Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Are Your Five Favorite Green Reads?

I've got some gift cards to burn, so I wanna know: what are your five favorite green reads and why?

Here are some of my favorites:

The End of Food by Paul Roberts offers an incisive look into the food industry. Read my review here.

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Recently, I feel a little over Michael Pollan ... In Defense of Food wasn't nearly as good, and then there was that embarrassing incident where he and Alice Waters apparently demanded to put together a list of locavore approved chefs for the White House (turns out the old chef was a quiet locavore himself and the Obamas kept him.) I think I'm not the only one who thinks Pollan is sooooo last year's slow foodie, but, Omnivore's Dilemma is good stuff. And besides, you never forget your first love. Here's a post about the book.

Break Through by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. Back when I first read Break Through it was like my eyes had been opened for the first time. How is it, I thought, that no one else was saying what Michael and Ted are saying? Then I went back to university and realized plenty of people are saying what Michael and Ted are saying, but many of them are doing so in academic journals that your average enviro doesn't read. I keep hoping that will change, and when my former professor publishes his next book, I'm so making all y'all read it. But for now, here's a post about Break Through.

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte, which reminds me that I really have to read Royte's latest book. If it's anything like Garbage Land, it'll be worth a read as Royte somehow managed to make something as mundane as trash seem downright exciting. Here's a review by Green Bean.

Reducing Poverty and Sustaining The Environment edited by Stephen Bass, Hannah Reid, David Satterthwaite and Paul Steele. Technically this is more of an academic book, but it's really not. It's extremely readable and there are super cool and inspiring case studies from all over the world about how communities managed to develop sustainable solutions that bettered human livelihoods. Plus each case study is pretty short which is good for the people with short attention spans. Check it out.

Anyway, those are some of the books I've read and enjoyed. I eagerly await your lists.


Farmer's Daughter said...

Hmmm... Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan are two of my faves. I also loved Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver because the whole family gets involved in their quest to eat locally.

Harvest of Hope by Jane Goodall is really a good read, about her philosophy of sustainable food. I have such a huge respect for her scientific work that I really enjoyed getting her perspective.

The Devil's Teeth by Susan Casey is one of my all-time favorite books. It's non-fiction about White Shark researchers off the coast of California on the Farallones (islands). I would classify it as environmental because it talks about the ecosystems there, the researchers who are trying to help preserve these amazing endangered animals, and just the wonders of nature. In fact, I'd like to reread this book, as it's been a few years. Thanks for helping me remember it! :)

Eco Yogini said...

I really really liked 'The World Without Us' by Alan Weisman- entertaining for the sci-fi fanatic inside me...

I also liked 'Ecoholic' by Adria Vasil (Canadian) and still plan to read 'Silent Spring'- so classic.

Finally, I LOVED Earth Path by Starhawk... more pagan-green, but it was fantastical :)

Green Bean said...

Michael Pollan is so last year foodie! HA! There's the Ruchi I know and love. I still think Omnivore's Dilemma is still a seminal work in the green movement and I think Michael Pollan and Alice Waters have done a huge service to the Eat Local effort even if MP's star does seem to have peaked.

I still adore Animal Vegetable Miracle by Kingsolver. Sure it has its flaws and it is also very "so last year" but she writes so beautifully that I cannot help but cherish the book.

I also loved Big Box Swindell by Stacy Mitchell.

Whale Warriors was another great book - reads like a page turning novel as the author goes along with enviro-radicals in an effort to shut down the Japanese whaling season.

That's all I can really think of as I don't think The Other Boleyn Girl really counts as a green read. Does it? There is green on the cover.

Farmer's Daughter said...

GB- I've been meaning to get a copy Whale Warriors to check out. Who's the author again?

ruchi said...

Abbie, Oooh ... The Devil's Teeth sounds great! I'll have to see if I can find it.

Eco Yogini, I also want to read Silent Spring just because it really is THE classic.

GB, girl, you're not STILL reading The Other Boleyn Girl are you?! You need a vacation to do nothing but read fiction. Maybe we should call it a novelation.

Also, I'm glad that the Ruchi you know and love is a catty bitch. I do try and cultivate that Ruchi best I can. :)

Green Bean said...

Actually, Ruchi, I just finished The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette which, I must say, is a heart breaker. I still feel sick to my stomach about what happened to her and her little boy. And yes, that's the Ruchi I love!!

Abbie, It's Peter Heller. Fantastic read because so many green books are a slog. This one is a heart pounding race.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for this post! I haven't read many "green" books but I'm curious to check out what everyone recommends. (from the library, as I sadly don't have giftcards to spend.)

JessTrev said...

If you eat fish, I really enjoyed Bottomfeeder.

Robj98168 said...

As ms. Abby said- hmmmm
Currently I am reading Sleeping Naked is green by Vanessa Farquharson, I am enjoying reading her trials and tribulations when she decided to go green.

Otherwise I like:
Living like Ed- Ed Begley Jr- My hero. Anything Ed says I do. So refreshing to see an LA Actor walk the walk and not just talk the talk

Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R.J. Rupenthal This book may not change your life but it did mine. Learning new ways of growing in small spaces is one of the more enjoyable things I do.

Kale for Sale said...

I have to chime in on two of the books mentioned - The Devil's Teeth was passed around to generations of extended family at our house. I didn't read it because I got most of it second hand but everyone raves. I did however read Bottomfeeder and it's a favorite. One book not mentioned that I loved because it was so readable and full of information that continues to haunt me was Uncertain Peril about GMO seeds.