Grab a glass of watermelon lemonade and check out these environmental beach reads, available at our local libraries. Take them to the beach, bring them to camp, or add a new dimension to the summer book club.
Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land - On The Secret Trail of Trash goes beyond the fascinating and horrifying statistical analysis of how big a hole humanity has dug for itself, by supersizing earth's garbage dumps through gross consumption. It is an interesting read in bringing an odor chemist to the page, explaining just how and why garbage smells so bad. Royte's voice of concerned citizenship is evident throughout the trashy journey. With townships, CEOs and plenty of others in between, reaping the fortunes of the recycling business, it is small wonder that less consumption and less packaging have only made baby steps toward the goal of reduction rather than recycling. With not one bit of rubbish in the book, it even includes a compelling local lesson in the evolution and history of Fresh Kills. The overall message is too large, layered and complex to even fit in a (refillable glass) bottle with all of the page turning information about aspects of garbage you may never have thought of….since that is precisely part of the problem. We would prefer to not define ourselves through our garbage but it is an inevitable measure of our identity as citizenships of this earth. Hopefully We have to plug our collective noses while we hope to make changes who we are - just plug your nose.
You Can't Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please by James Mihaley is somewhere in the Young Adult category but even adults will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humor. The title already relates to sibling trading kids and the tone continues throughout with interesting family dynamics and other-worldly experiences that combine for a fun adventure. Saving the planet is a relatable topic and the environmental theme offers plenty of potential lessons. Sustainable messages come through all manner of voices including a cloudfish, Eco-droids and gatorantulas. By incorporating current details like ring tones, a password like, "Abracadabrawithpepperoniandextracheese" and CNN reporters, the story line is infused with realism while taking the reader on an outer-worldly experience. A greening of the imagination is inspiring in this book.
What will you be reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.