Seeds, Soil, Biodiversity

Empty Harvest by Bernard Jensen & Mark Anderson

   Empty Harvest: Understanding the Link Between Our Food, Our Immunity, and Our Planet -  Mark Anderson, Bernard Jensen (Contributor) - 1993

If you eat food, read this book.

from back cover:

The magnificent ecosystem that nature took millions of years to create is, within the course of one generation, being destroyed by man's hand. Mother Earth is talking to us through her droughts, famines, fires, and diseases, but few of us are listening. While on occasion we hear public outcry about the ozone depletion, the growing pollution problem, the indiscriminate use of pesticides, the systematic destruction of our forests, and the ravages of today's "killer" diseases, few have taken the time to carefully study the problem as a whole.
   Empty Harvest puts together a sober picture of how interconnected man is to the earth, and how this connection is being destroyed––link by link. While looking at the better-known manmade disasters such as the "greenhouse effect," the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides, and the wholesale destruction of the world's forests, it clearly focuses on the existing dangers inherent in our agricultural system. It provides startling new information about problems that have been hidden from the general public––the demineralization of our soil, the declining nutritional values of our food supply, the resulting weakening of our bodies' immune systems, and much more. Empty Harvest is a groundbreaking book that examines just what the total problem represents.
   But beyond simply citing impending crises, Empty Harvest offers a wide range of practical solutions that are still available to man––long-term solutions that can mend nature's broken links if applied in time.

more info:  Empty Harvest: Understanding the Link...



 Enduring Seeds  

Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation - Gary Paul Nabham, Wendell Berry - 1991

more info: Enduring Seeds: Native American...


 Gaia's Garden - A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture   Work Mother Nature's way to preserve our biodiversity. I'm so impressed with this book that I've listed it under 3 categories to be sure you don't miss it.

Gaia's Garden - A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture - Toby Hemenway - 2001

Back Cover:
   Welcome to Paradise!
   Imagine a garden filled with edible flowers, bursting with fruit and berries, carpeted with scented herbs and tangy salad greens, all blended in an eye-catching palette of color and texture. The flowers also nurture endangered pollinators. Bright-feathered birds share the abundant berries and gather twigs for their nearby nests. Each plant plays a role in building soil, deterring pests, storing nutrients, and luring beneficial insects.
This is not a dream. This is your own backyard.
   Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture describes a gardening system that combines the best features of wildlife habitat, edible landscapes, and conventional flower and vegetable gardens into a self-renewing landscape that lets nature do most of the work. Rather than mastering your garden with gas-spewing rototillers and chemical fertilizers, let Toby Hemenway show you how to create a backyard ecosystem that balances the needs of humans and nature.

"Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture outlines a revolutionary course for the future of gardening and agriculture. It is organized around the premise that it is possible to substitute information and human stewardship for hardware, capital, chemicals, and machines in the growing of foods and the crafting of landscapes." – John Todd, founder of the New Alchemy Institute, from the Foreword.

more info:  Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale...


 Earth in the Balance   Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit - Al Gore -  (Reprint) 1993
What's most inspiring about Earth in the Balance is who wrote it. It's a big deal, after all, that a sitting senator was willing to write, "We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization." And that's not all. In his 1992 book, Al Gore also wrote:

I have become very impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously.... [E]very time I pause to consider whether I have gone too far out on a limb, I look at the new facts [on the environment crisis] that continue to pour in from around the world and conclude that I have not gone far enough.... [T]he time has long since come to take more political risks--and endure more political criticism--by proposing tougher, more effective solutions and fighting hard for their enactments.

And the buzz on the street is that Gore actually wrote those words himself.

When Earth in the Balance first came out, it caused quite a stir--and for good reason. It convincingly makes the case that a crisis of epidemic proportions is nearly upon us and that if the world doesn't get its act together soon and agree to some kind of "Global Marshall Plan" to protect the environment, we're all up a polluted creek without a paddle. Myriad plagues are upon us, but the worst include the loss of biodiversity, the depletion of the ozone layer, the slash-and-burn destruction of rainforests, and the onset of global warming. None of this is new, of course, nor was it new in 1992. But most environmentalists will still get a giddy feeling reading such a call to action as written by a prominent politician.

The book is arranged into three sections: the first describes the plagues; the second looks at how we got ourselves into this mess; and the final chapters present ways out. Gore gets his points across in a serviceable way, though he could have benefited from a firmer editor's hand; at times the analogies are arcane and the pacing is odd--kind of like a Gore speech that climaxes at weird points and then sinks just as the audience is about to clap. Still, at the end you understand what's been said. Gore believes that if we apply some American ingenuity, the twin engines of democracy and capitalism can be rigged to help us stabilize world population growth, spread social justice, boost education levels, create environmentally appropriate technologies, and negotiate international agreements to bring us back from the brink. For example, a worldwide shift to clean, renewable energy sources would create huge economic opportunities for companies large and small to design, build, and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells, and other ecofriendly innovations.

Gore doesn't mince words when describing just how hard it will be to get out of this jam. Real hope is contingent on a swelling up of concern among the public--and fast. A year into the vice presidency, in an interview with writer Bill McKibben, Gore paraphrased a key passage in his book, "The minimum that is scientifically necessary far exceeds the maximum that is politically feasible." Ah, a political out. Some readers will ask of Gore: what has he done since publishing his book to advance the political feasibility of decisive environmental action? --Chip Giller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition

more info:  USA:  Earth in the Balance : Ecology and the...

Europe:  Earth in the Balance

 no photo    Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure: The Passionate Story of the Growing Movement to Restore Biodiversity and Revolutionize the Way Way We Think About Food - Kenny Ausubel - 1994 (out-of-print)

Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure : The Passionate Story of the Growing Movement to Restore Biodiversity and Revolutionize the Way We Think About

 Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity    Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity - Cary Fowler, Pat Mooney - 1990

more info: Shattering : Food, Politics, and the...

 Silent Spring    Silent Spring - Rachel Carson (Reprint) - 1994
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is now 35 years old. Written over the years 1958 to 1962, it took a hard look at the effects of insecticides and pesticides on songbird populations throughout the United States, whose declining numbers yielded the silence to which her title attests. "What happens in nature is not allowed to happen in the modern, chemical-drenched world," she writes, "where spraying destroys not only the insects but also their principal enemy, the birds. When later there is a resurgence of the insect population, as almost always happens, the birds are not there to keep their numbers in check." The publication of her impeccably reported text helped change that trend by setting off a wave of environmental legislation and galvanizing the nascent ecological movement. It is justly considered a classic, and it is well worth rereading today.

more info:  USA:  Silent Spring

Europe:  Silent Spring

 The Work of Nature - How the Diversity of Live Sustains Us    The Work of Nature - How the Diversity of Life Sustains Us - Yvonne Baskin - 1997

more info:  USA:  The Work of Nature : How the Diversity...

Europe:  The Work of Nature: How the Diversity of...