Are you ready to celebrate your momma? Don’t worry, Mother’s Day isn’t for another month, but you can celebrate your earth mother on April 22! Jefferson City celebrates Earth Day 2014 on Friday, April 25, and Columbia will hold its downtown Earth Day celebration the following Sunday (April 27th). Until then, here are some books to get you in the Earth Day spirit.
Read a novel about our planet (fictional books):
- “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver. A story of a woman and her family living in modern-day Appalachia, which discusses the intersection of rural poverty and the environment. Kingsolver has written many other books regarding the environment, including an account of her family living solely off food they and their neighbors grew for an entire year!
- “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn. The novel begins with this newspaper advertisement: “TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.” This philosophical work employs a monkey teacher and his human student to examine mythology’s effect on ethics and how it relates to sustainability.
- “Arctic Rising” by Tobias S. Buckell. In this futuristic tale, the arctic ice cap has almost completely melted, and militaries and corporations are racing to claim the newly exposed ocean oil.
Educate yourself on environmental issues (nonfiction books):
- “Mycelium Running” by Paul Staments. Learn about the mysterious world of mushrooms and how they can help save the world! Staments has discovered a way to use mushrooms’ microscopic mycelium to decompose toxic waste, reduce pathogens from agricultural watersheds, control insect populations and generally promote the health of our forests.
- “The Upcycle” by William McDonough. It’s rare to read a book that is optimistic about humanity’s future on earth, but according to this book we can save the health of our planet by taking a different approach to the way we live on it. Author William McDonough believes our ecological crisis is fundamentally a design problem and that we can (and must) create products that are designed to leave a positive impact on the environment instead of a negative or even a ‘zero impact.’
- “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert. Guess which species the title refers to? Yep, it’s us, womp womp. Earth has hosted five major extinctions over the past half a billion years, all of which caused the number of species on the planet to greatly diminish. “The Sixth Extinction” uses natural history and field reporting to chronicle the extinction unfolding before us.
- “Radical Homemakers” by Shannon Hayes. This book documents a new kind of homemaker: men and women who have chosen to return to their homes and families as an ecological and political act. These individuals seek to reclaim the role of a homemaker from corporations, capitalism and patriarchy in an attempt to find empowerment and fulfillment through nurturing their families and the environment.
Now get out there and do something! (books about gardening and green living):
- “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Appelhof. Take composting to a whole new level by using worms to recycle your waste.
- “The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture” by Christopher Shein. Go beyond gardening and create your own sustainable food ecosystem!
- “The Backyard Homestead.” Whether you live in town or in the country, learn how to raise chickens, grow and preserve food, keep bees and much more! Be sure to check out this book or one of our many other books on the subject of homesteading.
- “Cooking Green” by Kate Heyhoe. Take steps to reduce your carbon footprint starting in the kitchen! This book discusses ways you can cook and eat that are healthier for both you and the planet.
- “The Naturally Green Home” by Karyn Siegel-Maier. Save money and the environment by learning how to use non-toxic substances to clean your house.
Happy Earth Day!