While my nose is stuck in my Single Variable Calculus, Stats for Environmental Science & Public Management Economics books, I’m not having much time to research for new, valuable posts. I know you all must be tired of hearing about my life; I’m trying of whining about the same aspects of my life to my tiny readership.
For both our sakes, I’m not going to talk about myself today. Instead, I’m going to give you loads of other, more entertaining people to read. Here is a small list of the “going green” food/agriculture-focused reading I think you’d enjoy:
1. In Defense of Food (follow-up to the more popular The Omnivore’s Dilemma): It’s no secret that Michael Pollan is one of my favorite
writers human beings. When readers left Omnivore’s Dilemma feeling a bit guilty, overwhelmed & conflicted, Pollan wrote this novel, a bit of a clarification. The novel discussed the industrialization of food, the fact that the world will never be vegetarian & that our diet doesn’t have to be complicated. As Pollan puts it, Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. The focus is on bringing food home rather than foodstuffs, the processed, long-ingredient-list packages that make our diets convenient rather than sustainable.
2. Dinner at the New Gene Café: While Pollan is for every reader to enjoy, this book was read while I was researching the development of high fructose corn syrup & genetically modified corn. It comes from St. Louis reporter Bill Lambrecht & traces the evolution of Monsanto, tracing our common pesticides & herbicides from their roots in chemical warfare. It’s eye-opening & really informative, reminding us that if the chemicals are designed to kill some things, there’s a good chance they’re having an effect on many Here’s a quick review of the book.
3. The One-Straw Revolution: Masanobu Fukuoka wrote this manifesto based on his own all-natural, high-yielding farm in Japan, where hopeful farmers from around the world spend a season to try to learn his methods. He traces his experience with natural farming & reminds of us the connection farmers used to have not only to their lands, but with the lands around them–to steal a bit from Harry Eyres:
Fukuoka asserts that ‘the one-acre farmer of long ago spent January, February and March hunting rabbits in the hills.’ Later on, he says that while cleaning his village shrine he found dozens of haikus, composed by local people, on hanging plaques; but ‘there is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song.’
4. Silent Spring: Rachel Carson’s book–a blend of detailed environmental science bits, scenes from around the American landscape & chapters filled with examples of chemical-based plant & animal control gone wrong–changed the way we look at the environmental movement. For forty years, this book has been used in environmental science & conservation classrooms, called upon at eco-friendly meetings & conferences & served as a guideline for how we write about saving the environment. Even if you can’t follow all of the chemistry bits or remember the names of the pesticides (I couldn’t!), the book will give you lots to say when your friends start dogging the “green thinking.
There are others, but I’ll leave that as a good first installment. What’s your favorite book dealing with sustainability, the environment or “eco-living” (for lack of a better label)? I’d love to create a list of them on the Resources page!