The Power of Reading
Reading is a great way to expand one’s horizons. Books help to improve our sense of empathy, memory, as well as a whole host of other health benefits. Today, I would like to recommend a few of my favorite books relating to the environment and sustainability. I tried to incorporate a variety of books whose authors have different ideological backgrounds, such that readers can interpret a wide range of perspectives, and eventually, come to their own conclusions.
First up is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This was actually my first “required reading” coming into college. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer draws on her Potawatomi heritage in order to detail the importance of nurturing ecological awareness. The nature of nature is discussed (no pun intended), as well as what we humans can do in order to promote what Kimmerer coins as “regenerative reciprocity.”
Next up is The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix, edited by Dominick A. DellaSala and Chad T. Hanson. This collection provides nuance to the contemporary debate on wildfire prevention. A total of 27 scientists contributed to the development of this book, each of whom have been associated with fire management policy, either directly or indirectly. Even if you live in an area that is not considered vulnerable to wildfires, I would highly recommend reading this book.
Finally, for the younger reader, I have two books to suggest: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, and Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. The Lorax, as you probably already know, features a cast of colorful characters who hope to demonstrate the importance of ecological awareness in industrialized, corporate society. Hoot, while a children’s book, is designed for readers older than those targeted by The Lorax. Set in sunny Florida, Hoot follows an effort to stop the construction of a restaurant in order to save the nests of burrowing owls.
Of course, these books are not the only ones that exist which talk about environmental causes. However, they are all books I would consider taking a look at. The power to read can enhance our collective understanding of ecological awareness.
Written by Dax Emerson, Class of 2021