Raise your environmental I.Q.

A great local resource for information on environmental issues in the Great Lakes States is The Great Lakes Natural Resources Center which is a regional unit of the National Wildlife Federation. Their website includes factsheets on global warming's effects on Michigan climate, proposed electric generation changes and much more. There is also current news on conserving Michigan's water rights and the future impact of green technology on the auto industry. You can learn about programs the Center is initiating like legal action against sulfide mining operations that threaten the Lake Superior Basin. Check out this valuable resource to stay on top of the news about how to maintain the beauty and ecology of Michigan. Also, check out the Library's excellent collection of books on the Great Lakes.

Save Energy at Home

The weather is getting colder, and it is becoming more and more apparent that my house is not very energy efficient. This concerns me because I am interested in environmental issues. And more importantly, I want my utilities bills to be cheap. So what is one to do? Well, one should go to the library and find some handy books on how to save energy (and money) at home. Here’s what I’m reading:

The Energy Saving House
Fun book from French authors who work with the eco-centre Terre Vivante. Very technical at times, but very interesting. Do you know what a negawatt is?

Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings
This tried and true best-seller has several editions. The 9th is the most recent. The book has lots of practical advice, and a lot of the fixes are quick and relatively cheap and easy. Just my style.

Plants In The News

Pulp Tree

So when you bring the green indoors this winter the plants may say "thank you".

Maybe you heard about Midori the blogging houseplant. Midori lives in Donburi Cafe in Kamakura Japan.

Just as plants are finding a voice in Japan the government of Switzerland has placed a ban on the humiliation of plants.

Read about the botanical interface that makes plant blogging possible and check out a product that will help you listen to your own plant.

Interested in this topic, check out these books: Plantwatching: how plants remember, tell time, form partnerships, and more / Malcolm Wilkins and Natural affairs: a botanist looks at the attachments between plants and people / Peter Bernhardt

As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial

Is there anything funny about global warming? Derrick Jensen, a committed and very serious environmental activist, manages to find some thin threads of humor behind the despair in As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial. In the format of a graphic novel, he tells a fable-like story of the Earth versus big business; environmentalists versus profiteers; creatures (yes, snails and foxes and a one-eyed bunny) versus dam builders. The result manages to score the point: if we don’t change our direction, we will end up where we are headed. Other titles by Jensen include Thought to Exist in the Wild, which presents the case against zoos, and How Shall I Live My Life?, interviews with ten progressive thinkers about resisting the dominant culture of excess.

Chronic Wasting Found in Michigan Deer

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and DNR confirmed the first known case of chronic wasting in deer in Michigan at a private deer facility. There is no evidence that it has spread to the wild population yet but DNR is asking hunters this fall to take their deer to check stations for sampling so the wild population can be better studied.

Chronic Wasting Disease affects deer, elk and moose and is believed to be caused by prions. You may have heard of prions before as the cause of Mad Cow Disease. Unlike Mad Cow Disease which has been shown to carry over into humans, there are no known human infections of chronic wasting. For more information about prion diseases you may be interested in the book The pathological protein : Mad Cow, Chronic Wasting, and other deadly prion diseases

For those interested in the Michigan side of things, the Michigan government has a site devoted to chronic wasting disease in Michigan along with information on other emerging diseases such as Bovine TB.

Make Your Own Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products

If you're tired of flushing toxic substances and money down the drain, consider making your own earth-friendly cleaning products at the Building a Green Life event on Wednesday, August 27, from 7:00-8:30 at the Malletts Creek branch. Recycle Ann Arbor's Jason Bing, director of the En-House, will lead a hands-on workshop where you'll have the opportunity to put together a non-toxic cleaning kit to take home. The Library also has a variety of materials you can check out on buying, using, and making natural products to clean your home.

Finally! It IS easy to be green!

If you are like me, you are interested in being more socially responsible, like going beyond simple recycling and doing your part to help save our planet for future generations, but you don't have lots of money and time to devote to "going green". Sound familiar? If so, then you need to get yourself a copy of Renee Loux's Easy green living : the ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home. This lifestyle guide is PACKED with information about the simple, affordable choices we can make to avoid toxins, conserve natural resources and generally be more eco-smart. Whether you choose to take tiny baby steps or completely overhaul your wasteful self, you will find the answers you need. One of my favorite easy eco-tips is the following: "About 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used annually to produce the 5.8 million tons of catalogs and unsolicited wads of preapproved credit card offers and other junk that arrive at our homes - 44 percent of which are thrown away unopened....Stop credit card offers. Go to www.optoutprescreen.com, where the consumer credit report industry lets you opt out of receiving preapproved and prescreened credit card offers." Now imagine if we all did that!

Pulp

Magazine 2

Check out Good, a magazine available downtown on the second floor. On page 68 of the July/August issue there is an article entitled Beautiful Messes: A Travel Guide to Man-Made Disasters. The destinations are educational and often times more affordable than the more conventional vacation... except in the case of the private yacht you'd need to tour the floating plastic triangle in the Pacific Ocean. Instead of paying to wait 2 hours for a single roller coaster ride at Disneyland in California you could head south to the beautiful man-made Salton Sea.

The state of Michigan agriculture

trespassingtrespassing

Acclaimed local author and English professor at Eastern Michigan University, Janet Kauffman has written a new book titled Trespassing: Dirt Stories & Field Notes. Kauffman grew up on a farm and now lives and works on one. As witness to the demise of the family farm by industrial agriculture, she knows what she's writing about. A combination of short stories and essays, the book, in writer Keith Taylor's words, is "a new form of literature and advocacy...The result is eloquent rage and despair, always tempered by a deep love for her southern Michigan landscape and even by the tenuous possibility of hope."

Hear Ms. Kauffman read from her work this Wednesday, July 9 at 7 p.m. at Shaman Drum Bookshop.

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau

American Earth, a hefty collection of essays and poetry, reads like a who's who of the shining stars of the environmental movement. Such literary environmentalists as Wendell Berry and John Burroughs; contemporary foodies Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan; poets Mary Oliver and Gary Snyder and activists John Muir, Julia Butterfly Hill and Cesar Chavez are represented, and join the voices of 92 other advocates for protecting and preserving the natural heritage of our planet. Edited by Bill McKibben, a prolific author and activist himself, this timely and thought-provoking book gives a picture of the long history and creativity of the environmental imagination. The range of material and diversity of authors - farmers, scientists, university professors, economists, singers, two presidents and one vice-president - means there is something here for everyone.

Syndicate content