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.  200px-The_Lorax

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.