2018-12-21 / Community

Sustainable SoPo

Environmental titles for everyone on your list
By Lucy Brennan
Sustainability Program Coordinator

There may be nothing better than cozying up next to the fire or under a blanket with a good read around the holidays, cup of hot chocolate in hand and pages to be explored. For us in the Sustainability Office, the joy of giving books to friends or loved ones is just as marvelous. So as December rolled around and we prepared to exchange gifts this season, we couldn’t help but share some of our favorite books from childhood through adulthood.

Then with holiday music on the radio, ponds frozen for ice skating, and cheer in the air, our excitement got the best of us. We called on friends all over town to share environmental books that made an impact in their lives. And just like that, the list grew and grew. Partners from ecomaine, Friends of Casco Bay, Protect South Portland, the Water Resources Protection Department, and beyond passed along their favorites. With an abundance of voices chiming in, we built a collection of titles for all readers- from children to historians, pragmatists to poets.

Amidst the often daunting climate reports released in recent days, we have found solace in books that carry a positive message, tell a story of the natural world around us, and begin to chart a path forward for ambitious, achievable change. We hope you will peruse the list and the bookshelves at the local library or bookstore to find just the ticket for that special someone. And if your holiday shopping is done, tuck this list away for inspiration when you are ready for the next good read!

For the children in your life:

“My Side of the Mountain,” Jean Craighead George

“The Digger and the Flower,” Joseph Kuefler

“The Earth Book,” Todd Parr

“Shelia Says We’re Weird,” Ruth Ann Smalley

“The Lorax,” Dr. Seuss

“Wangari’s Trees of Peace,” Jeanette Winter

For the lover of classics:

“The Monkey Wrench Gang,” Edward Abbey

“Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson

“A Sand County Almanac,” Aldo Leopold

“Animal Farm,” George Orwell

“Walden,” Henry David Thoreau

For the planner and pragmatist:

“Drawdown,” Paul Hakwen

“The Story of Stuff,” Annie Leonard

“Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” William McDonough

“Doughnut Economics,” Kate Raworth

For the historian

“A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History,” Lynne Cherry

“Changes in the Land,” William Cronon

“Sapiens,” Yuval Noah Narari

“The Invention of Nature,” Andrea Wulf

A few hot off the press

“The Sixth Extinction,” Elizabeth Kolbert

“The Overstory,” Richard Powers

“Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore,” Elizabeth Rush

For the foodie:

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” Barbara Kingsolver

“Food from the Radical Center,” Gary Paul Nabhan

“The Omnivores Dilemma,” Michael Pollen

For the poet:

“Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver,” Mary Oliver

“Leaves of Grass,” Walt Whitman

A few that we hold near and dear:

“The Lobster Chronicles,” Linda Greenlaw

“The Soul of an Octopus,” Sy Montgomery

“The Last Child in the Woods,” Richard Louv

“The Soil Will Save Us,” Kristin Ohlson

“Ishmael,” Daniel Quinn

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. The Sustainability Office is staffed by a fulltime director and part-time program coordinator, and is located on the first floor of City Hall.

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