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5 Earth Day Reads: Minnesota Sea Grant Staff Recommendations

Photo: Dale reading a book

To connect coastal communities to aquatic science with verified facts, Sea Grant extension educators spend many hours reading journal articles. What do they read in their off-hours? Books! Books reveal others' thoughts and ideas; books recharge creative energies. In honor of Earth Day 2015, Minnesota Sea Grant recommends the following books highlighting the complexities of a world full of water ... and its inherent issues:

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
by Charles Fishman, Free Press (2012)
In this narrative, Fishman explores the momentum for a change in how society approaches water use. Referencing practices such as harvesting rainwater and reusing water in innovative ways, he demonstrates how a culture shift toward sustainable water systems is underway. The overarching theme is smart water use on a global scale, which he argues is entirely possible.

The Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve, Capture, and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape
by Laura Allen, Storey Publishing, LLC (2015)
Allen's "how-to" book offers steps to gain efficient water use on the home front; it also provides a witty commentary on the toils of a culture that freely wastes water. The book provides convincing evidence that something needs to be done — and gives homeowners the power to do it.

Flight Behavior: A Novel
by Barbara Kingsolver, Harper (2012)
Adding to the "Cli-Fi genre," Kingsolver crafts a parable exploring how people come to believe in particular chosen truths. Set in Appalachia, the story concerns monarch butterflies, climate and a young mother on a failing farm. Woven with scientific facts, the tale details social issues — economic disparity, religion, politics, science, etc. — that charge climate change discussions with emotion.

Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back
by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy, Simon and Schuster (2013)
Asking why some systems break down and others rebound, Zolli and Healy look at new scientific and cultural innovations aiming to create a resilient world. Their lessons are insightful, but, more importantly, they span wide disciplines to demonstrate how we can better comprehend and tackle the world's major issues.

Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World
by Jared Green, Princeton Architectural Press (2015)
Serving as a curator of inspiring ideas, Green compiles a "look book" with the help of 80 top-notch designers and professionals working with sustainability concepts. These contributors each write about a project that offers hope for a promising future. Supported by photographs and graphics, this compilation will spark your imagination and maybe prompt you to create something that will contribute to a sustainable world.

Happy Earth Day! There's no place like home!

For more on Minnesota Sea Grant information, visit www.seagrant.umn.edu.

Posted on April 20, 2015

This page last modified on April 20, 2015     © 1996 – 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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