Come on in and feed your mind
THE FRAGILE EDGE
a book by Julia Whitty
Like Rachel Carson in a diving suit, Julia Whitty unveils secrets of the sea surrounding several rapidly submerging, reef-fringed South Pacific islands. Encounters underwater with vividly colored fish and onshore with locals dependent on the catch remind us that the coral reef, one of the planet's most diverse ecosystems, is a foundation of our food chain. "Reefs, we know, can survive without us," Whitty writes. "The opposite may not be true." --Rebecca Lawton
a book by Alisa Smith and J. B. MacKinnon
Deciding to minimize their environmental impact by eating only food produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver, British Columbia, apartment, Alisa Smith and J. B. MacKinnon abandoned sugar, flour, and Cheerios for a year. In return, they discovered the bounty beyond supermarket doors--organic blueberries growing next to a Buddhist temple, giant prawns caught off the B.C. coast, and sweet, starchy camas bulbs, lightly roasted. --Maria Trombetta
a Discovery Channel DVD set
From the pathos of a hungry polar bear unsuccessfully hunting a walrus--its last chance at a meal--to the exhilaration of an aerial view of the world's highest free-flowing waterfall, watching this 11-part documentary is like attending the most engrossing science class ever. Even the squeamish won't be able to turn away from footage of hundreds of thousands of cave-dwelling cockroaches feeding off a 300-foot mountain of bat excrement.
THE WORLD WITHOUT US
a book by Alan Weisman
If people disappeared from the face of the earth, wind and rain would eventually deconstruct our homes, but some of our plastics might linger for millennia. In imagining a humanless future, journalist Alan Weisman examines how nature has reclaimed places abandoned due to conflict or contamination, how other big mammals became extinct, and how we have evolved--and speculates on who or what might come next.
Let's Talk: Discuss this selection with your friends and neighbors
a film by Jennifer Baichwal
Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world to capture humanity's biggest impacts on the land--including massive mines, dams, and ship-scrapping sites--in images whose beauty rivals their subjects' brutality. This artful documentary takes viewers behind the scenes (panning through endless, identical rows of machinery in a Chinese factory, for instance) and reveals the lives of people displaced by or virtually enslaved to the industrial landscape.