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Green Reads

Green Reads

annapolis green reads
a book club about the environment

What a perfect time to read! Join Annapolis Green for our environmental book club, Annapolis Green Reads, to grow your appreciation for the environment while benefiting from the collective wisdom of many authors who write about our natural world and to connect with others!

All you need is an interest in reading books (or listening to the audio version) about our environment and our place in it. No expertise on these issues is necessary, although we welcome those who have some to participate and contribute.

Book club meetings will be held either in person or on Zoom. Our book club leader will make the call and let Green Readers know.

biggest little farm graphic

Next date: Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

story of stuff logo

In April we will switch to a movie rather than a book! We will discuss The Biggest Little Farm (2018), available on most streaming platforms for $3.99.The Biggest Little Farm chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chesters unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination. More about the film. | See the trailer.
We will also screen one or more of the 20 videos featured in The Story of Stuff Project — free online.

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Once our lives resume typical rhythms, we will meet monthly, in person, at our wonderful, independently owned neighborhood bookstore, Old Fox Books (35 Maryland Avenue). To patronize Old Fox Books while maintaining social distancing, please give them a call (410-626-2020) to place your book order or email oldfoxbooks@gmail.com. It takes them a few days to acquire the book and then they can mail your copy at a cost of just $1 or will even deliver right to your home if you are in the Greater Annapolis area. You may also attend our meetings via Zoom.

The Anne Arundel Public Library has many of our selected books (and eBook and audiobook versions) available.

Questions, comments, want to join? Contact Karen Grumbles, our Green Reads leader, at greenreads@annapolisgreen.comHappy reading!

Possible selections for Future Months

  • We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh
  • A poetry collection by Mary Oliver
  • Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy
  • Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit
  • Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
  • The Hidden Life of Trees – What they Feel, How they Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohllern
  • The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and our Quest to Predict Disasters by Bruce Parker
  • Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger
  • Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Natalie Isaacs
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  • Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
  • This is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan
  • The Humane Gardener by Nancy Lawson
  • The Star Builders: Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet by Arthur Turrell

humane gardener gun island bookcover nature's best hope
emergent strategy the hidden life of trees power of the sea
apocalypse never every woman's guide to saving the planet the star builders parable of the sower
finding the mother tree book cover

Past Green Reads

food is climate

March 2022: Food Is Climate: A Response to Al Gore, Bill Gates, Paul Hawken, and the Conventional Narrative on Climate Change by Glen Merzer
This book gives a different perspective on Climate Change issues, particularly food. The author charges that the loudest voices have not included food in their equation and that there is a leadership void on this issue. More about the book.

the sixth extinction bookcover

February 2022: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Paperback by Elizabeth Kolbert
In a story for the New York Times, former Vice President Al Gore said, “Over the past decade, Elizabeth Kolbert has established herself as one of our very best science writers. She has developed a distinctive and eloquent voice of conscience on issues arising from the extraordinary assault on the ecosphere, and those who have enjoyed her previous works like Field Notes From a Catastrophe will not be disappointed by her powerful new book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Kolbert, a staff writer at The New Yorker, reports from the front lines of the violent collision between civilization and our planet’s ecosystem: the Andes, the Amazon rain forest, the Great Barrier Reef — and her backyard. In lucid prose, she examines the role of man-made climate change in causing what biologists call the sixth mass extinction — the current spasm of plant and animal loss that threatens to eliminate 20 to 50 percent of all living species on earth within this century.” More about the book.

soul of an octopus book coverJanuary 2022: Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food. More about the book.

November/December 2021: Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe
Called “one of the nation’s most effective communicators on climate change” by The New York Times, Katharine Hayhoe knows how to navigate all sides of the conversation on our changing planet. A Canadian climate scientist living in Texas, she negotiates distrust of data, indifference to imminent threats, and resistance to proposed solutions with ease. Over the past fifteen years Hayhoe has found that the most important thing we can do to address climate change is talk about it—and she wants to teach you how. More about the book.

a new garden ethic

October 2021: A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future by Benjamin Vogt
Our landscapes push aside wildlife and in turn diminish our genetically-programmed love for wildness. How can we get ourselves back into balance through gardens, to speak life’s language and learn from other species? Plenty of books tell home gardeners and professional landscape designers how to garden sustainably, what plants to use, and what resources to explore. Yet few examine why our urban wildlife gardens matter, and not just for ourselves, but for the larger human and animal communities.  More about the book.

the water knifeSeptember 2021: The Water Knife by Paolo Backgalupi
A timely topic, this 2015 work of science fiction, set in the near future, takes on what happens when drought caused by Climate Change devastates the southwestern United States. More about the book.

The End of Ice book cover

August 2021: The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail
After nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice. More about the book.

monkey wrench gangJuly 2021: The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
The book is Edward Abbey’s classic comic gem of destructive mayhem and outrageous civil disobedience—the novel that sparked the environmental activism movement. From Harper Collins: “Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, Hayduke is ready to fight the power—taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move—and peaceful coexistence be damned!” More about the book.

running silver cover

May 2021: Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and Their Great Fish Migrations by John R. Waldmann
Running Silver is an informative and fascinating history of the migratory salmon, shad, herring, and other runs that once swarmed the rivers and estuaries of the Atlantic coast. Most important, this book explains what we can do to restore these fisheries to their former abundance. This is a hugely important, fascinating, and unique look at the fish of North America whose history and life-cycles and conservation challenges are poorly understood. Despite these primordial abundances, over the centuries these stocks were so stressed that virtually all are now severely depressed, with many biologically or commercially extinct and some simply forgotten. More about the book.

silent spring coverApril 2021: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Published 59 years ago, it can be said that Silent Spring was the inspiration for the environmental movement. The book focuses on the effects of indiscriminate use of pesticides but goes beyond as a study of the need to protect the planet upon which we depend for our very existence. Earth Day month seems like the appropriate time to return to this seminal book. More about the book. Other sources:
How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental MovementNY Times, Fifty Years After ‘Silent Spring,’ Attacks on Science ContinueYale Environment 360, RachelCarson.org on ‘Silent Spring’

braiding sweetgrass

March 2021: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants  by Robin Wall Kimmere
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return. More about the book.

black faces white spaces book coverFebruary 2021: Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney
This book addresses why African Americans are so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism. In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the “great outdoors” and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces. More about the book.

half earth

January 2021: Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by E.O. Wilson
Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. More about the book.

December 2020: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
In this groundbreaking book, one of America’s most fascinating, original, and elegant writers turns his own omnivorous mind to the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. More about the book. We did something a little different. Our leader, Karen Grumbles, provided a recipe so  each prepared the same meal and enjoyed a virtual dinner together while we discussed the book! We fed the mind and body and think Mr. Pollan would approve.

the overstory bookcover

November 2020: The Overstory by Richard Powers
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, this book is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, the novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. More about the book.

bringing nature home bookcoverOctober 2020: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy
Tallamy reveals the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. More about the book.

the world is blue book cover

September 2020: The World is Blue: How our Fate and the Oceans are One by Sylvia Earle
From National Geographic: “A Silent Spring for our era, this eloquent, urgent, fascinating book reveals how just 50 years of swift and dangerous oceanic change threatens the very existence of life on Earth. Legendary marine scientist Sylvia Earle portrays a planet teetering on the brink of irreversible environmental crisis… Earle argues passionately and persuasively… to find responsible, renewable strategies that safeguard the natural systems that sustain us. The first step is to understand and act upon the wise message of this accessible, insightful, and compelling book.” More about the book.
Other Earle links:
Short Trailer for Mission Blue Netflix movie featuring Sylvia Earle 
TED Talk on Mission Blue “Hope Spots”
National Geographic Sylvia Earle page

chesapeake requiem

August 2020: Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift
“A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction.” “As development and habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. In Bringing Nature Home, Douglas W. Tallamy reveals the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals.” More about the book.

rise of american conservation movement book cover

July 2020: The Rise of the American Conservation Movement by Dorceta Taylor
“…sweeping social history … [examining] the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century… [showing] how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement. More about the book.

to speak for the trees bookcover

June 2020: To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
“…in a captivating account of how her [the author’s] life led her to these illuminating and crucial ideas, she shows us how forests can not only heal us but save the planet.” More about the book.

inconspicuous consumption bookcover

May 2020: Inconspicuous Consumption: The environmental impact you don’t know you have by Tatiana Schlossberg
“…a compelling and unexpectedly entertaining look at how climate change is entangled in everything we use, buy, eat, wear and how we get around.” More about the book.

the future we choose book cover

April 2020: The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
A recent book, it is both cautionary and hopeful. Given that we are already dealing with so much uncertainty in our lives, this is a good, more optimistic read with suggestions for actions that we can take. More about the book.

 

 

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