I spotted this book about the Fens, having finished reading ‘The Fens’ by Francis Pryor, which is about the rich archeological excavations in the Fens that have been carried out over fairly recent years. My interest in these books stems partly from being brought up in Peterborough and remembering weekend trips to the family caravan. These trips meant travelling through the Fens, past Thorney and Guyhirn on long, level straight roads across the Fens to Heacham, Hunstanton, Wells and beyond, in the undulating countryside that adjoins the coastal salt marshes of North Norfolk.
What became clear about Imperial Mud by James Boyce, is that it is a history of the Fennish (a word created by Boyce to describe the indigenous people of the Fens) resistance to the draining of the Fens.
Continue reading Imperial Mud: The Fight for the Fens
This is Bill Deval’s third and best book about Deep Ecology. Starting with a semi-autobiographical history of the second half of the twentieth century, he recounts the cultural development of America, based on a confident profligacy that was ultimately increasingly questioned by the realisation of the environmental damage that it was causing.
This sets the tone for the book, which aims to analyse various aspects of people’s lives so as to propose how they may be aligned as close as possible to Deep Ecology principles. In a chapter headed “philosophical Roots for Greening our Lifestyles”, Devall first examines the nature of the idea “lifestyle” and then goes on to draw on the various wisdoms of Deep Ecology proponents from Barry Commoner to Joanna Macy and from Arne Naess to Aldo Leopold. What is unique about this book, however, is the way it offers advice on how to experience nature in our lives, how to think on a grand ecological scale (Thinking like a watershed/bioregion) and then how to bring valid ecological principles into our home making.
Continue reading Living Richly in an Age of Limits
Published in 1995, this book is a comprehensive compendium of writing about the Deep Ecology movement that emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century. This is the best book I have read about the movement, because of its breadth of coverage and the selection of important writers included. Covering such subjects as ‘What is Deep Ecology’ and ‘The Historical Roots of Deep Ecology’, the book also includes key texts by Arne Naess, who first defined the idea of Deep Ecology, and chapters covering related movements, the political aspects and critical writings on the differences between ‘deep’ and ‘shallow’ ecology.
Continue reading A comprehensive guide to Deep Ecology
Havergey; Burnside, John; Little Toller Books, 2017
I have to say that I chose this book to read because I was seduced by its cover. I can only add that it turned out to be a whimsical and seemingly gentle novella, but one that in the end packs a big punch. If I write too much here about why I’ve added it to my list of ‘influential’ books, I fear that I will spoil its impact. Environmentalists and ecologists please read!
Kate Raworth’s Book is written in a language nearest to the one that economists understand, but at the same time sets out truths (such as that economics is embedded within society and in turn within the ecology of the world) that the culture of economics currently for the most part denies. With its ‘seven ways to think like a 21st century economist’, the book surgically kills off the misguided holy cows of current economics. Continue reading The economics of compassion & survival
Jeremy Lent set out to prove a theory about humanity that interprets the history of the human race as a search for meaning based on certain long-term “big ideas”. Whether he proves this theory or not, this wide ranging account of history and prehistory throughout the world creates a wonderful background for developing an understanding of where we have come from and who we are. Continue reading If you are looking for food for thought, here is a feast!
This is a very readable book. Not because Berry writes in an easy journalistic way, he certainly doesn’t, but because the book feels like someone is just talking to you in a very direct way about their life and values. It makes the reader think hard about the way both s/he and Mr Berry see the world. His point of view is, at the same time, both radical and conservative. It is hard hitting and he certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Continue reading Bluntly expressed, but carefully honed, here are messages that are impossible to deny!
Paul Shepard (1925-1996) regarded this book as his most important. With convincing arguments and resonating descriptions of certain periods of human progress and modern humanity’s addictions and delinquencies, it postulates that, during the last 10,000 years, we have not taken the right steps towards greater adult maturity.
Continue reading A radical look at human history over the last 10,000 years
I have been a follower of Colin Tudge for quite a few years and his theories on how to feed people in a sustainable way are clearly stated in a number of his books. In this latest book “Six Steps Back to the Land” he sets out the clear advantages of smaller scale mixed farming as an efficient a sustainable way of producing food. Continue reading Another great book from Colin Tudge
Having only recently discovered this book, I have added it rather late to my ‘Influential & Formative Books’ listing. It has deeply impressed me, as the first wholly convincing alternative world view that I have read. Continue reading Added to ‘Influential Books’: Becoming Animal