NOMA’s Learning and Engagement staff suggests the following books related to themes of sustainability. In partnership with Octavia Books, links are provided to purchase these titles through this independent bookstore based in New Orleans.
Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living by Kris Bordessa, National Geographic, 2020, ISBN: 9781426220548
Whether you live in a city, suburb, or the country, this essential guide for the backyard homesteader will help you achieve a homespun life–from starting your own garden and pickling the food you grow to pressing wildflowers, baking sourdough loaves, quilting, raising chickens, and creating your own natural cleaning supplies. In these richly illustrated pages, sustainability-guru Kris Bordessa offers DIY lovers an indispensable home reference for sustainability in the 21st century, with tried-and-true advice, 50 enticing recipes, and step-by-step directions for creating easy, cost-efficient projects that will bring out your inner pioneer. Filled with 340 color photographs, this relatable, comprehensive book contains time honored-wisdom and modern know-how for getting back to basics in a beautiful, accessible package.
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abney, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006, ISBN: 9780061129766
Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., Hayduke is ready to fight the power—taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move—and peaceful coexistence be damned!
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine M. Benius, William Morrow Paperback, 2002, ISBN: 9780060533229
Biomimicry is rapidly transforming life on earth. Biomimics study nature’s most successful ideas over the past 3.5 million years, and adapt them for human use. The results are revolutionizing how materials are invented and how we compute, heal ourselves, repair the environment, and feed the world.
Janine Benyus takes readers into the lab and in the field with maverick thinkers as they: discover miracle drugs by watching what chimps eat when they’re sick; learn how to create by watching spiders weave fibers; harness energy by examining how a leaf converts sunlight into fuel in trillionths of a second; and many more examples.
Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram, Vintage, 2011, ISBN: 9780375713699
As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land. For too long we’ve ignored the wild intelligence of our bodies, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance. Abram’s writing subverts this distance, drawing readers ever closer to their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the human body and the breathing Earth. The shape-shifting of ravens, the erotic nature of gravity, the eloquence of thunder, the pleasures of being edible: all have their place in this book.
For Young Adults
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg, Penguin Books, 2019, ISBN: 9780143133568
No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across the globe, from the United Nations to Capitol Hill and mass street protests, her book is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.
The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch, Bloomsbury USA, 2006, ISBN: 9781582346298
One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O’Malley, a speed-reading, Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac out looking for tidal specimens in Puget Sound, discovers a giant squid stranded on the beach. As the first person to see a giant squid alive, he finds himself hailed as a prophet. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. As the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up.
The Big Melt by Ned Tillman, South Branch Press, 2018, ISBN: 9781732484108
Sleepy Valley is similar in many ways to the town where you live. Things seem fine, but no one is thinking about the future. Are you ready for what is about to happen to you, and to towns all across the country and around the world?
Marley and Brianne are not, and neither are their parents, their neighbors, or anyone else in Sleepy Valley. When they wake up the day after their high school graduation, their lives are turned upside down, and their plans for the future changed forever.
A series of climate catastrophes descends on Sleepy Valley, and Marley and Brianne must struggle to save their town and the world as they know it. Through their struggles, they find their voices and purposes for living.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of The Gambia by Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, Millbrook Press, 2015, ISBN: 9781467716086
Suggested Ages: 6 – 9
Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.
The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.
Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.
Compost Stew: an A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals, Illustrated by Ashley Wolff, Dragonfly Books, 2014, ISBN: 9780385755382
Suggested Ages: 3 – 7
From apple cores to zinnia heads, readers will discover the best ingredients for a successful compost pile!
Kids everywhere are knowledgeable about the environment and climate change. Not only is composting becoming more common in households and residential gardens, but many school gardens feature compost piles, too. But how do you start a compost pile? What’s safe to include? Perfect for an Earth Day focus or year-round reference, this inviting book provides all the answers for kids and families looking for simple, child-friendly ways to help the planet.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Random House Books for Young Readers, 1971, ISBN: 9780394823379
Suggested Ages: 5 – 9
I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
Dr. Seuss’s beloved story teaches kids to speak up and stand up for those who can’t. With a recycling-friendly “Go Green” message, The Lorax allows young readers to experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted, all in a story that is timely, playful, and hopeful. The book’s final pages teach us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference.
The Earth Book by Todd Parr, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010
Suggested Ages: 3 – 6
With his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity, Todd Parr explores the important, timely subject of environmental protection and conservation in this eco-friendly picture book. Featuring a circular die-cut Earth on the cover, and printed entirely with recycled materials and nontoxic soy inks, this book includes lots of easy, smart ideas on how we can all work together to make the Earth feel good – from planting a tree and using both sides of the paper, to saving energy and reusing old things in new ways.
Best of all, the book includes an interior gatefold with a poster with tips/reminders on how kids can “go green” everyday. Equally whimsical and heartfelt, this sweet homage to our beautiful planet is sure to inspire readers of all ages to do their part in keeping the Earth happy and healthy.