sources we have, instead of buying new ones. There are also some great books at the library to help remind kids of the important part they can play in being green. Check out Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint, Uno's Garden, or The Lorax, which all are fun stories to read and help remind us to take care of our Earth.

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