Banner photo of eagle by LDS Earth Stewardship member Ralph Johnson taken near the Susquehanna River.
Food For Green Thoughts
We'll post books of interest here along with reviews. Please consider sending us a review of your favorite book. Join other earth stewards online to discuss books at goodreads.com, LDS Earth Stewardship group. The first books listed below are among those discussed by the LDSES group. Additional books suggested by ESE members follow.
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First published in 1949, this is a classic among nature books. Written by Aldo Leopold who was not only a wield-life ecologist, conservationist, graduate of Yale School of Forestry and professor at the University of Wisconsin but also a gifted writer. Leopold's close observations of nature (and human nature) inform and inspire. That this book was published nearly 70 years ago adds a dimension to the current reader who compares our world with that of Leopold.
Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.
Book suggested by ESE member Kate Cummings.
This book is a collection of essays from a BYU symposium on “Our Stewardship: Perspectives on Caring for Creation” held in 2004 yet still very current. The following comes from the book's introduction:
These essays demonstrate that [LDS]Church scriptures and teachings provide a consistent picture of human beings as stewards accountable before God for the use and care of His creations. They reaffirm and develop further what previous examinations of Latter-day Saint theology and history have repeatedly demonstrated: our religion offers a unique and important perspective on the notion of environmental stewardship and a foundation for a strong environmental ethic....
We hope it is not recklessly naive to look forward to a time when a commonly accepted sense of obligation to the well-being of the physical world and to future human generations overrides political and religious differences. It is perhaps one of the more shameful aspects of our current age that things as patently universal as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat have become partisan footballs tossed about in an effort to gain our political loyalty. Environmental stewardship is not an issue that has to be a battle between liberals and conservatives; it entails the best impulses of liberal generosity and conservative restraint. The profound contributions of various Christian ecotheologians over the past decades have provided an example of how to tap into the rich doctrines of the Bible to articulate an ethic with regard to the environment and without regard to partisan infighting. These authors have taught that environmental stewardship is neither something we can afford to compartmentalize in our lives nor something we should allow to become politicized.”
Book recommended by Chris Mathews, ESE member. This book is available for free online https://rsc.byu.edu/%5Bfield_status-raw%5D/stewardship-and-creation-lds-perspectives-environment
The forest Unseen: A Year's Watch In Nature
David George Haskill
Biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each of this book’s short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands—sometimes millions—of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.
Book suggested by Kate Cummings.
Bringing Nature Home: How Native plants sustain wildlife in our gardens
Douglas W. Tallamy
As development and subsequent habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. But there is an important and simple step toward reversing this alarming trend: Everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity.
I’ve heard Dr. Tallamy speak several times and read his books. If you wonder why I spend so much time creating habitat through gardening and encouraging others to do the same—you’ll find the answer in these books
The Living Landscape, published in 2014, has more color photographs and specific garden design ideas while Bringing Nature Home emphasizes the scope of the problem of habitat loss and how we can create wildlife preserves through our home gardens. Even a small garden can be a place of refuge.
Books suggested by Merikay Smith.
The Xerces Society's Gardening for Butterflies
The Xerces Society specializes in understanding and teaching invertebrate conservation. This book introduces you to a variety of colorful garden guests who need our help, and shows you how to design a habitat where they will thrive. This optimistic call to arms is packed with everything you need to create a beautiful, beneficial, butterfly-filled garden. Gardeners will learn why butterflies matter, why they are in danger, and what simple steps we can take to make a difference. You'll learn how to choose the right plants, how to design a butterfly-friendly garden, and how to create a garden that flutters and flourishes with life.