Enviro BooksCreated by 49thShelf on April 23, 2012
When the world’s environmental woes get you down, turn to Ecoholic – Canada’s best resource for practical tips and products that help you do your part for the earth. You’ll get the dirt on what not to buy and why, and the dish on great gifts, clothes, home supplies and more. Based on the popular and authoritative "Ecoholic" column that appe …
You know, it’s funny: Canadians are surrounded with so much damn nature we think that automatically nominates us for outdoor MVP of the year. But when hundreds of trees fall in the boreal every minute, does anybody really care? Well, aside from a few folk singers and some placard-bearing enviro-groups, my answer just a few years ago was a reluctant no. Observers declared environmental consciousness dead. Earth Day marches had long been cancelled due to lack of attendance. Indeed, there was but a faint green pulse left in us as we dragged our recyclables out to the curb then hopped into our gas guzzlers with the a/c blasting. Memories of acid rain, dead lakes and the Exxon Valdez had faded to black, along with any recollection of feathered hair and shoulder pads.
Then, sometime in the last year or two, someone somewhere pulled out the defibrillators and called “clear.” Was it the spike in the price of oil, forcing us to reconsider the value of spending 80 bucks a tank just to drive ourselves to the corner store? Was it the increased alarm-ringing of climate change scientists? The drowning polar bears? The breaking levies? The freak storms? The reports that DDT is still swimming in our children’s bloodstreams decades after it was banned or that non-stick chemicals are sticking to bald eagles and floating in breast milk? Maybe, as my local souvlaki guy noted, it was the realization that ever-climbing hydro bills could be tackled only with conservation and sharp questions about why our government isn’t more aggressively subsidizing solar panels and geothermal heat pumps. More realistically, it was all of the above: a perfect storm of factors that made us sit up and say, Holy Toledo, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
But what’s exciting about this surge, this outpouring of interest in all things green, is that everyone, from the trucker up the street to the CEO of Wal-Mart, is taking notice. And whether you’re expressing your concern for the planet by reaching for organic milk, turning off the taps as you brush, driving a little less or not driving at all, it all adds up to a movement.
Sure, sticking to a five-minute shower rule may seem fruitless in the face of a melting planet and relentless emissions from the coal plant two towns down. But are we to throw our hands in the air and bury our heads in the sand as our federal government has? Every drop of water you conserve, each watt of power you save, every green pepper you purchase from a local organic grower sends a message. To paraphrase hockey dads everywhere, if you want to be on a winning team, you have to think like a winner. And sometimes, when that team is slacking, you’ve gotta step up and take the lead. You don’t have to start a march on Parliament Hill to make a statement (though, hey, if you’re itching to try out a megaphone, go ahead). Start small. Start by leading by example. Get your workplace to turn the lights off at night and the thermostat down. Tell your grocery manager you don’t need California mushrooms vacuum-packed on polysterene when he should be pushing local ones, loose. Tell your brother idling is just burning up gas (not to mention the planet) and tell your minister of Parliament you want real action on greenhouse gas emissions for once.
The tough part is that figuring out what’s green and what’s greenwash, what’s eco-friendly and what’s ozone-deadly can be downright dizzying. This is where knowledge comes in to play. The more you know, the more effective your choices, actions and movements can be. And if GI Joe was right that knowing is half the battle, just buying this book (and reading it cover to cover, of course) should turn you a finely trained eco-warrior, or at least make it easier for you to decide what cleaning products to buy. Don’t worry: you don’t have to give up shaving and chain yourself to a tree to be green. Just do what you can, one step at time–until you’re a full-blown ecoholic.
By the time she heads out the front door, the modern woman has spritzed, sudsed, and slathered herself in more than 127 different chemicals, many of them more toxic than beautifying.
So how can you look and feel great while safeguarding your health? Get smart and go green from head to toe with the help of eco-expert Gillian Deacon. In The Green Body …
"In language as sharp as obsidian, as unsentimental as a clear-cut, Charlotte Gill tells the story of her tree-planting tribe, men and women who spend their lives atoning for the deeds of the rest of us who, to this day, continue to sacrifice the greatest temperate rainforest on earth on the altar of our prosperity." -- Wade Davis
"Charlotte Gill is …
The culmination of David Suzuki's knowledge and wisdom and his legacy for generations to come.
If he had to sum up all that he has learned in one last lecture, what would David Suzuki say? In this expanded version of the lecture that he delivered in December 2009 and that will be released as a film in 2010, Suzuki, one of the planet's preeminent el …
""Only God can make a tree,"" wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. In Tree: A Life Story, authors David Suzuki and Wayne Grady extend that celebration in a ""biography"" of this extraordinary — and extraordinarily important — organism. A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single …
The Golden Spruce is the story of a glorious natural wonder, the man who destroyed it, and the fascinating, troubling context in which his act took place.
A tree with luminous glowing needles, the golden spruce was unique, a mystery that biologically speaking should never have reached maturity; Grant Hadwin, the man who cut it down, was passionate, …
Small things are hard to find in Alaska, so when a marine biologist named Scott Walker stumbled across a wrecked kayak on an uninhabited island fifty kilometres north of the Canadian border, he considered himself lucky. The coastal boundary where Alaska and British Columbia meet and overlap is a jagged four-way seam that joins, not just a pair of vast – and vastly different – countries, but two equally large and divergent wildernesses. To the west is the gaping expanse of the North Pacific Ocean, and to the east is the infinity of mountains that forms the heart of what some in the Northwest call Cascadia. The coastline where these worlds meet and bleed into one another is sparsely inhabited and often obscured by fog, the mountains sheared off by low-lying clouds. At sea level, it is a long and convoluted network of deep fjords, narrow channels, and rock-bound islands. It is a world unto itself, separated from the rest of North America by the Coast Mountains, whose ragged peaks carry snow for most of the year. In some places their westward faces plunge into the sea so abruptly that a boat can be fifteen metres from shore and still have a hundred and fifty metres of water beneath her keel. The region is sporadically patrolled, being governed, for the most part, by seven-metre tides and processions of sub-Arctic storms that spiral down from the Gulf of Alaska to batter the long, tree-stubbled lip of the continent. Even on calm days, the coastline may be shrouded in a veil of mist as three thousand kilometres of uninterrupted Pacific swell pummels itself to vapour against the stubborn shore.
The combination of high winds, frequent fog, and tidal surges that can run over fifteen knots makes this coast a particularly lethal one, and when boats or planes or people go missing here, they are usually gone for good. If they are found, it is often by accident a long time later, and usually in a remote location like Edge Point where Scott Walker anchored his seventeen-foot skiff on a fair June afternoon in 1997 while doing a survey of the local salmon fishery. Edge Point is not so much a beach as an alpine boulder field that, at this point in geologic time, happens to be at sea level. It lies at the southern tip of Mary Island, a low hump of forest and stone that forms one side of a rocky, tide-scoured channel called Danger Passage; the nearest land is Danger Island, and neither place was idly named.
Like much of the Northwest Coast, Edge Point is strewn with driftwood logs and whole trees that may be a metre and a half in diameter and stacked twenty deep. Burnished to silver, this mass of wood, much of which has broken loose from log booms and transport barges, lies heaped as high as polar winds and Pacific waves can possibly throw it. Even if a man-made object should make it ashore here in one piece, it won’t last long after it arrives; within the course of a few tide cycles, it will be hammered to pieces between the heaving logs and the immovable boulders beneath them. In the case of a fibreglass boat – such as a kayak – the destruction is usually so complete that it makes the craft hard to recognize, much less find. When a fibreglass yacht was found in a location similar to Edge Point three years after it had disappeared without issuing a distress signal, the largest surviving piece was half a metre long and that was only because it had been blown up into the bushes; the rest of the sixty-foot sloop had been reduced to fragments the size of playing cards. This is why Scott Walker considered himself fortunate: he wasn’t too late; parts of the kayak might still be salvageable.
The beaches here serve as a random archive of human endeavour where a mahogany door from a fishing boat, the remains of a World War II airplane, and a piece from a fallen satellite are all equally plausible finds. Each artifact carries with it a story, though the context rarely allows for a happy ending; in most cases, it is only the scavenger who benefits. Scott Walker has been scavenging things that others have lost here for more than twenty-five years, and he has acquired an informal expertise in the forensics of flotsam and jetsam. If the found object is potentially useful or sufficiently interesting, and if it is small enough to lift, the beachcomber’s code will apply. Walker was abiding by this code when he happened upon the broken kayak and began tearing it apart for the stainless steel hardware.
But when Walker lifted his head from his work he noticed some things that gave him pause. Strewn farther down the tide line were personal effects: a raincoat, a backpack, an axe – and it was then that it occurred to him that his prize might not have simply washed off some beach or boat dock down the coast. The more he noticed – a cookstove, a shaving kit, a life jacket – the narrower the gap between his own good luck and someone else’s misfortune became. This wasn’t shaping up to be a clean find. Walker deduced from the heavier objects’ position lower down in the intertidal zone that the kayak had washed ashore and broken up on a low tide. The lighter objects, including large pieces of the kayak itself, had been carried farther up the beach by subsequent high tides and wind, and it was these that set off alarm bells in Walker’s head. Despite being wrapped around a log, the sleeping bag was still in near-perfect condition; there were no tears or stains, no fading from the salt and sun; the life jacket, too, looked fresh off the rack. Even the cookstove appeared salvageable; wedged between rocks at the water’s edge, it showed only minor rusting. Winter storm season, the most effective destroyer on the coast, had only just ended, so this wreck had to be recent, thought Walker, perhaps only a couple of weeks old. He debated throwing the stove and sleeping bag into his skiff, but then, after considering some possible accident scenarios and recalculating the uncomfortable distance between a stranger’s horror and his own delight, he decided to leave these things where they lay. Besides, he thought, they might be needed for evidence. No one would miss the stainless steel bolts, though, so he pocketed them and headed down the beach, looking for a body.
Walker never found one, and it was only through the Alaska state troopers in Ketchikan, fifty kilometres to the north, that he learned the story behind his chance discovery. The kayak and its owner, a Canadian timber surveyor and expert woodsman named Grant Hadwin, had been missing – not for weeks, but for months. This man, it seemed, was on the run, wanted for a strange and unprecedented crime.
Writing in Dust is the first sustained study of prairie Canadian literature from an ecocritical perspective. Drawing on recent scholarship in environmental theory and criticism, Jenny Kerber considers the ways in which prairie writers have negotiated processes of ecological and cultural change in the region from the early twentieth century to the …