If you’ve read God’s Whisper Manifesto, you’ll know that one of the principles I have for the farm here is “Be as Green As Possible Without Being Stupid.” To that end, I read a lot of books about how to use less, reuse more, and reduce my impact on this gorgeous planet as much as possible.
So today, in my weekly top ten, I bring you my favorite “green” books, in no particular order.
1. Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich – it was this book, more than any other, that told me I could live this dream of the farm – making much of my own food, raising animals, and doing it all (until recently) as a single woman. Pick up the book and follow Jenna’s blog for her homestead, Cold Antler Farm.
2. Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days by Vanessa Farquharson – While it did take me a while to sink into this one, Farquharson’s wit won me over, as did her full-fledged but not always enthusiastic commitment to make a “green” change every day for a year.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver- If I can do what Kingsolver did – eat from within a 30 mile radius, except for coffee and spices – I will be giddy. And every day, I’m getting closer. Our wedding will be our first go-round with what we hope will be a regular practice here at God’s whisper.
4. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams- I read this book back in college, and it stuck with me because of its powerful writing but also because of the link she makes between place and illness, an idea I have long known since it is possible that my mom’s first round of cancer came from the place where she lived.
5. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Freidman – I listened to this book in the car, and each time, I was so charged up (pardon the pun) about powering down my appliances and only using renewable resources for power that I fairly glowed (naturally, of course.)
6. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan- I’ve enjoyed all of Pollan’s books (and am eager to read his newest one), but this book was the one that most shaped my understanding of food, health, and environmental responsibility. I savored it, like a fresh melon.
7. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss – My friend Jodi played the Lorax when we in high school, and I remember wondering why I had never read this book. I still wonder that, especially since it explains to children and adults just what kind of consequences their are for human greed.
8. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood – Just as her book The Handmaid’s Tale gave me a story to carry my burgeoning feminism, this book helps me place potential environmental devastation on the lives of human beings. It was powerful.
9. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer – At this point in my life, I am eating meat again, but this book is always in my mind – asking me to question my choices of whether or not to do so and if I do, where to get my meat. A very hard but very important read.
10. The Book of Dead Birds by Gayle Brandeis – If ever I read a book that showed me the current consequences of our choices about pesticides and animal life, it was this one. (Plus, as a writer, there’s a bonus in that Gayle writes with responsibility and astuteness from a cultural perspective not her own.)
So that’s my list. I’m adding Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold to my to-read list, too.
What else do you recommend I read? What other “green” books do you appreciate?
This post is part of the Super Summer Reading Program. I hope you’ll join us, and if you’re already reading away, feel free to share your list so far in the comments below.