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Chapter 16 - Happy Earth Day!

There is a lot of debate on which is more environmentally friendly e-readers or books. Almost uniformly the debate leads the reader down a rabbit hole where the answer is always, it depends. The answer, it seems is a complicated one where the reader needs to not only consider the impact of manufacturing each but also transportation, electricity and internet usage, shareability, recyclability and how many books the reader reads each year. Depending on the study, one is a villain, the other not so much. It seems that both industries need to do a lot to clean up their environmental acts.

So how do we become more environmentally friendly as we read? While we certainly believe in visiting your local library, we know that libraries are becoming smaller and have significantly less books than they did when we were growing up. A big answer might be to buy used books to reduce your carbon footprint. Used bookstores are great places to get pre-read books at a savings while helping the environment. Most used bookstores also take books in trade reducing the cost even more and recycling your books back into the world. When we can't use your books we recycle them to nursing homes, thrift stores, and when necessary, to the recycling center.

Whichever mode of reading you choose to use here are some terrific books to consider for your reading pleasure. They all have the environment as a character within them.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver - Prodigal Summer tells the three stories about Appalachia. The first is about a wildlife biologist who is studying coyotes. The second story is about a city girl turned farmer's wife. The third is about two farmers who are feuding. It is a story which asks the question of the future of the environment and the people within it.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood - Margaret Atwood is often considered the queen of dystopian fiction and this book is also a futuristic look at the world when the environment is not considered an important part of life.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver - In this book Kingsolver takes on the scary story of climate change. In the book she dissects beliefs both of science and faith.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson - This wonderful meandering tale is one of Bryson's finest and details his trek from Georgia to Maine. He gives us the history and ecology of the trail with interesting people along the way. You will want to get outdoors after reading this book!

A couple of books for the littles or if you never read them when you were young.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - A sad and poignant tale about what humans demand from the environment which nurtures us.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss - "In the far end of town where the Grickle grass grows..." so starts one of the most famous children's environment books. I first read this book to a child I was babysitting when I was 13. It has been a favorite since and has grown up themes that children can understand.

Do you have a favorite book about the environment? Let me know.

You can order these or other books at

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