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

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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.

Fresh Food, Fresh Ideas

You can still join Community Farm of Ann Arbor and get plenty of fresh, local food this growing season. There is even a kitchen tied to the farm. Need more green ideas? Check out the new book Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying.

For the Birds

As I drove home from work one day I saw a starling get struck by a vehicle. When I noticed that the bird was still alive and struggling to get out of the road...I had to help. After catching the bird I contemplated what to do next while I comforted the bird and marveled at her beautiful iridescent feathers. I remembered once hearing of a place in Washtenaw County to go for help with injured birds, so I drove back to the library to get more information. After some excellent work on behalf of the information desk I had the number for the Bird Center of Washtenaw County. What a relief when the bird center staff answered my call and quickly directed me to their location near central campus. They met me at the door and took the bird into care. There is no fee for the service but donations are welcome. We left our number with the center and asked them to keep us updated. Although the starling didn't make it, I was glad that her last hours were in a warm comfortable place with good care and no pain. What a good thing the bird center is! Although some folks might be happy about one less starling.

Get a Sneak Peek of the new Traverwood Branch!

Ash borer damageAsh borer damage

Missing your neighborhood branch this June? Head over to UM’s Art, Architecture and Engineering Library in the Duderstadt Center on North Campus for a sneak peek at AADL’s new Traverwood Branch. Featuring photographs of the construction process and material samples from inside and outside the branch, the exhibit covers many fascinating aspects of the building’s design, such as the extensive incorporation of ash trees from the site. The exhibit is on display in the central atrium on the second floor of the Duderstadt Center, located just over a mile from the site of the new branch. Stop by and get ready for June 30!

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