Chelsea Green Publishing

Seeing Nature

Pages:193 pages
Book Art:Black and white illustrations
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781890132422
Pub. Date December 01, 1999

Seeing Nature

Deliberate Encounters with the Visible World

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
December 01, 1999

$25.00

Seeing Nature is a series of true stories or parables that offer tools for understanding relationships in the natural world. Many of the stories take the reader to wild landscapes, including canyons, tundra, and mountain ridges, while others contemplate the human-made world: water-diversion trenches and supermarket check-out lines. At one point, Krafel discovers a world in a one-inch-square patch of ordinary ground.

Inspiring for parents and teachers seeking to encourage excitement about the positive role of people in nature, Krafel's work harkens to St. Exupery's The Little Prince, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Jean Giono's The Man Who Planted Trees. As Barbara Damrosch has noted:

[This book] is a gift.... With curiosity, wit, and a spare and graceful style, Krafel notes why birds in flocks land as they do, how islands can move upstream in a river, how kelp forests, swaying gently, break the force of the sea's power, how tundra plants create whole ecosystems on bare rock from mere specks of life. Yet there are no long-winded sermons about the woods, or cute anthropomorphizations of animals. The book's economical, unsentimental style is part of its originality.

Paul Krafel's years as a park ranger afforded him time to walk and think—his job was to observe the world around him. He is now a teacher, creating a curriculum for young people that is built on a startlingly simple truth: The world around us is an extended conversation between "upward spirals"—nature in regenerative, procreative modes—and downward spirals toward entropy and disintegration. As nature refreshes and rebuilds, the downward spirals are overcome. Nature's process becomes the process of replenishing hope.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Publishers Weekly-
Krafel gets his insights while exploring granite basins deep in the Rockies that once cradled Ice Age glaciers, or while watching a million heliotropic buttercups' synchronized turning toward the sun on the Arctic tundra, or while climbing into an ancient cliff dwelling that housed the Hopis' ancestors. His deeply personal, lyrical meditation beckons readers to see the world as a spiral of coevolution, whereby life forms grow symbiotically through small, accumulating changes, rather than in linear cause-and-effect fashion. A former park ranger and naturalist with the National Park Service for eight years, Krafel is now a teacher in Northern California, where he and his wife founded Chrysalis, a chartered public school operating out of a natural science museum, with emphasis on nature study outdoors. Originally self-published 10 years ago under the title Shifting, this quietly ambitious book is an individualistic attempt to reorient everyday observation along the lines of the Gaia hypothesis formulated by scientists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, who envision Earth as a single, gigantic, self-regulating organism. The book unfolds as a series of perceptual exercises and intense interactions with the natural world. Though Krafel seems to aspire to the soaring lyricism of Annie Dillard or Loren Eiseley, he seldom achieves their profundity, and while some of his examples are illuminating, others are murky or pedestrian. Nevertheless, his inquiry beautifully underscores his central message that we tend to become what we practice: hope spirals into new possibilities, while cynicism restricts one's range of vision and begets more cynicism. Line drawings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Krafel

Paul Krafel and his family live in Cottonwood, California, where he is a founding teacher at Chrysalis, a chartered public school emphasizing nature study.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

A Cafecito Story / El cuento del cafecito

A Cafecito Story / El cuento del cafecito

By Julia Alvarez and Bill Eichner and Belkis Ramirez

A Cafecito Story is a story of love, coffee, birds and hope. It is a beautifully written eco-fable by best-selling author Julia Alvarez. Based on her and her husband's experiences trying to reclaim a small coffee farm in her native Dominican Republic, A Cafecito Story shows how the return to the traditional methods of shade-grown coffee can rehabilitate and rejuvenate the landscape and human culture, while at the same time preserving vital winter habitat for threatened songbirds.

Not a political or environmental polemic, A Cafecito Story is instead a poetic, modern fable about human beings at their best. The challenge of producing coffee is a remarkable test of our ability to live more sustainably, caring for the land, growers, and consumers in an enlightened and just way. Written with Julia Alvarez's deft touch, this is a story that stimulates while it comforts, waking the mind and warming the soul like the first cup of morning coffee. Indeed, this story is best read with a strong cup of organic, shade-grown, fresh-brewed coffee.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

A Cafecito Story / El cuento del cafecito

Julia Alvarez, Bill Eichner, Belkis Ramirez, Daisy Cocco de Filippis

Paperback $12.95

Desert or Paradise

Desert or Paradise

By Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer farms steep mountainsides in Austria 5,000 feet above sea level. His farm is an intricate network of terraces, raised beds, ponds, and waterways, well covered with productive fruit trees and other vegetation, in dramatic contrast to his neighbors' spruce monocultures. Fans of Sepp Holzer have come from all over the world to see the productivity of his farm, a veritable permaculture paradise. His first book, Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, offers a detailed guide to what Holzer has achieved on his farm. Many readers might have wondered-but how can we achieve this on a global scale? Luckily, his newest book, Desert or Paradise, examines Holzer's core philosophy for increasing food production, earth health, and reconnecting mankind with nature, applied to reforestation and water conservation across the world.

Through years of consultation with other countries, Holzer has developed a core philosophy for reconnecting mankind with nature even in arid or otherwise "lost-cause" regions. He details a process he calls "Grundierung," a term from painting meaning "base coat," which goes into great detail the importance of water, and Desert or Paradise offers his concept and guide to construction of large water reservoirs in arid, rainfall-dependent regions with examples from Greece, Turkey, Spain, and Portugal. Holzer describes the ecological and economic benefits of these changes, as well as the use of a variety of plant and animal species for further integration and regeneration of the surrounding areas, including reasons for reforestation and the cause and use of forest fires.

Holzer also outlines his ten points of sustainable self-reliance and how these methods can help feed the world, such as the need to regulate the water budget, eliminate factory livestock farming, bring more fallow or unused areas into production, enlarge crop areas by using terracing and Holzer-style raised beds, regionalize instead of globalize, fight for land reform and engage in community building, go back to the ancient farming wisdom, and change the educational system. Also included are Holzer's ideas on beekeeping, humane slaughtering, nature spirits, the loss of roots in our society in general, and in politics especially.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Desert or Paradise

Sepp Holzer

Paperback $29.95

Luminous Fish

Luminous Fish

By Lynn Margulis

This collection of linked stories by internationally renowned evolutionist Lynn Margulis reveals science from the inside--its thrills, disappointments, and triumphs. A largely fictional account, it draws on her decades of experience to portray the poor judgment, exhaustion, and life-threatening dedication of real scientists--their emotional preoccupations, sexual distractions, and passions for research. The esoteric, demanding, sometimes exhilarating world of science emerges from the shadows of its passive narrative into the sunlight of the personal voice of those who attempt to wrench secrets directly from nature. All of us who struggle to balance family, professional, and social commitments with intellectual quest will be intrigued by the humanity of these tales.

Available in: Hardcover, eBook

Read More

Luminous Fish

Lynn Margulis

Hardcover $21.95

Gene Everlasting

Gene Everlasting

By Gene Logsdon

Author Gene Logsdon—whom Wendell Berry once called “the most experienced and best observer of agriculture we have”—has a notion: That it is a little easier for gardeners and farmers to accept death than the rest of the populace. Why? Because every day, farmers and gardeners help plants and animals begin life and help plants and animals end life. They are intimately attuned to the food chain. They understand how all living things are seated around a dining table, eating while being eaten. They realize that all of nature is in flux.

Gene Everlasting contains Logsdon’s reflections, by turns both humorous and heart-wrenching, on nature, death, and eternity, all from a contrary farmer’s perspective. He recounts joys and tragedies from his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s spent on an Ohio farm, through adulthood and child-raising, all the way up to his recent bout with cancer, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming has taught him about life and its mysteries.

Whether his subject is parsnips, pigweed, immortality, irises, green burial, buzzards, or compound interest, Logsdon generously applies as much heart and wit to his words as he does care and expertise to his fields. 

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Gene Everlasting

Gene Logsdon

eBook $17.95