recommended inspiration

You really should read this book

Raising Elijah
by Sandra Steingraber

Raising Elijah cover

Well of course this book is right up my alley, who wouldn't want a better understanding of the environmental dangers of slickwater hydraulic fracturing at this juncture in history? She's dead-on with her balance of realism and hope, and with her call to move toward systemic solutions. One morning I heard some fracking guy on NPR whining about how his industry is being singled out unfairly if they have to disclose which chemicals they are unleashing into our environment in massive quantities, and thanks to Steingraber, my first thought was, yea, keep talking dude, you're right, we need to do it across all industries. Buy she’s a mama, so she also gives some practical advice for those of us who are trying to get maximum meaning from limited energy (yep, line drying the laundry is one of her suggestions).


Other Books I like

Offering much-needed glimpses of hope and practical suggestions for turning hope into action…

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money
by Woody Tasch

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money cover Just in case you’re wondering how to reallocate your stock portfolio. You know, like, ethically. Don’t tell your broker (or my father).

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith cover I have a battered paperback of this that I mostly leave out on my bedside table, as it’s a marvelous touchstone for those of us who are neurotically guilt-ridden: in these essays, Lamott holds out an offering of the possibility of self-forgiveness. For which I thank her whenever I get too far under it all.

Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry

Jayber Crow cover My book club found this novel too slow, but once I slowed myself down to manage the stumbling pace, I was rewarded with one of those all-too-rare readerly experiences of pure delight. So don’t give up. Or, just read anything Berry has written: it’s all worthwhile.

World Made by Hand: A Novel
by James Howard Kunstler

World Made by Hand: A Novel cover The fictional antidote to all those bleak future-dystopia tales, this novel carries us into a believable future dystopia, but with a core faith in human nature which makes it seem bearable.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things cover A classic that retains its power to challenge the way we think about consumer goods and how we interact with them.

What to Eat
by Marion Nestle

What to Eat cover Nestle basically said all the stuff Michael Pollan said so well, but she said it first. I love Pollan, but Nestle’s encyclopedic book makes a great reference to have around when you can’t remember exactly why you’re not supposed to let your kids eat the cookie dough with raw eggs in it.

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
by Bill McKibben

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future cover Like it says. “Durable future” sounds good to me.

My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism
by David Gessner

My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism cover Gessner reminds us that love of place keeps our hearts engaged as we pursue environmental goals, but he gives us all a break with his soon-to-be-classic call for us to embrace our own hypocrisy: “What we need are more hypocrites,” he says. “We need hypocrites who aren’t afraid of admitting it but will still fight for the environment. We don’t need some sort of pure movement run by pure people. We need hypocrites!” Plus, it’s simply a great read.

Books I’d avoid now that I’ve read them

Basically, these books freaked me out and sent me under the bedcovers for a few months (yes, each, that’s almost a year hiding my head under the comforter). I find that in order to stay moving forward, even if there are a lot of backward steps in my forward movement, I have to try and stay not-overly-freaked-out. So go ahead and read these books if you’ve got a thick hide or if you need convincing that global warming will create a truly catastrophic future if left unchecked.

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
by Bill McKibben

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet cover

Some great stuff, but I had to skim most of it until the last chapter about the potential of the internet to help transform society for the better. I’m still waiting for that one, but we can hope.


Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
by Mark Lynas

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet cover

Want to have nightmares about oceans spewing toxic gasses into sulfur-yellow skies? Go right ahead. He’ll also tell you which parts of the planet may remain habitable, so you can plan your next real estate deal.


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