Environmental Reading Recommendations – Redwood City Pulse

Summer is here and that means it’s time to enjoy the outdoors – and maybe learn more about it too. If you’re looking for environmental reading ideas that will inspire, entertain, or educate you, here is my green-themed summer reading list.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. My top choice for environmental reading. As a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer invites us to consider whether we can be stewards rather than plunderers of the land. Reciprocity – the idea that if we restore nature, it will restore us too – may be a strange idea in Western culture, but it has the potential to heal much of what plagues our society today. This is a book that, if you let it, will change the way you think about your relationship with the Earth.

California against the sea: visions for our disappearing coastline by Rosanna Xia. Every Californian – actually every West Coaster – should read this book. Rosanna against the ocean, can we emerge victorious? And as we make difficult choices about where and how to protect our communities, will we prioritize the most vulnerable among us, or will we allow those with the most power to determine our course of action? Xia surveys communities and landscapes along the coast to explore the problems—and possible solutions—that California will continue to grapple with in the coming decades.

Entangled life: how fungi make our world, change our minds, and shape our future by Merlin Sheldrake. It is a fun, engaging and enlightening read. If the word “mold” makes you think primarily of mushrooms, think again. Sheldrake shows us how fungi interact with all living things on a deep, structural level; more than 90% of all plant species depend on mycorrhizal fungal networks for their survival, and these networks allow plants to communicate with each other. This book also contains chapters on truffles and ‘magic mushrooms’. Still, I found those sections far less interesting than the exploration of how fungal networks behave (turns out slime molds are experts at finding the shortest path through a maze or an IKEA store). Read this book and gain a new appreciation for how little we actually know about nature!

Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life by Barbara Kingsolver. In the modern American food system, we have become so far removed from the origins of our food that it may sound crazy for a family to decide to consume only locally produced food for a year. But that’s exactly what novelist Barbara Kingsolver and her family decided to do when they moved from urban Arizona to a plot of farmland in Appalachia. This book combines a discussion of American food and agricultural policy with an entertaining and humorous chronicle of this family’s adventures in farming. Kingsolver’s story is interspersed with her teenage daughter’s recipes and her husband’s sidebars on topics like urban farming and bread baking, making for a lively and fun read and a call to action for all of us to think more deeply about the question whether we really need those bananas. traveled thousands of miles to reach us.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Elizabeth Kolbert documents, through case studies in different parts of the world, how our planet is currently experiencing a species extinction similar to the five previous extinction events (including the one that killed the dinosaurs). . Will we wake up to the reality of the man-made biodiversity crisis in time to change course? Despite the dark theme, this book is entertaining and informative, taking us to fascinating ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest. Read this book so you can fall in love with these disappearing species and understand on more than an intellectual level why we need to save them.

Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Agriculture by Liz Carlisle. Not many people will have heard of this book (published by Island Press), so let me be the first to tell you that you need to read it. In just a few decades we have become so accustomed to modern farming – gigantic fields of monoculture, doused in fertilizers and pesticides and increasingly dependent on genetically modified seeds – that ‘traditional’ farming methods seem as bizarre as traveling by horse and cart. buggy. But in many places around the country, farmers—many of them Indigenous and people of color—are reconnecting with their roots and showing us how easily soil vitality can return. Read this book if you need hope!

What are your favorite books about the environment? Tell me in the comments!