Join us the FIRST Thursday of the month at 6:00PM at various locations for our book club. Contact email@example.com if you have questions.
The Sustainability Book Club is a fun and welcoming environment for readers that want to learn more about the environment and sustainability. We meet on the FIRST Thursday of each Month at 6:00 PM. A time for snacks and socializing precedes the meeting. Book club books are discounted at South Main Book Company, or check to see if they are available at the library.
August: Milk: A 10,000-year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky
We will meet at South Main Book Company
Mark Kurlansky’s first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy–with recipes throughout.
According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera’s breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother’s milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself.
Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the nineteenth century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement, and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization.
Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid’s diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.
September: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan
“Nimbly splices together history, science, reporting and personal experiences into a taut and cautiously hopeful narrative.… Egan’s book is bursting with life (and yes, death).” ―Robert Moor, New York Times Book Review
The Great Lakes―Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior―hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.
October: Farmacology: Total Health From the Ground Up by Daphne Miller
n Farmacology, practicing family physician and renowned nutrition explorer Daphne Miller brings us beyond the simple concept of “food as medicine” and introduces us to the critical idea that it’s the farm where that food is grown that offers us the real medicine.
By venturing out of her clinic and spending time on seven family farms, Miller uncovers all the aspects of farming—from seed choice to soil management—that have a direct and powerful impact on our health. Bridging the traditional divide between agriculture and medicine, Miller shares lessons learned from inspiring farmers and biomedical researchers and artfully weaves their insights and discoveries, along with stories from her patients, into the narrative. The result is a compelling new vision for sustainable healing and a treasure trove of farm-to-body lessons that have immense value in our daily lives.
In Farmacology you will meet:
- a vegetable farmer in Washington State who shows us how the principles he uses to rejuvenate his soil apply just as well to our own bodies. Here we also discover the direct links between healthy soil and healthy humans.
- a beef farmer in Missouri who shows how a holistic cattle-grazing method can grow resilient calves and resilient children.
- an egg farmer in Arkansas who introduces us to the counterintuitive idea that stress can keep us productive and healthy. We discover why the stressors associated with a pasture-based farming system are beneficial to animals and humans while the duress of factory farming can make us ill.
- a vintner in Sonoma, California, who reveals the principles of Integrated Pest Management and helps us understand how this gentler approach to controlling unwanted bugs and weeds might be used to treat invasive cancers in humans.
- a farmer in the Bronx who shows us how a network of gardens offers health benefits that extend far beyond the nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables grown in the raised beds. For example, did you know that urban farming can lower the incidence of alcoholism and crime?
- finally, an aromatic herb farmer in Washington State who teaches us about the secret chemical messages we exchange with plants—messages that can affect our mood and even keep us looking youthful.
In each chapter, Farmacology reveals the surprising ways that the ecology of our body and the ecology of our farms are intimately linked. This is a paradigm-changing adventure that has huge implications for our personal health and the health of the planet.
The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser
The gripping story of the most important overlooked commodity in the world–sand–and the crucial role it plays in our lives.
After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other–even more than oil. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, is made from sand. From Egypt’s pyramids to the Hubble telescope, from the world’s tallest skyscraper to the sidewalk below it, from Chartres’ stained-glass windows to your iPhone, sand shelters us, empowers us, engages us, and inspires us. It’s the ingredient that makes possible our cities, our science, our lives–and our future.
And, incredibly, we’re running out of it.
The World in a Grain is the compelling true story of the hugely important and diminishing natural resource that grows more essential every day, and of the people who mine it, sell it, build with it–and sometimes, even kill for it. It’s also a provocative examination of the serious human and environmental costs incurred by our dependence on sand, which has received little public attention. Not all sand is created equal: Some of the easiest sand to get to is the least useful. Award-winning journalist Vince Beiser delves deep into this world, taking readers on a journey across the globe, from the United States to remote corners of India, China, and Dubai to explain why sand is so crucial to modern life. Along the way, readers encounter world-changing innovators, island-building entrepreneurs, desert fighters, and murderous sand pirates. The result is an entertaining and eye-opening work, one that is both unexpected and involving, rippling with fascinating detail and filled with surprising characters.
Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee
Designer and TED star Ingrid Fetell Lee explains how to cultivate a happier, healthier life by making small changes to your surroundings.
Have you ever wondered why we stop to watch the orange glow that arrives before sunset, or why we flock to see cherry blossoms bloom in spring? Is there a reason that people — regardless of gender, age, culture, or ethnicity — are mesmerized by baby animals, and can’t help but smile when they see a burst of confetti or a cluster of colorful balloons.
We are often made to feel that the physical world has little or no impact on our inner joy. Increasingly, experts urge us to find balance and calm by looking inward — through mindfulness or meditation — and muting the outside world. But what if the natural vibrancy of our surroundings is actually our most renewable and easily accessible source of joy?
In Joyful, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee explores how the seemingly mundane spaces and objects we interact with every day have surprising and powerful effects on our mood. Drawing on insights from neuroscience and psychology, she explains why one setting makes us feel anxious or competitive, while another fosters acceptance and delight — and, most importantly, she reveals how we can harness the power of our surroundings to live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. You’re welcome whether or not you’ve read the book. Likewise, if you’re unable to be with us but read the book, we’d appreciate your thoughts.