Eight books, one novel and a brand new class: science journalist Bill Allen’s summer reading list

This month we asked some environmentally minded stars at Mizzou what they suggest for a little summer reading.

Science writer Bill Allen gazes into the Cloud Forest treetops during a January 2011 MU study abroad trip to Costa Rica. Photo by Jessica Barnett.

MU journalism professor Bill Allen, knows his environmental writing. In fact, he wrote a book on tropical dry forest restoration in Costa Rica called Green Phoenix. While we wait for the author’s 10-year update on Green Phoenix to wrap up, try something from his list of other science, climate and agriculture books he enjoys.

1. Richard Preston, The Wild Trees
2. John McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid
3. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
4. Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
5. Michael Pollan, Omnivore’s Dilemma
6. Duff Wilson, Fateful Harvest
7. Michael Pollan, Botany of Desire
8. John McPhee, Basin and Range

He adds, “for a great novel with lots of environment-agriculture themes (and kinda steamy), see Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer.”

If you need added incentive to put some books under your belt, you can take Professor Allen’s “Readings in Science Journalism: Four Great Books on the Environment” class, where he will teach the first four books listed. “Ag Journalism 3385” is a five-week, 1 credit hour class in the fall. For more information, download the flier or e-mail allenwi@missouri.edu.

Columbia, Mo., Midsummer Sustainability Roundup!

One glance at the Columbia Missourian’s website shows great changes for sustainability in the community.  Here are some highlights:

Photo by Kristan Lieb from the Columbia Missourian — Part of the sitting area in the Root Cellar's new location in the North Village Arts District. The garage door-style windows can be opened during nice weather.

Where to get Missouri River flooding news

Quick links to Missouri River sites with regular updates on the Missouri River flood of 2011:

The Lewis and Clark statue at Omaha, Nebraska. Uploaded, according to Google, five days ago.

This is how it normally looks.

Dr. Soren Larsen’s summer reading picks

If you’ve climbed all the trees, watched all the movies and swam all the creeks you can handle, maybe it’s time for a good book.  This week, we asked some environmentally minded stars at Mizzou what they suggest for a little summer reading.

Here’s what Dr. Soren Larsen, MU professor of geography, has to share:

Dr. Larsen teaches classes on politics of place; environmental perception and learning; Indigenous, rural & resource-dependent communities

I have two non-fiction books to recommend! The first one is Ingrid Stefanovic’s Safeguarding Our Common Future: Rethinking Sustainable Development (SUNY Press, 2000) and especially for any education majors, David Sobel’s Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities (Orion Press, 2004).

Oh, and on the poetry side, anything by Gary Snyder, especially Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems (Counterpoint Press, 2003).

Hope that helps!
Soren

Sarah Stone’s summer reading picks for food

If you’ve climbed all the trees, watched all the movies and swam all the creeks you can handle, maybe it’s time for a good book.  This week, we asked some environmentally minded stars at Mizzou what they suggest for a little summer reading.

Sarah Stone, technical director for MSA/GPC tech and advisor to the Student Sustainability Office, says, “As the school year just ended, I’ve had limited time to read. But, what I have had a chance to look over is mostly related to what Americans eat and how it’s produced.”  Here’s what she recommends:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

What should we have for dinner? The question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Botany of Desire, how we answer it today, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, may well determine our very survival as a species. The surprising answers Pollan offers to the simple question posed by this book have profound political, economic, psychological, and even moral implications for all of us. Beautifully written and thrillingly argued, The Omnivore’s Dilemma promises to change the way we think about the politics and pleasure of eating. For anyone who reads it, dinner will never again look, or taste, quite the same.

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer

Sarah picked a good quote from this one: “as environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future — deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.”

Ben Datema’s summer reading picks for sustainability and the environment

If you’ve climbed all the trees, watched all the movies and swam all the creeks you can handle, maybe it’s time for a good book.  This week, we asked some environmentally minded stars at Mizzou what they suggest for a little summer reading.

Ben Datema, director of Student Sustainability offers this “killer” list of three sustainability standbys.

Cradle to Cradle: remaking the things we make by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

William McDonough’s book, written with his colleague, the German chemist Michael Braungart, is a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design. Through historical sketches on the roots of the industrial revolution; commentary on science, nature and society; descriptions of key design principles; and compelling examples of innovative products and business strategies already reshaping the marketplace, McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that “takes, makes and wastes” can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

These original essays on the natural environment by renowned conservationist Leopold (1887-1948) were first published posthumously in 1949. Following the seasons, Leopold, whose seminal work in the U.S. Forest Service and in books and magazines helped shape the conservation movement in this country, shared his perceptive and carefully observed portraits of nature month by month. Included . . . is an appreciative essay on wild marshland and several pieces stressing the importance of protecting the natural environment. Leopold sadly observed, “there is yet no ethic dealing with man’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it.” His hope that society would develop an “ecological conscience” by placing what should be preserved above what is economically expedient remains relevant today.

Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows

Thinking in Systems is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.