In our March book club meeting we sat around the table to eat & discuss Janisse Ray's "Drifting into Darien". Geoffrey brought a Georgia map which in addition to the ones in the book showed what an extensive drainage systen the Altamaha River has. We discussed her passion and devotion to the Altamaha and to environmental preservation, particulary of the Altamaha.Next month we'll read Barbara Kingsolver's " Flight Behavior" and will meet at the Hoy's on Thursday April 4. We decided to take a break in May, and encourage everyone to go to the Riot in the Pasture on May 19. The next few month's reading is:
June Abundance: the Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler
July Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner
August selections from Post Carbon Reader
The Sustainability Book Club gathers monthly to discuss writings that address sustainability, including issues related to lifestyle, ecology, and economy. The meetings are generally held on the first Thursday of each month at 6 pm at a member's home with everyone bringing a snack.
March: Drifting into Darien by Janisse Ray
April: Flight Bahavior by Barbara Kingsolver
May: No meeting - go to Riot in the Pasture!!!
June: Abundance: the Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler
July: Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner
August: selections from Post Carbon Reader
The Sustainability Book Club gathered on Thursday the 3rd of May at the home of Dot and Geoff Hoy. Thanks to them for being consistently gracious hosts!
Our book for discussion was "My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism" by David Gessner.
Mr Gessner describes himself as a new type of environmentalist. The type that drinks lots of beer on his journey down the famed Charles river through Boston, Mass. He uses cuss words as he canoes a leaky boat with his buddy Dan Driscoll--- the true hero of this tale.
Dan Driscoll just about single handedly orchestrated the reclamation of the once filthy Charles river. A combination of chutzpah and dogged determination brought about results no one could have dreamt possible. Where once were weedy, neglected industrial lots and dumps, now there are urban pockets of green and plenty of city pride as well. Although the land was truly city-owned, possession is the proverbial 9/10's. In spite of that fact, his persuasiveness convinced people not only to give up their hold on plots along the river, they mostly did so willingly!
This pride of place is the emphasis of Gessner's manifesto. He relegates high flown policies and dry discourse to the back seat in favor of the local feet-on-the ground approach. If YOUR river, creek or lake are dirty, start THERE, he argues. If you begin to love birds (as happened to him) you may start to watch and then see the damages happening to their habitat, so, like him, you begin to care about what happens to their home. You may have a favorite park, a favorite patch of woods, a favorite beach. He suggests that you make it your project and priority.
Gessner delivers his message in a somewhat earthy and common man sort of way. He might be the guy on the bar stool next to you who tells you about it and you GET it.
You might give this book to a young person or your favorite uncle who needs a bit of persuading. We agreed that by doing so, he filled a much needed niche. He is not preaching to the choir but instead he is getting the message out to those who might not normally pay heed. And for those of us who give this topic much thought, he is a positive note in a all too grim landscape. With his local focus, he has made a huge problem seem just a little more manageable.
At first thought this delightful and well researched book about the “discovery” of America by Europeans seems just like an interesting retracing of the “missing” history between 1492 and 1620 in North America. Tony Horowitz is a very interesting journalist who recounts the travels of Vikings and Conquistadors by traveling their trails and by intermingling their history with life and current events along those routes once taken.
On a deeper level however, the accounts (or reconstituted histories in the case of the Vikings) of those “discoverers” in their own words or those of people who traveled with them reveals attitudes toward land, resources, and people (Native Americans) which are truly disrespectful, selfish and downright rapacious. Granted, our reading of these histories is shaped by our values and judgments, but the quest for gold, the destruction of native crops and societies, and the enslavement of native people as pack animals and sex objects, lays out the basic principles of the worst tendencies in what later becomes American history.
If environmentalism and sustainability are values that we hold paramount, then this more complete, inclusive view of our North American history is instructive for us in today’s world of the quest for riches, the destruction of cultures and societies we do not understand, the “enslavement” of the poor, the disrespect for our environment, and sexploitation.
Hooray for Horowitz who brings our history alive and helps us know more about the past and hence more about ourselves.