GREEN SPACE: Summer Reading List

Hopefully, you'll be headed to a sunny beach or a cozy cabin at some point this summer. Perfect time to catch up on US Weekly and a good ol' fashioned who dunnit. It's not a bad time to grab a tome that will put some thoughts in your head about the world we live in, too. Here are some recommendations.

World Made by Hand, by Howard James Kunstler. This novel imagines a "post-oil" America set in the near future in Northern New York after a series of bombs render the government, freeway system and industry pretty much out for the count.

Imagining 100% local food production, the absence of fuel of any kind -- even bicycles are extinct because there's no rubber to make or patch tires -- is pretty radical. And it forces the reader to imagine just how self-sufficient they might be in a similar situation. Kunstler's pretty much the master of post-apocalyptic imaginings. Awesome read.

Better Off, by Eric Brende. Brende, an MIT grad, and his wife make a pact to live off the grid for 18 months. They move to an un-named town inahabited by some Mennonites, some Amish and some outliers like themselves and delve into farming and associated tasks with tons of heart.

It's a really interesting topic, but Brende's writing can be a bit over-romantic for my tastes. It's worth getting past that if the topic grabs you, though.

Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times
, by Steve Solomon. If you are feeling inspired by all this self-sufficiency, a good place to head is to this helpful guide. Its goal is reasonable backyard production with less intensive work. You know, the way Grandma used to do it.

The Late, Great Lakes: An Environmental History, by William Ashworth. This book came out in 1987, but it's still relevant. The water system we live amidst is fascinating and, for my money, underrated. This book looks at how the lakes have been exploited over the centuries and the effects that has had on wildlife and water volume.

Happy reading!

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
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