Books and films to inspire and incite
a book edited by Alex Steffen
This "user's guide for the 21st century" is an encyclopedic look at ideas for environmental and social sustainability, from the fanciful (a table that emits natural light) to the indispensable (affordable water filtration). Touching on technology, art, disaster relief, biodiversity, and hundreds of other topics, the book connects the unexpected and starts charting the way to a future that is "bright, green, and freely available to all." worldchanging.com
a book by Stephen Trimble
The Grand Canyon's vastness can be difficult to capture on film, but the 46 photographers showcased in this historical overview succeed gloriously. Stories of early expeditions and interviews with contemporary artists add depth and context to the images, which range from classic vistas to close studies of the serene pools, sandy outcrops, and dramatic flora in the hidden corners of one of the most visited U.S. national parks.
a book by Sonia Shah
When people first encountered oil, we didn't just exploit it. "We wallowed in it," writes Sonia Shah. With the end of oil abundance nearing, the author explores our dependence on it. Her compelling account illuminates how oil reserves came to be and how this cheap fuel shaped the U.S. auto industry, contributed to human-rights abuses and rapid climate change, and created the "petrolife" Americans enjoy today. --Silja J. A. Talvi
a book by Wangari Maathai
"Anybody can dig a hole, put a tree in it, water it, and nurture it," Wangari Maathai writes in her powerful memoir. But not just anyone could turn a small tree-planting effort in Kenya into an international voice for democracy and women's rights. By maintaining a deep connection to her rural roots while gaining an education and independence, this farmer's daughter became a Nobel Peace Prize winner. greenbeltmovement.org
Let's Talk: Discuss this selection with your friends and neighbors.
a film by Roberta Grossman
In the rural valleys and desert plains many Native Americans call home, power plants, mines, and hazardous-waste dumps are rarely far away. Environmental threats plague almost all of the 317 tribal reservations in the United States, but the four charismatic subjects of this film have led their impoverished communities to stand up to the devastation and protect their traditions, homes, and health.
(Worldchanging cover image courtesy Sagmeister Inc.)