Author Birthdays: Chesterton, White, Ehrlich

May 29th marks the birthday of authors G. K. Chesterton, T. H. White, and Paul R. Ehrlich.

G. K. Chesterton was an English author. He wrote mysteries, essays, biographies, and general fiction. His works on Father Brown, a Catholic priest and detective, were even adapted for television in the 70s.

Chesterton also wrote a biography of his friend and "rival" George Bernard Shaw, and the novel The Man Who Was Thursday, which involves seven anarchists in London who give themselves the names of the days of the week.

T. H. White was an English author best known for his Arthurian works The Once and Future King and The Sword in the Stone. The musical Camelot and the Disney film The Sword in the Stone were based on his works.

White also wrote the children's story Mistress Masham's Repose, about an English orphan and her interactions with Lilliputians, a race of people described by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels.

Paul R. Ehrlich is an American writer and biologist, as well as a professor at Stanford University. His works focus on the environment and population growth. His latest book, The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution And The Environment, published in 2008, examines the relationship between the two.

Ehrlich's first big work was The Population Bomb, which discussed overpopulation and its effects on society. His later book, The Population Explosion, considers the topic further, more than 20 years afterward.

No Impact Man

No Impact Movie

Can individual action and sacrifice make any difference to the immense environmental stresses we find in the world today? This is the very question No Impact Man - environmental super-hero Colin Beavan – along with his wife, baby daughter and dog, in their ninth-floor flat in Manhattan, proposed to explore for one long year of the No Impact Project.

During that year, while still going about their daily obligations, they committed to make no net impact on the environment – no garbage, no fossil fuel use, only local foods from within 100 miles and with zero packaging, no electricity, no new purchases and, the ultimate sacrifice, no elevator to the ninth-floor. What difference could any of that make? Quite a bit as it turns out. Read this hilarious book to discover how and why they did it and to get inspired how to reduce your own impact.

Word of the project got out, through Colin's blog and through word of mouth, and, before they knew it, a documentary film team was following them through the year recording the high and low moments of their adventure (and, believe me, there were lows). Find the No Impact Man movie here. The result is humorous and agonizing and entertaining and challenging and surprising.

Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow Project

Buhr Park Wet Meadow ProjectBuhr Park Wet Meadow Project The Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow Project supports meadow ecosystems in Buhr Park. Meadows are an educational natural habitat and storm water filter. On Sunday, May 15, from 10 am to 4 pm, folks from the community will gather to plant over 1,000 plants. The new meadow will connect via a grass path to the original meadow that was planted in September of 1997. The project invites you to join in on the planting fun. Park in the main lot by the pool and ice rink. If you are interested in planting your own meadow, check out these books available at the Ann Arbor District Library:
Urban & Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping To Big And Small Spaces
The American Meadow Garden: Creating A Natural Alternative To The Traditional Lawn

Earth Day Festival Comes to WCC


Come join the fun on Sunday, May 1, noon ~ 4 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival in the beautiful Washtenaw Community College Community Park. All the events are free and this year will feature a concert at 2 p.m. by local singer/songwriter and environmentalist Joe Reilly. Joe is encouraging festival goers to wear costumes representing their favorite plants and animals and join Joe in song and dance.

Visitors may also enjoy free face painting provided by Ann Arbor Cohousing, and
recycled-content crafts sponsored by The Scrap Box. Stop in to see the Bubble Man and
be sure to make time for the Leslie Science and Nature Center’s Birds of Prey and Brian
Cressman’s reptiles.

Earth Day Event: Master Designer Michael Klement Of Architectural Resource, LLC Discusses Creating a Green Home

Are you interested in Green home design for your next new house, remodel or addition? Learn valuable information, insights and inspirations that you can immediately apply to your next building project! This fun-filled event is packed with information providing a glimpse into the opportunities to make a change "at home."

Architectural Resource, LLC is a full-service, award winning, Ann Arbor based architectural design firm headed by Michael Klement who will be leading this discussion. The firm emphasizes Green and sustainable design for residential projects.

If you have ever wondered what you can do personally with your own built environment to make a difference, whether existing or yet to be built, you cannot afford to miss this event!

Wednesday April 20, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

Earth Hour in Ann Arbor

earth hourearth hour

Earth Hour will be celebrated worldwide on Saturday, March 26th. The City of Ann Arbor is participating by turning off the street lights along one block of Main Street from 8:30 a.m ~ 9:30 a.m. and is encouraging businesses and residents to also turn off unnecessary lights during Earth Hour. There's even a cool poster you can download and display in your home or shop window to show your support for the event.

Our Water, Our Future: A Local Panel


Tuesday March 22, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

March 22 is World Water Day. This year's theme, "Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge," aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.

Join us for a special discussion (originally scheduled for February) about our own urban water resources. Professor Mike Wiley of the UM School of Natural Resources will moderate a panel of local water experts, who will discuss the challenges facing our local water systems and what their organizations are doing to plan for the future. Issues affecting the future management of storm, drinking, ground, surface, and wastewater will be discussed.

Magazine Update -- Lil Wayne, Edible Bugs, and Books about Sports

image by kevinzim, Flickr.comimage by kevinzim,
This month's magazines will stun and amaze you! Take a look...

For the young 'uns:
Creative Kids -- Featuring an interview with Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia!
Dig Magazine -- When is a hole in your head a good thing?
Ranger Rick -- Do you know that dolphins live in the Amazon River? And that people all over the world eat bugs? It's a strange world out there...

For the teens:
ESPN Magazine -- What's it like to be Jadeveon Clowney, who has been called the nation's number one high school football player? Read to find out!
Rolling Stone -- the Global Warming Hall of Shame and what Lil Wayne is up to these days.

For the parents:
American Baby -- baby traditions from all over the world, and a guide to scary symptoms that are really no big deal.
Horn Book -- What is 'YA Fatphobia'? Plus the favorite picture books of 2010, and a guide to good sports books for kids.
The Old Schoolhouse -- Tips for teaching technology, foreign language and writing skills at home.

I don't know about you, but I think these magazines sound fascinating. Especially that 'hole in the head' one. I'm already stunned and amazed!

Winter Interpretive Nature Programs at Hudson Mills Metropark

Ah winter, the target of our arrows, the gum under our shoe, the stain we can't scrub out, the thorn in our wooly socks, how you do take fearsome ire from we who live through your months. But wait! It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Just getting outside can turn a furrowed brow into a cheesy smile, and there's plenty for the whole family to do out there as long as you dress warmly enough.

Every Saturday during the month of February, Hudson Mills Metropark will continue to host Winter Interpretive Nature Programs for all ages. Each weekend is a different theme, including the sonorous Bird Hike, the intriguing Better to Eat You With, and the adventurous On the Trail of the Whitetail. Preregistration is required -- phone: 800-477-3191-- and programs cost $3 per person.

March weekends at Hudson Mills will feature the programs, Journey to the Sugar Bush, a guided tour to the sugar bush where you'll learn how maple syrup has been made over the years. Some lucky guests might even get to tap a tree. There is a pancake and sausage breakfast afterward for an additional fee, and preregistration is required.

The AADL also has a range of books on sugaring and making maple syrup.

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet


Eaarth? That is not a typo. That is the name Bill McKibben proposes for the planet we are living on now, which is somewhat familiar, but mostly quite different from the one we have inhabited for the previous 10,000 years of civilization. It’s a whole new world, in other words, where massive change is underway and where new rules of behavior need to be learned.

McKibben is a devoted spokesman for the planet, whichever way you spell it. A long-time environmental activist and a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont, his message is terrifying and hopeful at the same time, if that is possible. He doesn’t gloss over the central theme of the book: we have made a mess of things and we have to wake up and do things differently. Now. Yesterday. There is no time left to equivocate. He desperately wants to rock the foundations of our complacency and inspire us with a way we can maintain our home “lightly, carefully, gracefully”.

Barbara Kingsolver’s advice about Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet: “What I have to say about this book is very simple: Read it, please... Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important.” I agree.

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