Sustainability Series Continues This Fall

Our series of events featuring books about environmental justice, nature, ethical food, and other issues of sustainability continues with five more events this Fall.

September 2, 7PM: A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka by Meera Subramanian

In this lyrical and intimate tapestry of five stories dealing with life, loss, and survival in modern-day India, Meera Subramanian travels in search of the ordinary people and micro-enterprises redeeming India's natural world. An engineer-turned-farmer brings organic food to Indian plates. Villagers revive a dead river. Well-intentioned cookstove designers persist on a quest for a smokeless fire. Biologists bring vultures back from the brink of extinction. And in Bihar, one of India's most impoverished states, a bold young woman teaches young adolescents the fundamentals of sexual health and in the process, unleashes their untapped potential. In these true stories, Subramanian discovers renewed hope for a sustainable and prosperous future for India.

September 9, 5PM: Urban nature walk with Clare Walker Leslie, author of The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You

With dozens of simple prompts and exercises, best-selling author, naturalist, and artist Clare Walker Leslie offers adults of all ages an invitation to step outside for just a few minutes a day, reignite the sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world, and discover the peace and grounding that can be found by connecting to nature as part of daily life. Using photography as well as the author's own illustrations, The Curious Nature Guide invites readers to start at home, using all of their senses to notice the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of the trees, plants, animals, birds, insects, clouds, and other features that can be observed right outside their doorstep, no matter where they live. Prompts range from suggestions to note one daily exceptional nature image to learning to identify cloud types and the weather they bring, or creating a record of nature spottings on daily walks with the dog.

September 9, 7PM: Fire and Ice: Soot, Solidarity, and Survival on the Roof of the World by Jonathan Mingle

High in the Himalayan valley of Zanskar in northwest India sits a village as isolated as the legendary Shangri-La. Long fed by runoff from glaciers and lofty snowfields, Kumik--a settlement of thirty-nine mud brick homes--has survived and thrived in one of the world's most challenging settings for a thousand years. But now its people confront an existential threat: chronic, crippling drought, which leaves the village canal dry and threatens to end their ancient culture of farming and animal husbandry. Fire and Ice weaves together the story of Kumik's inspiring response to this calamity with the story of black carbon. Black carbon from inefficient fires--the particulate residue that makes soot dark--is the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. It's also a key ingredient of the air pollution that public health experts regard as humanity's greatest environmental health risk worldwide: soot-laden smoke from household hearth fires and outdoor sources combine to kill over seven million people around the world every year.

September 24, 7PM: Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen 

If you dream of living in a tiny house, or creating a getaway in the backwoods or your backyard, you'll love this gorgeous collection of creative and inspiring ideas for tiny houses, cabins, forts, studios, and other microshelters. Created by a wide array of builders and designers around the United States and beyond, these 59 unique and innovative structures show you the limits of what is possible. Each is displayed in full-color photographs accompanied by commentary by the author. In addition, Diedricksen includes six sets of building plans by leading designers to help you get started on a microshelter of your own. You'll also find guidelines on building with recycled and salvaged materials, plus techniques for making your small space comfortable and easy to inhabit.

October 6, 7PM: Out of Sight: The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe by Erik Loomis

In Out of Sight, Erik Loomis—a historian of both the labor and environmental movements—follows the thread that runs from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York in 1911 to the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013. The truth is that our systems of industrial production today are just as dirty and abusive as they were during the depths of the industrial revolution and the Gilded Age, but the ugly side of manufacturing is now hidden in faraway places where workers are most vulnerable.