Category Archives: Education

‘The Kids’ Book of Awesome Stuff’ by Charlene Brotman

The Kids’ Book of Awesome Stuff is filled with information, ideas, and activities to develop awareness in children that they are “…part of a wonderful web of life.” Grounded in scientific facts – including explanations of the Big Bang, nuclear fusion, evolution, photosynthesis – the book is engaging and inspiring and should leave any receptive young reader enthralled and sparkling with enthusiasm. Charlene Brotman’s accessible style and creative use of activity-based, interactive learning techniques combine with Jelia Gueramian’s friendly illustrations to make this book a treasure for children and adults alike. Continue reading

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‘Soil, Soul, Society: A New Trinity for our Time’ by Satish Kumar

Drawing on the teachings of Buddha, Ghandi, Rabindranath Tagore and E.F. Schumacher, Satish Kumar outlines a spiritual vision of sustainability in which we can learn from Nature as well as about Nature. Offering practical guidance for how we can achieve this vision, Satish teaches that only love and reverence and not fear will lead to long term sustainability. Continue reading

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‘The Triumph of Seeds: How grains, nuts, kernels, pulses and pips conquered Nature and shaped human history’ by Thor Hanson

Just as William Blake talked about seeing the world in a grain of sand, Thor Hanson is able to see the whole world in a seed. And through his writing, he opens that world to us. From the tiniest, almost invisible seed of an epiphytic orchid to the forty-pound coco de mer, seeds come in all shapes and sizes and colours and employ an amazing diversity of methods for dispersing themselves and finding their way to somewhere they can germinate and grow. On that search and that settlement of seed into soil, now rests the whole of life on land—our own human lives included.
Continue reading

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‘Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology’ by Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden

A physicist and a professor of molecular biology lead us into a new scientific world in which physics and biology talk to one another – and the results are very exciting. In the past quantum physics pretty much had the monopoly of physics, and biology was limited to the world of classical science. The experiments by which the quantum world was understood required very precise conditions which are not found in the messy world of Nature. However, as this book demonstrates life at every level depends on the movement of fundamental particles that are governed by quantum rules. Continue reading

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‘Acorns Among the Grass: Adventures in Eco-Therapy’ by Caroline Brazier

In the summer of 2010, Caroline Brazier co-led a week-long eco-therapy group in her Buddhist community’s retreat centre in the French countryside. At the conclusion of the week, she began to write down her thoughts and reflections. In her words, “This book is the result. An account of a group and of a summer, interwoven with the ideas and therapeutic theory which framed our work, it is an invitation to share, to join the exploration and to experience the process of engagement in a healing relationship with nature.” Continue reading

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‘Rivers of Green Wisdom: Exploring Christian and Yogic Earth Centred Spirituality’ by Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston)

Possibly the first book ever to take Yoga in one hand and Christianity on the other and examine them both through the lens of an Earth-centred Spirituality. Is there, in fact, ‘green wisdom’ to be found within these two great traditions? If there is, then surely these need to be emphasised in this era of climate change and ever-worsening ecological crisis. Continue reading

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‘Saved by the Sea: Hope, Heartbreak and Wonder in the Blue World’ by David Helvarg

Most of us are unaware of the extent to which humans are destroying the ecosystems of our planet’s vast seas and oceans. But for David Helvarg, who loves the sea and loves to swim and surf and dive and really interact with the water—and who is also a trained journalist with deep passions and an enquiring mind—there is no way to ignore the tragedy that is happening in that vast, salty realm and to all who live there, from the tiniest krill to the largest whale. And no way to shirk the task of telling the world about it.
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‘The Spirituality Revolution: The Emergence of Contemporary Spirituality’ by David Tacey

When I was a child, everyone went to church (or chapel) on Sundays, or so it seemed. Spirituality and religion appeared synonymous. That is so no longer. The winds of change have blown hard in my lifetime, and you and I now live in a predominantly secular society – one of many in the Western world. But there is another strong weather pattern coming up against the wind. Religion may be in decline, but spirituality has never been so much in evidence. In a culture that now worships at the shopping mall yet comes away empty-hearted, there is a swell of yearning for a deeper connection – or a reconnection – with the sacred. Continue reading

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‘Feeding Orchids to the Slugs: Tales from a Zen Kitchen’ by Florencia Clifford

Working as a Zen cook in a Buddhist centre in Wales, this author begins to learn more about who she really is, not just through being part of the community but also through creating and serving meals. This is a beautifully-crafted book, part personal journey, part reflection on life and part cookbook Continue reading

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‘The Practitioner’s Encyclopedia of Flower Remedies: The Definitive Guide to All Flower Remedies, their Making and Uses’ by Clare G. Harvey

Clare Harvey writes that Dr Bach told her grandmother that though his essences were complete in themselves in the future there would be the need for essences from all over the world. Over the last 30 or so years there has been a worldwide explosion of new essences so that from the first 28 discovered by Dr Bach there are now literally thousands. In this compilation the writer has collected over 3,000 essences and combination remedies and listed them by continent and producer with the explanations and applications provided by their suppliers. Each section has its own introduction and the whole provides a very comprehensive reference book. Continue reading

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‘The Spell of the Sensuous’ by David Abram

Part personal story, this book begins among the bright green terraced rice paddies of Bali as the author sets out on a study tour through Asia to document the relationship between magic and medicine. Rather than travelling as an academic, he goes simply as a magician, using his own well-developed magic skills to make a collegial connection with the various sorcerers and shamans he meets along the way. Soon, however, he begins to discover the deeper truths of the shamanic role in community, which is to be the knowing, sensing bridge between the community and the greater reality, both psychic and organic, in which all our human communities are embedded. Continue reading

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‘Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator’ by Lucy Moore

Lucy Moore, an environmental and public policy mediator with twenty-five years of experience, has written this book of what are basically ‘teaching stories’ as a way of sharing some of what she has learned in her work at the front lines of conflict resolution. Her work is done mostly in the American Southwest but the lessons we can learn from her are widely applicable to environmental conflict anywhere on the planet. Continue reading

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‘Gardening with the Moon & Stars’ by Elen Sentier

Growing plants, particularly as food, can enable wonderful insight into the processes of life. Biodynamics, which links our work as gardeners to our cosmic context and to microscopic processes is a powerful invitation to step into a sense of the sacredness and wonder of these processes. Continue reading

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‘The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder’ by Richard Louv

Whereas Louv’s earlier book Last Child in the Woods pointed out the problem of Nature- Deficiency Disorder in children, Louv’s new book The Nature Principle points out that adults themselves can suffer from the same disorder—and many already are. Though we tend to forget it, we too are animals; we co-evolved with the natural world and we need it as much as ever. Being isolated from green and growing things predisposes us to a range of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, behaviour disorders, depression and a lack of connection with community and place. We ignore these warnings at our peril. Continue reading

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‘Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times’ by Carolyn Baker

In a collapsing world, it is no good surviving physically unless we can also survive—and help each other survive—emotionally and spiritually, and the aim of this book is to help us do just that. The first two-thirds of the book describe and explain, in 109 easy-to-read, wisdom-packed pages, the psycho-spiritual preparations that need to be made for the collapse that has already begun, and why, even though the collapse may be a long, slow process, it is so vital that we start making them. The last third consists of a carefully-chosen set of 52 weekly ‘meditations’ – in the sense of quotes and thoughts to be pondered upon – all geared towards helping us deal with the collapse of our old world whilst also saving and guarding the seeds we hope to plant in the new one that will—we hope—eventually rise from the ruins.
Continue reading

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‘Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature’ by Rachel Corby

In recent years, as modern life causes more and more of us to become emotionally disconnected from the Earth upon which all our lives depend, we are realizing that it is not just the land we live in that needs rewilding but our own selves. This means finding ways to break down all the artificial boundaries that we humans have tried to place between ourselves and the rest of Nature. It means recognizing that we are—and always have been and always will be—an intrinsic part of the Earth, cells in the body of a living planet. Furthermore, it means re-learning how to live our daily lives out of that knowing. It means coming back ‘down to Earth’ in the truest sense of that phrase: consciously re-immersing ourselves in every way possible in the natural world that surrounds is, both without and within. That way lies healing—for ourselves and our planet. Continue reading

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‘The Universe Story’ by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry

Most cultures have creation stories. And for many centuries, those creation stories have served to bond people together in a shared sense of history and of destiny. Our modern, Western culture, with all its book learning and its technology and its scientific knowhow has long since outgrown tales of Adam and Eve and fig leaves and yet there has been nothing coherent to put in their place. For a long time now, we have been a people in need of a creation story. Continue reading

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‘The Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior’ by Janine M Benyus

Natural science writer Janine Benyus takes us methodically through the full repertoire of sounds and signals and behaviours of twenty creatures from five different parts of the world in order to help us better understand the ways in which they communicate. Through the pages of this book we come to know not just how to interpret what we see our fellow animals doing when we go to the zoo but who they would be—and how they would be—if we were to able to meet and observe them on their own home ground. Continue reading

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‘Blue Mind’ by Wallace J. Nichols

Ranging as it does from in-depth explanations of neuropsychological processes to personal stories from surfers, divers, fishermen, sailors and others, this book is so impressively comprehensive that it could easily have been subtitled ‘Everything you always wanted to know about our human relationship to water and lots more that you never even imagined.’ Continue reading

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‘Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer

  Oregon State University , 2003, pbk 168 pp ISBN: 978-0870714993   Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain  _______________________________________________________________________  I had often wondered what sacred object a Native American friend of mine kept in the small, beaded, deerskin pouch around her neck. … Continue reading

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‘The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World’ by Carl Safina

Set primarily in the sandy, windswept area around the author’s home at Lazy Point on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York and organized around the calendar year, this book includes beautiful, detailed observations of Nature and the changes that happen as the seasons slowly revolve. Plus it is interspersed with commentaries and descriptions of various field trips made to other places far north and far south. Witnessing and documenting this ‘natural year in an unnatural world,’ Safina shows how the problems of the environment are linked to questions of social justice and the politics of greed. Continue reading

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‘The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Toward a Greener Future’

As an environmental lawyer, Canadian writer David Boyd knows full well that much of the environmental news these days is bad news. However he also knows that although news tends to make more compelling headlines than good news, there is good news to be found. Although we have a very, very long way to go, it is a fact that: From air pollution to safe drinking water, from greener cities to renewable energy, we’ve made remarkable but widely underacknowledged progress. And his aim was to document as many examples of this kind of good news as he could fit between two covers. Continue reading

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‘All Our Relations: Green Spirit Connections with the more-than-human world’ Edited by Marian Van Eyk McCain

A book that specifically honours all those other life forms with whom we share the planet. They are all our relations. How we treat them, how we perceive them and feel about them and interact with them – and the extent to which we respect them is a measure of our true humanity and a measure of our true worth. Continue reading

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‘The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth’ by Bruce Lipton

This book about the dynamics of intimate relationships and their potential as a vehicle for personal growth has two things that make it different from other books on relationships: (a) it is written by a biologist and underpinned by science, and (b) it addresses the connection between personal love and planetary healing. Continue reading

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‘A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle: Revelations of Indigenous Wisdom–Healing Plants, Practices, and Stories’ by David Young, Robert Rogers and Russell Willier

 pbk 328 pp               North Atlantic Books 2015  ISBN: 978-1583949030    Reviewed by Richard Adams ___________________________________________________________________________________ Russell Wilier is a North American healer. He was born in northern Alberta into the largest group of first Nations people in Canada – the Cree. … Continue reading

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‘Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Whether working alone in her garden, facing a bunch of students in her classroom, out doing fieldwork in the forest or patiently learning, word by difficult word, the language of her ancestors, Robin Wall Kimmerer is awake and aware and open to new understandings. Through her, we see connections and relationships where we never noticed them before. As she tells her stories, they come alive for us until we can feel the sun on the wild strawberries, hear the ‘plink’ of maple sap into the buckets and marvel at the stately pecan trees that only fruit in certain years but when they do fruit, always do it in concert, in the same year. Continue reading

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‘Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals (Sacred Activism)’ by Linda Bender

This author, a scientifically trained veterinarian, who has worked with animal all her life, talks to us about the way animals think and feel and dwell–unlike us–in the ever-present moment. They have a lot to teach us. She encourages her readers “…to think of intuitive, telepathic communication with animals as a natural ability that you once had and have temporarily misplaced rather than as a supernatural power that you are trying to acquire.” It is, she says, a skill that is achievable by all of us. A lovely, thought-provoking and insightful book. Continue reading

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‘Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence’ by Jean G. Boulton, Peter M. Allen and Cliff Bowman

We have, in our western society, the god of science. So often we hear “scientists say…” in the press. And, for many people, this implies a statement of authority. But the problem is that western science is essentially value-less. This mind-set has led to such things as testing on animals, factory farming and the proliferation of deadly weapons. How did we get to this place and what can be done about it? Whilst the book covers a lot of territory, this is the key question it addresses. Continue reading

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‘The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor’ by Gerald H. Pollack

There is a lot we don’t know about water, and the research that Professor Pollack and his laboratory team have been working on is aimed at unravelling some of its mysteries. As well as gas, liquid and solid forms of water, they have discovered a surprisingly extensive fourth phase that occurs at any interface where water meets a hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) surface. This research has far-reaching implications for health and healing, for renewable energy production, water filtration, desalination and a host of other things. Continue reading

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‘Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms and Communities Worldwide’ by Juliana Birnbaum & Louis Fox

After an impassioned Foreword by Paul Hawken and some excellent explanations of Permaculture principles and ethics, this colourful and lavishly illustrated book takes us on a tour around the entire globe visiting no fewer than sixty different—and all equally inspiring—projects based either directly or indirectly on Permaculture concepts. These range from desert reclamation in the hottest, driest area in Jordan to the re-establishment of forest in India to educational urban farms like Melbourne’s Ceres and from long-established communities such as Findhorn on the north coast of Scotland to a newly-established eco-village in Kenya. Continue reading

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‘The Genius of Birds’ by Jennifer Ackerman

In this fascinating and intensively-researched book, Jennifer Ackerman delves deeply into the minds and abilities of our feathered companions and reveals some of the remarkable discoveries that have been made in recent years about the true nature and extent of avian intelligence. Once we learn to stop defining intelligence in terms of what we excel at and study birds on their own terms, there is a wealth of fascinating information to be gained. Continue reading

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‘Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World’ by Brian Walker and David Salt

Resilience thinking is based on making systems more adaptable, flexible and able to cope with sudden change, rather than trying to optimize their productivity. Continue reading

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‘The Herbalist’s Bible: John Parkinson’s Lost Classic Rediscovered’ by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal

The Herbalist’s Bible is a translation of a description of fifty of the 3,800 herbs outlined in John Parkinson’s ‘Theatricum Botanicum’. Parkinson, master herbalist to Charles 1, published his ‘Magnum Opus’ in 1640. It was never reprinted and is now an extremely valuable rare book. The recent publication of The Herbalist’s Bible makes this valuable contribution to the literature of Western Herbalism accessible once more. Unique amongst many herbal reference books, this book contains reproductions of the original manuscript complete with detailed line drawings, alongside a modern translation, including descriptions of therapeutic applications illustrated with high quality photographs. Continue reading

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‘Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life’ by Richard Louv

Dazzled and seduced by 21st century technology, our children—and we ourselves—tend to spend so much time staring at screens nowadays that there is no time left for a walk in the woods, for gazing dreamily into the night sky or even for enjoying some peace and silence. Following on from Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, this third book from Richard Louv is a huge and marvellous collection of ideas and resources aimed at getting families of all ages back outside and interacting with the rest of Nature. Continue reading

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‘Ecology and Religion’ (Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies Series) by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker

These authors have spent many years studying world religions. Their particular interest is in the relationship between religion and ecology and between them, they have probably done more than any academics anywhere to bring religious and ethical perspectives into environmental discussions. The aim of this textbook is to bring the fruits of their thought and study to the coming generations. Continue reading

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‘Don’t Even Think About It: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change’ by George Marshall

As the title suggests, this is not a book about climate science. It’s about humans and the weird but inescapable fact that we, as the species whose actions have contributed so heavily to climate change, seem utterly incapable not only of addressing the issue but even of admitting that it exists. Why? Why don’t we all join the dots and amend our lifestyles to lower carbon emissions? Marshall is convinced that the real answers to do not lie in the things that drive us apart so much as the things we all share: our common psychology, our perception of risk, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. This book, the result of years of research, provides a full and fascinating explanation of this phenomenon and what we might do about it. Continue reading

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‘Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals’ by Nathan H. Lents

As twigs from the same branch of the same family tree, we have the same instincts, the same repertoire of feelings, the same traits, and many of the same behavioural tendencies as many other species. Such qualities as fidelity, loyalty, morality and altruism are alive and well amongst our quadripedal relatives and the lines dividing us from them are in fact very thin ones. This compact and comprehensive book describes many feelings and behaviours our non-human relatives share with us such as those relating to justice, sex, love, fear, grief, envy and jealousy. This is a readable, interesting and straightforward book backed up with an extensive collection of scientific references. Continue reading

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‘Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice’ by Cormac Cullinan

South African lawyer Cormac Cullinan describes all the ways in which human laws and governance systems need be designed to promote human behaviour that contributes to the health and integrity not only of human society, but also of the wider communities, and of the Earth itself. Continue reading

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‘The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light’ by Paul Bogard

By lighting up the Earth to the point where hardly anyone gets to see the stars any more we are cheating ourselves and our descendants out of an experience that should be their birthright—but which, after a few generations, nobody is going to know is even possible. Also, since all living beings evolved on a planet where nights are dark, we are unthinkingly disrupting countless ecological systems and cycles that have existed since life began.
This book chronicles its author’s journey across the USA in search of really dark skies and his conversations with those he met along the way, including astronomers, who face increasing challenges from light pollution, and urban planners who are starting to look at how we might light our cities and towns more subtly and sustainably in order to preserve the darkness our bodies—and our souls—actually need for good health.
Continue reading

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‘Nature Spirituality from the Ground Up: Connect with Totems in Your Ecosystem’ by Lupa

This author is an ecopsychologist with a counselling practice, and her specialty, which she describes as ‘bioregional totemism’ takes a much wider and more holistic approach than many of her colleagues. She calls it a self-created, spirit-centred neoshamanic path. It begins with a reminder that everything we touch came in some way from a natural source and that: …even living in the middle of the city, I spend every moment immersed in nature. ” Continue reading

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‘Worlds without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse’ by Mary-jane Rubenstein

The concept of ‘multiverses’ – i.e. the idea that the universe we live in is just one in a vast or even infinite collection of universes – has been around in some form or another since at least the time of Plato. This book traces the history of this concept and discusses the different models now from the fields of cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory. Continue reading

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Sustainable World Sourcebook: Critical Issues, Viable Solutions, Resources for Action (4th Edition, 2014)

If you wanted a comprehensive yet succinct overview to present to someone with scant knowledge of social/environmental issues, to anyone interested in sustainability, or to a group looking for action ideas and/or discussion topics, this would be your perfect resource book. It is, in fact, a practical and inspirational one-stop shop for all things green. It covers social justice, energy, climate change, economics, communities and all aspects of the environmental issues that our world is currently facing. Inspirational and potentially attitude-changing. Continue reading

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‘Deep Green Living (GreenSpirit ebooks Book 6)’ Edited by Marian Van Eyk McCain

This ebook on Deep Green Living is a collection of articles written by fourteen different authors and is in four parts. The first is about feeling our sense of place on the Earth, the second looks at our lifestyles, the third is about wildness and the final part discusses our relationship with the natural world. The intention of the ebook is to help us to find our place in the world and to inspire us to live in good relationship with the Earth and all beings. Continue reading

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‘Hosting Transformation: Stories from the edge of changemaking’ by Betsy McCall and Joos van den Dool

Education like all sectors of our economy and society is undergoing huge changes. On the pioneering edge of this process is a group of organisations across Europe exploring and experimenting with what education and learning might look like in these times. McCall and van den Dool have woven together threads of stories from many people hosting innovative educational experiences. Continue reading

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‘Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence’ by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola

We recognize the familial bonds we have with other animals, for like us they all have eyes and a heart and a brain and, despite vast differences of form, we are all variations on a theme. But a plant—well that is ‘something else.’ It is sedentary, fixed in place, lacking internal organs, lacking a face. To our anthropocentric human minds, plants are either commodities or decorations. We don’t see them for who they actually are: fellow beings with whom we and all other life forms share the vast co-operative adventure called life on Earth. For in fact, plants process information, just as we do. They sleep and wake, just like us. Like us, they can see, feel, touch and remember. They can also communicate with each other and with other organisms They just do it differently, that’s all. Continue reading

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“The Garden Awakening: Designs to nurture our land and ourselves” by Mary Reynolds

Mary Reynolds is a talented Irishwoman with ancient magic in her blood and a sublime sense of beauty, both of which she brings to her work as a garden designer. Her aim is to create gardens that are very natural places, gardens in which the energy flows freely and abundantly and which also evoke in us a sense of homecoming, in that they reconnect us with the pulse of Nature and remind us that we, too, are part of the natural world. Continue reading

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‘Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding’ by George Monbiot

Rather than seeing the bare hills of mid-Wales as beautiful in their remoteness George Monbiot sees them as ruined, ‘sheepwrecked’ landscapes and re-imagines them as they once were—and could be again—thickly forested and rich with wildlife. His biggest dream is the restoration to completeness of fractured ecosystems by the eventual re-introduction of the wolf, the lynx and other large mammals to our British landscapes in the same way as this is already being done in other parts of Europe and in certain areas of North America. Continue reading

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‘Protecting the Wild: Parks and Wilderness, the Foundation For Conservation’ by George Wuerthner, Eileen Crist, and Tom Butler (Editors)

As John Terborgh points out in his Foreword: One of the great challenges to be faced by conservationists now and in the future will be that of clarifying in the public mind the distinction between ecosystem services and biodiversity protection. A program can, in some cases, provide both. In this book we hear the voices of several dozen conservationists from around the world, including well-known spokespeople like Jane Goodall and George Monbiot, about how these challenges are being met.
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‘The Empowerment Manual: A guide for collaborative groups ‘ by Starhawk

The Manual seeks to identify the key elements that enable collaborative groups to thrive, how their healthy development can be facilitated with many practical exercises and rituals drawn from and credited to a wide range of sources. Starhawk illustrates her concepts by applying these elements and processes to a dramatically created fictional co-housing cooperative working its way through difficulties and challenges. And she ends by referring to the amazing levels of global collaboration offered by digital technology and how all organisations must adapt and evolve to the changing contexts of our times. Continue reading

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