Wednesday, January 23, 2013

There aren't many books I would say everyone should read. Often that's too much of a generalization. I adore To Kill a Mockingbird, it's a classic, etcetera - but I don't think there's much to be gained by forcing it upon everyone. I'd say the same for the poems of Emily Dickinson and Mary Oliver, the works of Virginia Woolf, and Howards End.

But everyone should read Eaarth, by Bill McKibben.

This book was passed on to me by my mom and I'm yet part way through it. For one, it's cleverly written. For two, it makes it absolutely, undeniably clear just how much we've altered the only planet we have. Global warming or global "weirding," as I once heard it called, can seem an abstract concept (especially when you step out your door at noon and it's 19 degrees I did today). McKibben takes away all the vagueness, and it's a little scary, but we only have ourselves to blame.

And so I think that means we can work to fix it.

I lately came across a blog called the No Trash Project and am enjoying going through the archives. It chronicles the efforts of one lady who is trying to live a life that produces no waste. And while that may seem a simple statement, when you begin to think about it (think about what and how much you put in your trash can each day), it's an immense task. But she's up to it; she's doing it. Her weekly waste crate photographs I really like. She has one small (wooden) crate of throwaway things that is never pictured full.

In his book, McKibben makes the point of saying that we have altered the Earth to such a degree that it is a different planet than it once was (hence the title). Consequently, we have to live differently now. It was fortuitous that I found the No Trash Project when I did. It depicts a different way of living, going against the current.

So if you keep a reading list, you now have two things to add to it. I don't say this lightly: Read them soon!

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