Books To Help You Love And Respect Nature Even More: Part Two

By Natalie Montanaro

Continuing with our synopsis of some of the best books on nature and the current mindset, which espouses that we are hurting the environment every day, the following titles, both old and new, are well worth a read and are perfect to share with (or gift to) other like-minded women or men for whom ecofeminism is a way of life. Instead of thinking that climate change and the ecological lifespan are a one-way street when it comes to social enterprise, the books below offer alternatives to how we, as a species, can afford positive change for the benefit of Mother Earth while changing ourselves in the process.

The Greening of the Self, by Joanna Macy 

Joanna Macy’s thoughtful book is both interesting and full-bodied. It looks at how the levels of self can evolve to a place where our “green self” overcomes our need to think of ourselves as separate and unequal to the environment we live in,  She explains how the mindset of “us against the world” is not working, and that once we realize that we are part of a larger system, with reliance on all who inhabit it, in the spirit of equality, holding fast to a balanced spirituality, we will be better able to engage with our environment in a positive way as our “green self” genuinely communes with our green world.

Becoming Animal:  An Earthly Cosmology, by David Abram

David Abram, philosopher, ecologist and artist, explores the senses and their kinship to nature in this eye-opening book that looks at how the bonds of nature affect us. In a world where we frequently only notice the obvious and highly tangible, Abram points out how weather systems, the earth’s gravity, and a vast array of bird, plant, and animal life are just some of the many behavioral influencers here on the planet, which we can draw upon to dwell as a more evolved animal being. As a kind of language, the inner and outer expressions of our thoughts and actions are equated to the tension and relaxation of the earth itself, and Abram puts forth his theories with poetic eloquence and honest reflection.

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, by Aldo Leopold

This controversial conservationist read set in North America and written by the ecologist and environmentalist Aldo Leopold  in 1949, is considered a classic of its time, for the first-hand experiences of this one man’s heartfelt observations of nature. Seasonal life on his own Wisconsin farm, from the perspectives of plants and animals, is one aspect of his, then, groundbreaking approach to the call for preservation of the land, which we all need for growth and survival. He talks about his own experiences in a collection of travel essays, and aims to illustrate how progress has stripped the environment, and our future, of its ability to thrive.  

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

The author, Rachel Carson says, “We are rightly appalled by the genetic effects of radiation. How then, can we be indifferent to the same effect in chemicals that we disseminate widely in our environment?” She investigates how the effects of, as she puts it, ‘biocides’ contaminate all of us and how, when we destroy the balance of nature, we inhibit and also forever change the ways in which humans, plants, and animals exist.  Considered a breakthrough event in environmental writing, Silent Spring is both startling and humbling, as Carson describes in evidence how the interconnections and reliances of each of us together, here on this planet, can be “silenced” by our own mismanagement.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Kimmerer

Robin Kimmerer is a native-American professor, botanist, and environmental scientist. Here, she illustrates how the plants and living organisms around us have things to teach us about ourselves, and that we should not forget that our lives should be open to their language. Her analogy of sweetgrass and its similarity to human hair is the first of many metaphors which Kimmerer uses to urge us to remember that the earth is a generous store of knowledge. We should continue to try to understand, learn about, compliment, and appreciate it, both for its mysticism and its science. We can continue to be gifted by it if we change our view of the natural world from the “machinery of nature” to the persona of nature.