How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!
-Mr. William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living by Crissy Trask. Good tips for making changes day-to-day, chock-full of great quotes.
Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century by Alex Steffen. Social and environmental consciousness on a global scale.
Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life by Ed Begley Jr. Huh- Ed Begley Jr. is smart, funny, and worthy of my respect- who knew?
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. Wonderfully written and wholly inspiring, this book totally altered the way I think about food.
Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by Deborah Madison and The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters. Two cookbooks that help to answer the question: What am I to do, exactly, with all this kale and rainbow chard in my produce box?
Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards by Sara B. Stein. Gives us permission to cultivate a wilderness (i.e. not mow the lawn) and valuable information to back it up.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. Made me consider the role nature plays in our lives, as children and as adults; how that fits in with my ideas of spirituality and social responsibility. Also touches on the importance of real freedom in children’s lives. I think this is one of my favorite books, ever.
Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity by Ellen Sandbeck helped me to overcome my chronic germophobia, and save big bucks developing my own homemade cleansers.
Slice of Organic Life , multiple contributors. Maverick loves this book too, particularly the sections specific to poultry-raising. Ways to maintain an organic lifestyle even if your closest connection to nature is your kitchen window. Again, more of a “for beginners” book, but with such pretty pictures that it is totally worth your time.
365 Ways to Save the Earth by Philippe Bourseiller has 365 of the best nature photos ever. You can’t help but yearn to save an earth so beautiful.
Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes by Sharon Lamb and Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds by Susan Gregory Thomas got me good and mad about the ways marketers use to control my children. Now I’ve completely rethought what it means to shop and what my dollar supports.
Walden: 150th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of the American Classic makes me want to build my own house with my own two hands. The incredible photography inspired me to photograph my own Walden, our little patch of wilderness, with hopes of inspiring someone else in turn.
Finally, the book and movie that spurred me into action:
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by our friend Al Gore. Al reminded me that it’s OK to be passionate about something, and that considering the environmental implications of my actions does not automatically mean that I have regressed to my 16-year-old self, wearing peasant skirts, smoking cloves, writing letters on behalf of PETA and sporting a Greenpeace sticker on my bookbag.
(No, I totally quit smoking forever ago. This time around, we’re all about Heifer International and Defenders of Wildlife. And really, is it my fault peasant skirts are back?)