Ways to Change the World - 3 Book Recommendations to Start the Journey
One crucial aspect of encouraging change, I believe, is to offer a vision for a happier and more contented future. Reducing air pollution, creating green spaces, shopping locally and feeling part of a community is an immensely more satisfying life experience than the disconnect and harried busyness of modern living. And that way of living, encouraged by advertising and corporate self-interest, has been, by stealth, destroying the world around us. Luckily there are wonderful advocates for change and many, many people living in a way that is sustainable and happy. Here's where books come in! The following are not reviews (I'm still in the process of reading all 3 books) but they are recommendations for a starting poing in learning about how individual and community change can make a massive difference.
I have heard Dr. Tara Shine speak on a couple of occasions and I've been really struck by her incredible positivity and drive so I was delighted to get her new book 'How to Save your Planet One Object at a Time'. I absolutely love the cover design, it has that cute nostalgic feel to it, evoking home maker books of old. The contents are perfectly modern though, and the introduction outlines perfectly Tara's inspiring energy and optimism.
"My hope is that you will see the power of your actions, spread the word and see the value of being part of a growing movement of people who want to find a better way of living on planet Earth."
The book is laid out in such a way that it is really easy to dip in and out of the different sections. I would consider it a great reference book for sustainable living. The chapters are centred around areas of the house, such as kitchen or bedroom, and areas of living such as work and school. It looks at different products that we use and how we might make a difference by implementing small changes in our own spheres. It is absolutely ideal for anyone considering starting out on a more sustainable path but I also have to say, it is equally good for people at any stage of the process. Even for me, feeling like I know quite a lot about living sustainably, a quick read through of various headings reminded me again of things I still need to change. I think it is both informative, without being preachy, and incredibly useful.
The second book I'm looking at is the one I bought for myself. I have been doing a Community Resilience course hosted by the Kildare & Wicklow Community Education with fellow Kildare people who are interested in developing community resilience in their own areas. I have really been enjoying it and the theory behind community resilience is something I'm very interested in, so when some of Rob Hopkins writings were referenced, I decided to treat myself to his book 'From What Is to What If'
Rob is the founder of the Transition Movement and he has seen the possibilities, both in terms of imagination and in practicality, in his own town of Totnes in the UK. I have been feeling for quite some time that the narrative that surrounds us all the time, that everything, including human motivation, is centred around economics, is inherently false. I don't believe that what drives people is money and acquisition, but if we are fed that message all the time, then people do begin to doubt the possibility of changing to a better society where the well-being of all is a priority.
I have to confess that, bizarrely, the introductory chapter, 'What If Things Turned Out OK?' actually brought tears to my eyes. I think it just created such a beautiful vision of what the world could be that I felt momentarily overwhelmed after a strange year of negative covid experiences. From the edible bus stop network to the 3 day week, and the Civic Imagination Office, it presents a picture of a wonderful future. And more importantly, none of it seems impossible. The book is centred around using human imagination and according it real value. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and exploring further how to create change in my own environment.
Last but not least, the book 'No-Waste Organic Gardening' was a gift from my daughter. This is a cool little volume with lots of great tips.
I've been gardening for a long time, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I volunteered in our local Camphill Community organic garden for some time, so I have learnt a lot over the years. However, there are always new things to learn! Gardening has become a massive business, and whilst it is wonderful that people are out in their gardens, it really isn't necessary to head out and spend loads of money on garden products that are just going to create more waste. This book has lots of brilliant tips on using things that you already have at home - for example, DIY seed tape and a wine bottle watering can. There's advice on growing from seed and harvesting seed at the end of the season, as well as some cool garden projects that you can make like a wine bottle pathway and garden art. Again, it is one that you can easily dip in and out of as you need and it has lots of helpful pictures and lists. Suitable for beginner up to any stage really.
You might also like Plastic Free July
and Veganuary - Tips from a Novice