Book Picks for Green Communities II

Amanda Luker
Arise! Bookstore and Resource Center

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, HarperCollins, 2007. With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves or learn to live without it.

¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia, Oscar Olivera, South End Press, 2004. The triumphant struggle of grassroots activists in Cochabamba, Bolivia, sounded a significant opening salvo in the water wars. In 2001, water warriors there regained control of their water supply and defied all odds by driving out the transnational corporation that had stolen their water in the first place.

Collapse, Jared Diamond, Viking Adult, 2004. In his bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?

The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Michael Brower, Three Rivers Press, 1999. Some choices have a huge impact on the environment; others are of negligible importance. To those of us who care about our quality of life and what is happening to the earth, this is a vastly important issue. In these pages, the Union of Concerned Scientists informs consumers about everyday decisions that significantly affect the environment.

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, Bill McKibben, Times Books, 2007. In this powerful and provocative manifesto, Bill McKibben offers the biggest challenge in a generation to the prevailing view of our economy. For the first time in human history, he observes, more is no longer synonymous with better—indeed, for many of us, they have become almost opposites.

Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization, Derrick Jensen, Seven Stories Press, 2006. Jensen lays out a series of provocative premises, including “Civilization is not and can never be sustainable” and “Love does not imply pacifism.” He vividly imagines an end to technologized, industrialized civilization and a return to agragrian communal life.

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss, Random House Books for Young Readers, 1971. Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty.

ReadyMade: How to Make [Almost] Everything: A Do-It-Yourself Primer, Shoshana Berger & Grace Hawthorne, Clarkson Potter, 2006. A partly serious, partly humorous look at materials we usually discard, the work provides step-by-step instructions on how to transform paper, plastic, metal, wood, concrete and fabric into such unlikely household items as a chopstick clock or a colander light.

Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things (New Report, No 4), John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning, Northwest Environment, 1997. Stuff takes you to the places and people you touch every day-when you sip your coffee, tie your shoes, click your mouse, or step on the gas. Once you follow a day in the life of an average North American and see the secret lives of your food, clothes and toys, your world will never look the same.

The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. and Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., Harmony Books, October, 2000. In this landmark book, sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson draw upon 13 years of survey research studies on over 100,000 Americans, plus over 100 focus groups and dozens of depth interviews. They tell who the Cultural Creatives are, and the fascinating story of their emergence over the last generation.

To obtain a copy of any of these books, visit your local bookstore or Arise! Bookstore at 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. in Minneapolis 612-871-7110 or

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