Imagine that you are a castaway on a dead planet. You only have provisions for a few days and you are absolutely alone. How would you survive? Andy Weir turned this question into his best-selling novel, The Martian. It is a tale of man versus Mars.
Archive by category Book Reviews
Looking for some good reads about the environment and the Middle East? Then click yourself into the University of California Press (UCP) e-books collection (link here) offering free access to hundreds of books published by UCP and other academic presses.
Want to get close to Iraqi food traditions and culture? This cook book is for you. Lyrical memoirs of Nawal Nasrallah’s childhood in Iraq, and the place that food had in that culture, drift through the pages, pausing for sidebars that offer tidbits like four paragraphs on ancient wives in ancient kitchens. Or samples from a[.....]
Here are some green book gift giving ideas for Christmas: Whether you are buying for a business executive who needs to make the company more sustainable (hint, hint), a young environmental activist who wants to change the world, or an MBA student eager to be in the loop, here are some important book ideas.
In the Middle East, date palms are a natural element of the landscape. The towering trees adorn streets and march down road medians. They sprout out of private gardens and public parks. Come late summer, their gracefully swaying green heads send forth sturdy branches laden with heavy fruit clusters.
The “Field Guide to Jordan” is a fantastically comprehensive book that uses beautiful photographs and concise descriptions to introduce locals and visitors to the kingdom’s natural wonders. The guide is the end-product of four years of dedicated research and photography by author Jarir Maani and his band of contributors (composed mainly of friends and family).
Climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our time, yet most countries in the Middle East and North Africa continue to subsidize energy derived from fossil fuels. Seeking solutions, The Guardian launched a three part Global Public Leaders Series and sent us this recent lecture by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
We’ve posted about the Cafe Clock blog here, including the recipe for its famous camel burger. In this delightful cookbook, Stevens includes recipes from the Cafe Clock as well as some traditional Moroccan dishes that she discovered herself. Her warm, frank tone and the stories that introduce many of the recipes almost bring the reader[.....]
Working in Qatar has clearly given the academic Mari Luomi access to lots of information about the climate change rhetoric and reality of the Gulf. It also puts her in a rather awkward position in terms of being able to voice her criticism. After interviewing Luomi for Green Prophet around a year ago, however, I[.....]
A great collection of short stories inspired by the ecological crisis which are honest, creative and sometimes really funny I don’t know if it’s just me but whenever someone recommends a book that is for charity or even a song that is ‘worthy’ – alarm bells go off. Alarms that tell me to stay away[.....]
In the book “Racing Alone”, Nader Khalili pursues his own revolution using fire, earth, air and water. In “Racing Alone”, the late Iranian earth architect Nader Khalili who died in 2008 recounts the years leading to the realization of his dream; building a dwelling that infuses Persian culture, history, art, and ingeniousness, and a structure[.....]
Odeh Al-Jayoussi creates a great guidebook on Islam and sustainable development, although it’s a little overambitious in its reach at times Odeh Al-Jayoussi, the current vice president of Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society, has certainly had an interesting career. As well as working for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, he’s spent time at the City[.....]
Pink slime, an Egyptian muscleman with freakish biceps, and horse-burgers: what makes news go viral? Ages back, the day after actress Natalie Wood died, I got two phone calls from my brothers – each on an opposite American coast – with the same awful joke*. How could something so bad get near-instant attention of people[.....]
If you’re looking for some light reading from the Middle East, something peppered with the region’s wit and satire, then look no farther than Abu Dhabi and Sultan Saeed al Darmaki, presently a businessman running the construction-based Al Darmaki group. He has published his first official book, entitled Leave the Birds Alone. It was a[.....]
Eating sustainably can make a huge impact on our planet. We all know that eating sustainably, and eating local is good for the planet and good for the economy. Now that your New Year’s resolutions to eat better have come into effect, check out your local bookseller for seven recycled titles that will help bolster[.....]
Jewish American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak died last week, at age 83. The acclaimed master of kid-lit once said, “I don’t write for children. I write. And someone says, ‘That’s for children.'” Best known for his 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak spoke through guileless prose and vivid imagery. Simple messages beautifully imagined:[.....]
Framing climate-influenced migration as a threat is dangerous and counterproductive is author Gregory White Around the time of the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, there was a sense that climate change was finally transitioning from something which only concerned hippy do-gooders to an issue that affected the entire international community. Everywhere you looked people were talking[.....]
There are more Christians in Egypt than Jews in Israel. And few westerners might realize that there are Christian Arabs living in the Holy Land of Israel – some since the early beginnings of Christianity. There are Christians in Lebanon, in Syria, and until most of them were chased out, they were in Iraq too.[.....]
“Nature has provided ecosystems and their benefits to us for free… perhaps because this capital has been provided freely to us, we humans have tended to view it as limitless, abundant, and thus perhaps always available for our use, exploitation, and conversion.” (p.3) The modern economy’s obsession with competitive consumption and endless exploitation of natural[.....]
Pauline Masurel reviews a collection of literary and science fiction stories by world renowned authors that imagine the affects of climate change. Bill McKibben was arrested in August this year while protesting against TransCanada’s proposed plans to build a pipeline that would carry oil from the Alberta tar sands to Texas. McKibben has written: “This[.....]
Edgelands are the spaces outside of towns and cities that play host to a rough element. Largely considered no-man’s-land, they too deserve attention, Marion Shoard argues. Two poets respond to the call. The term edgelands was coined in 2003 by Marion Shoard. She wrote, “The expanses of no-man’s-land which have sprung up on the margins of[.....]
Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is a combination of the ‘prisoners dilemma’ and ‘tragedy of the commons.’ Stephen M. Gardiner regards climate change more or less as an ethical failure on the part of the human race, something that implicates our institutions’ moral and political theories alongside ourselves as supposedly moral beings. He employs[.....]
Ken Finn is a passionate man. Sitting with him in his Brighton kitchen (which he built himself), our conversation ranges from his book, ‘My Journey With a Remarkable Tree’, to the current state of the economy: “We’ve got to decouple the juggernaut [of economic meltdown] that is hurtling towards us” is a memorable quote from[.....]
Locavore life on an almost invisible budget. Robin Mather has over 30 year’s experience working as a journalist with a passion for the truth behind food production. And she lets nothing get in her way. The head of Michigan’s largest dairy co-op once told her, “Young lady, if you write about rBST (a GMO hormone[.....]
How do you measure human well-being? How do you fully account for the impact of human interventions in poor regions like in Iraq? What costs are paid by the citizens of one country for the consumer demands of another? Renown economist Partha Dasgupta’s recent book, ‘Human Well-being and the Natural Environment’ is not for the[.....]
Consumers today are thinking more and more about where their food comes from, how it’s produced and what impact their grocery shopping choices have on the world. But, when pushed, many can’t explain logically why they make the choices or hold the views they do. For all those people who care about what they buy[.....]
A good friend of David de Rothschild’s, Treehugger founder Graham Hill takes the Plastiki helm Theirs was one of 2010’s most talked-about, scoffed-about, and dreamed-about adventures: sailing across the Pacific Ocean in a boat made from plastic. Spontaneously envisioned to save our oceans from plastic pollution created by a now global society of waste, the[.....]
Getting to grips with climate science and all the different aspects and solutions to climate change can be a difficult thing- why not get the no-nonsense guide? Maybe it’s just me but I think that one of the most difficult things about being a climate activist isn’t remembering to put out the recyclables for collection[.....]
Bolster your New Year’s food resolutions with seven recycled titles: largely published before 2011 but still relevant. Eating sustainably can make a huge impact on our planet. Dig in. 1. Eating Animals (Penguin, 2011) Part memoir, part science: novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s takes a philosophical look at how we justify what we eat . Prepare[.....]
If the mechanics behind Global Warming has eluded you, or if you’re excited by a few cooking tips or a good old fashioned dystopic novel, then dig in, because we’ve got seven books that will help you start 2011 on a green foot. The holidays are over and winter has finally set in. What better[.....]
Arwa reviews the book by Richard C. Foltz, Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Culture, Oneworld Publications Following the controversy during Eid Al-adha and allegations of animal mistreatment in Egypt, I found myself questioning how my faith which teaches compassion towards animals could become so inextricably linked to clear animal abuses. Islam, despite what many[.....]
Want a reference book to living ethically? Want to know the truth about the costs of globalisation and profit-driven business practices on our health and society? Want to know what you can do to bring about change? This is the book for you. Unlike the other books by Leo Hickman that I have reviewed (The[.....]
Brooklyn born Ibrahim Abdal-Matin was raised on Islamic environmentalism and that the "earth is a mosque". His passionate voice has been translated into his brilliant book, "Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Environment," in which he educates us on greening our lives and faith. Read more on how we can do that.
Interested in finding out about Slow Food, Slow Travel and some of the most beautiful places in England to slow down? Want to know about people who have chosen the Slow Life? This is the book for you – a journey and a resource. It is a gentle meander through England, a ramble across the[.....]
Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland,” explains why the environmental impact of food waste is rarely acknowledged. Because most food decomposes into the ground (even McDonald’s), people assume that leftover food makes a small impact. But by the time food reaches our table, it has already used enormous amounts of natural resources for growing, harvesting,[.....]
Pauline discovers in her review of “Uses & Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke” that there is more to plant-based smoke than meets the eye. Read on for details. You’ve heard of tobacco and cannabis but what about jimsonweed or torchwood? This book demonstrates that there’s a lot more to smoke created from plant material than just[.....]
Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins guide us away from domineering supermarkets and into our own backyards. Ellen has the details. Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins are authors of ‘Local Food, How to make it happen in your community’ – a big, hearty book. In a time when the supermarkets look set on taking over, they[.....]
More green wisdom from the United Kingdom: this week Clare unravels the many reasons to celebrate and cherish woodlands. Anne Frank found solace in the giant Chestnut tree that stood outside her home, while a Moroccan activist risked arrest to protect a precious stand of Cedar trees. And in Israel, to the outrage of Omer’s[.....]
One man goes on a mission to live a year without money; James tells us how it’s done. If we take green living seriously, we all must examine every aspect of life, from consumerism through to energy use and our personal economic and social attitude. This is what Mark Boyle has done, to an extreme[.....]
I am a fanatical ‘thrifter,’ an unstoppable charity shop consumer; the best bit about shopping in this way is that all the guilt of buying too many clothes is eradicated because they are second hand. Instead of being a part of the disposable fashion industry, I am reusing loved clothes as well as donating my[.....]
Islamic states have the highest infant mortality rate in the world thanks in large part to a decline in breastfeeding. What is a “milk mother” according to Islamic law? Do nursing mothers and pregnant women need to fast during the holy month of Ramadan? And how is it that only 37% of women in Saudi[.....]
In order to change our unending addiction to Stuff, we need to redefine progress. We need to realize Stuff doesn’t make us happy. The Story of Stuff is subtitled “How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health – and a vision for change.” Its author, Annie Leonard, is not[.....]
Interested in finding out about one man and his family taking on the challenge of living ethically for a year? Want to know more about the dilemmas of consuming without harming animals, people or the environment? This is the book for you. Like another of Leo Hickman’s books we’ve reviewed – ‘The Final Call’ – this book[.....]
Deep Economy is probably the first economics book you’ll read that advocates for less economic growth. The book is framed around a simple, yet zealous premise – that what we need is Better rather than More. Author Bill McKibben believes, as do a growing number of economists, that we indeed have to choose between one[.....]
If you like to beguile the slow, hot summer hours with a good food book, you will love this one. Author Peter Mayle, famous for his series of books on life in Provence as a British ex-pat, traveled left Provence to get a better taste of food festivals in other regions. He sat down at[.....]
I have quite a taste for post-apocalyptical fantasies myself (such as Cormac McCarthy’s chilling ‘The Road’, reviewed here earlier on GP), so I picked up ‘Everyone Can Be A Hero’ with some eagerness. It is a novel for teenagers set in a Britain devastated by a nuclear accident, where the remaining population is forced to[.....]
Michael Pollan is a hero to many of us globally who take a strong interest in the link between food and the environment. Green Prophet’s James attends a lecture with Pollan and reports on his words, and Pollan’s newest book. This American journalist/author has written several prize-winning books, including ‘In Defense Of Food’ reviewed here[.....]
‘Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops’ (Green Books,UK) by Martin Crawford This book is unusual. Firstly, by virtue of covering the topic of forest gardening at all, but also unusual in another respect. Many gardening books either concentrate on being packed with practical How-To information, or on offering glossy fantasies[.....]
Worried about the impact of the tourism industry on the world’s resources? Want to know whether tourism sustains or destroys local communities and ecology in the developing world? Then this is the book for you. ‘The Final Call’ is a thoroughly good read and I had to remember that I was actually meant to be[.....]
Book Review: Strategy for Sustainability by Adam Werbach – A Primer for Third Wing Environmentalism or a Harbinger of the Black Swan?
I find it fitting and perhaps a little ironic that I was asked to write a review about Adam Werbach’s popular book, Strategy for Sustainability, a book addressed to corporations large and small about how they can operate as leaders in sustainability. Perhaps because my senior thesis as an undergraduate English major, was entitled “The[.....]
Of the many non-fiction, environmentally-themed books I’ve read over the past few years, those that stand out are Alanna Mitchell’s ‘Dancing at the Dead Sea’ and ‘Seasick‘, both of which I have reviewed for Green Prophet. Mitchell is an acclaimed Canadian writer, skilled in her clear evocation of the destruction of the environment she witnesses[.....]
Bradley Winterton, writing in the Taipei Times in Taiwan, recently gave big thumbs up to one of the first climate chaos novels to come out of Britain, Finitude, penned by a Canadian expat in Edinburgh named Hamish MacDonald. While the novel takes place in an un-named country in the far distant future, it’s a book[.....]