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.


One thought on “Ben Datema’s summer reading picks for sustainability and the environment”

  1. Very cool. I see that the MU Libraries has _Thinking in Systems_ and _A Sand County Almanac_, but not _Cradle to Cradle_. There are copies of that book in the MOBIUS system, though, and also at the public library.

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