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Dig into our Articles - Nature & Environment
When you’re walking around the grocery store looking at all of the different vegetables, it’s probably hard to imagine that a century ago there was twice the amount of options to choose from. Hundreds of years of growing crops and infusing the soil with chemicals have depleted the dirt of the essential nutrients needed to…Read More
If you’re at all in tune to the agricultural news of late, you’re well aware that soil health is in decline all over the world – an issue that is having a disastrous impact on our food systems. The answer to this international problem? Worms. And lots of them. But how, you ask? Well, vermicomposting,…Read More
If you want to improve your soils, one of the most important things you can do is to plant cover crops. Not only do they provide diversity they also help to increase the amount of carbon in your croplands – an essential component of stimulating photosynthesis. But to understand which crops to plant, and when,…Read More
Nature & Environment
What Animals Can Teach Us about Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom
Reflections on feeding body and spirit in a world of change
Animal scientists have long considered domestic livestock to be too dumb to know how to eat right, but the lifetime research of animal behaviorist Fred Provenza and his colleagues has debunked this myth. Their work shows that when given a choice of natural foods, livestock have an astoundingly refined palate, nibbling through the day on as many as fifty kinds of grasses, forbs, and shrubs to meet their nutritional needs with remarkable precision.
In Nourishment Provenza presents his thesis of the wisdom body, a wisdom that links flavor-feedback relationships at a cellular level with biochemically rich foods to meet the body’s nutritional and medicinal needs. Provenza explores the fascinating complexity of these relationships as he raises and answers thought-provoking questions about what we can learn from animals about nutritional wisdom.
What kinds of memories form the basis for how herbivores, and humans, recognize foods? Can a body develop nutritional and medicinal memories in utero and early in life? Do humans still possess the wisdom to select nourishing diets? Or, has that ability been hijacked by nutritional “authorities”? Consumers eager for a “quick fix” have empowered the multibillion-dollar-a-year supplement industry, but is taking supplements and enriching and fortifying foods helping us, or is it hurting us?
On a broader scale Provenza explores the relationships among facets of complex, poorly understood, ever-changing ecological, social, and economic systems in light of an unpredictable future. To what degree do we lose contact with life-sustaining energies when the foods we eat come from anywhere but where we live? To what degree do we lose the mythological relationship that links us physically and spiritually with Mother Earth who nurtures our lives?
Provenza’s paradigm-changing exploration of these questions has implications that could vastly improve our health through a simple change in the way we view our relationships with the plants and animals we eat. Our health could be improved by eating biochemically rich foods and by creating cultures that know how to combine foods into meals that nourish and satiate. Provenza contends the voices of “authority” disconnect most people from a personal search to discover the inner wisdom that can nourish body and spirit. That journey means embracing wonder and uncertainty and avoiding illusions of stability and control as we dine on a planet in a universe bent on consuming itself.
Gwen the Rescue Hen
Gwen has spent her whole life in a big egg-laying hen house, so she knows very little about what chickens can do (besides lay eggs, of course). A fateful tornado turns her world upside-down and sideways, landing her in a strange new place that’s nothing like the hen house.
Using her wits and chicken superpowers, Gwen dodges danger at every turn until she finds safety and friendship with a boy named Mateo. Together they discover how extraordinary an ordinary chicken really is.
The book includes a bonus section called “More About Chickens,” where curious readers can learn that chickens have extraordinary eyesight, a complex language of 24 sounds, and are descended from dinosaurs, among other fun facts.
Gwen the Rescue Hen is the second children’s book in Stone Pier Press’s Farm Animal Rescue Series, perfect for ages 4 to 7. The first book, Sprig the Rescue Pig, was released in the Spring of 2018.
The Biotime Log
Discover the joys of keeping The Biotime Log! Biotime, or biological time, runs at a very different pace and rhythm to human time. It can be observed by recording events in the natural world. These can be as varied as the day the first spring bulb opens, the last frost before summer, or the first sighting of a species of bird or insect in a new habitat. These events can be part of a larger natural rhythm, like the turning of the seasons, or an indicator of slow changes in an ecosystem, like unusual weather patterns or an increase of average temperatures. This helps gardeners, nature watchers. On a larger scale, we can also reflect on our own biological rhythms relating to the waxing and waning of the moon and the seasons and beyond!
The Biotime Log provides a sound introduction to biotime and how to keep your own log. This is useful for:
- Gardeners to plan new plantings and crops protection
- Nature lovers to record natural rhythms like the annual migration of birds
- Ecologists to log new volunteer species in the local ecosystem
- For health and wellbeing, to record our own biological rhythms relating to the waxing and waning of the moon and the seasons.
Beautifully illustrated, this ready-made book in which you can note your day-to-day observations will last for years. There are no days or years, just the dates of each month with two days allocated to each page. This allows you to record events by first adding the year at the beginning of each of your entries. Over time you build a picture that you can refer to year on year to compare your observations. Create your own fascinating record of your local environment and its rhythms and mysteries! Your observation will deepen your connection with the natural world around you, your understanding of its cycles, and your appreciation of your local ecosystems.
An Arboreal Love Affair
In his latest book, Mesquite, Gary Paul Nabhan employs humor and contemplative reflection to convince readers that they have never really glimpsed the essence of what he calls “arboreality.”
As a Franciscan brother and ethnobotanist who has often mixed mirth with earth, laughter with landscape, food with frolic, Nabhan now takes on a large, many-branched question: What does it means to be a tree, or, accordingly, to be in a deep and intimate relationship with one?
To answer this question, Nabhan does not disappear into a forest but exposes himself to some of the most austere hyper-arid terrain on the planet—the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts along the US/Mexico border—where even the most ancient perennial plants are not tall and thin, but stunted and squat.
There, in desert regions that cover more than a third of our continent, mesquite trees have become the staff of life, not just for indigenous cultures, but for myriad creatures, many of which respond to these “nurse plants” in wildly intelligent and symbiotic ways.
In this landscape, where Nabhan claims that nearly every surviving being either sticks, stinks, stings, or sings, he finds more lives thriving than you could ever shake a stick at. As he weaves his arid yarns, we suddenly realize that our normal view of the world has been turned on its head: where we once saw scarcity, there is abundance; where we once perceived severity, there is whimsy. Desert cultures that we once assumed lived in “food deserts” are secretly savoring a most delicious world.
Drawing on his half-century of immersion in desert ethnobotany, ecology, linguistics, agroforestry, and eco-gastronomy, Nabhan opens up for us a hidden world that we had never glimpsed before. Along the way, he explores the sensuous reality surrounding this most useful and generous tree.
Mesquite is a book that will delight mystics and foresters, naturalists and foodies. It combines cutting-edge science with a generous sprinkling of humor and folk wisdom, even including traditional recipes for cooking with mesquite.
Call of the Reed Warbler
A New Agriculture, A New Earth
“Charles Massy has written a definitive masterpiece that takes its place along with the writings of Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, Masanobu Fukuoka, Humberto Maturana, and Michael Pollan. No work has more brilliantly defined regenerative agriculture and the breadth of its restorative impact upon human health, biodiversity, climate, and ecological intelligence.” –Paul Hawken
In Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles Massy explores regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health.
It is the story of how a grassroots revolution—a true underground insurgency—can save the planet, help reduce and reverse climate change, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food.
Using his personal experience as a touchstone—from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health—Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. With evocative stories, he shows how other innovative and courageous farmers are finding a new way.
At stake is not only a revolution in human health and in our communities, but the very survival of the planet. For farmers, backyard gardeners, food buyers, health workers, policy makers, and public leaders alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward and a powerful and moving paean of hope.
It’s not too late to regenerate the earth. Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our planet, and our health.
The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
“A marvelously humor-laced page-turner about the science of semi-aquatic rodents….A masterpiece of a treatise on the natural world.”—The Washington Post
In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”—including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens—recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Eager is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Ultimately, it’s about how we can learn to coexist, harmoniously and even beneficially, with our fellow travelers on this planet.
The Balance Point
A Missing Link in Human Consciousness, 2nd Edition
The Balance Point is the story of a search for something so mysterious that the main character doesn’t even know what it is, or how to recognize it if he finds it. It touches on science, mathematics, economics, and other big-ticket issues such as religion and spirituality, in a manner that is both illuminating and disturbing.
Until her sudden and inexplicable death, Dr. Lucille Boggs, a maverick scientist at a large western university, had been uncovering surprising answers as to why people are so indifferent to environmental degradation. The Balance Point tells the story of her research through the eyes of her nephew, who receives her Last Will and Testament and, with it, becomes her final hope. Lured by the promise of a rich inheritance, Joseph Jenkins reluctantly assumes responsibility for finishing Dr. Boggs’ work, inadvertently plunging himself and his family into the midst of a puzzle of global proportions.
The Balance Point takes the reader on a page-turning adventure from the author’s comfortable Pennsylvania home to the farthest reaches of civilization in a search to solve Lucy’s puzzle. On their quest to locate the missing links to her mystery, though, they discover that some answers lie closer to home, and that sometimes, the only way to find them is to look inside oneself.
A timely book with cutting-edge relevance, The Balance Point conveys a message that will be stay with the reader long after the last page has been turned. Although highly recommended for anyone concerned about the state of the planet, it also makes a great gift for the environmentally complacent.
The Visionary Spirit
Awakening to the Imaginal Realm in the Transformocene Age
Drawing inspiration from diverse fields such as the sacred feminine, indigenous wisdom, daimons and near-death experiences, this book is enlivened by fascinating, real-life stories of people who have engaged in deep processes of psycho-spiritual change. The Visionary Spirit is a radical manifesto for soulful and creative living. At the end of each chapter there is an exercise, providing opportunities for experiential reflection, aiding the reader on their personal journey. This offers new ways of living creatively, spiritually, harmoniously and responsibly on planet Earth, offering a vision of a new era of emancipatory living, which Collins calls the Transformocene Age. The scale of planetary destruction now recorded in the geological layer of the Earth – known as the Anthropocene – is a clarion call for deep change. To help facilitate such a transformative process, The Visionary Spirit draws on the wisdom of the imaginal realm, where dreams, myth, and synchronicity help us realign soulfully to the natural world and to our innate wholeness.
Gods, Wasps and Stranglers
The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees
Over millions of years, fig trees have shaped our world, influenced our evolution, nourished our bodies and fed our imaginations. And as author and ecologist Mike Shanahan proclaims, “The best could be yet to come.”
Gods, Wasps and Stranglers weaves together the mythology, history and ecology of one of the world’s most fascinating—and diverse—groups of plants, from their starring role in every major religion to their potential to restore rainforests, halt the loss of rare and endangered species and even limit climate change.
In this lively and joyous book, Shanahan recounts the epic journeys of tiny fig wasps, whose eighty-million-year-old relationship with fig trees has helped them sustain more species of birds and mammals than any other trees; the curious habits of fig-dependent rhinoceros hornbills; figs’ connection to Krishna and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad; and even their importance to Kenya’s struggle for independence.
Ultimately, Gods, Wasps and Stranglers is a story about humanity’s relationship with nature, one that is as relevant to our future as it is to our past.
Letter to a Young Farmer
How to Live Richly without Wealth on the New Garden Farm
For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addresses the next generation—young people who are moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
Completed only a few weeks before the author’s death, Letter to a Young Farmer is a remarkable testament to the life and wisdom of one of the greatest rural philosophers and writers of our time. Gene’s earthy wit and sometimes irreverent humor combines with his valuable perspectives on many wide-ranging subjects—everything from how to show a ram who’s boss to enjoying the almost churchlike calmness of a well-built livestock barn.
Reading this book is like sitting down on the porch with a neighbor who has learned the ways of farming through years of long observation and practice. Someone, in short, who has “seen it all” and has much to say, and much to teach us, if we only take the time to listen and learn. And Gene Logsdon was the best kind of teacher: equal parts storyteller, idealist, and rabble-rouser. His vision of a nation filled with garden farmers, based in cities, towns, and countrysides, will resonate with many people, both young and old, who long to create a more sustainable, meaningful life for themselves and a better world for all of us.
Sprig the Rescue Pig
Things aren’t looking good for Sprig, who is packed into a fast-moving truck with dozens of other pigs. He doesn’t know where they’re going but his nose knows there’s something better out there.
So with one dramatic leap, or really more of a tumble, Sprig sets out on a pig-centered adventure that leads him to his new best friend, a girl named Rory. Inspired by true events, this light-hearted tale introduces kids to an intelligent and inquisitive pig who finds his way to an animal sanctuary.
The book includes a bonus section called “More About Pigs,” where curious readers will learn that pigs are smart enough to play video games, enjoy sleeping in cozy pig piles, run really fast, and other amazing facts.
Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig, said of the book: “May Sprig help people to see what wonderful individuals pigs truly are.”
Sprig the Rescue Pig is the first children’s book in our series on farm animals, perfect for ages 4 to 7.
Creative Civil Disobedience
An icon worldwide for the ecological revolution and a leader of the alter-globalization movement, Vandana Shiva has made teaching by example the basis of her work. Walking the back roads of India alone in the late 1980s in search of traditional seeds threatened by industrial agriculture, she returned leading a procession of 500,000 demonstrators – farmers and activists – and with a network of 120 seed banks in place. Her initiatives have borne fruit on five continents and her legal proceedings against multinational corporations have earned her numerous awards, including the Right Livelihood Award – known as the “alternative Nobel prize”. Wrapped in her timeless sari of artisanal cotton, she calls upon each of us to become that “little nobody” who can reverse current trends.
A doctor of quantum physics and philosophy, she lives up to her name: the god Shiva is also known for his fierce character and as a protector of life. Her history is marked by commitment, body and soul, to a country currently torn by an intense war for raw materials.
Why is a major paradigm shift likely in the coming years? What role should we play? How does abundance for some and scarcity for others result in the loss of food sovereignty for everyone? What is ecofeminism and how does it represent a major opportunity, for men as well as women, and for the planet?
This series of interviews alternately addresses both the major challenges of today and the epic journey of this successor to Gandhi.
A Precautionary Tale
How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement
Mals, Italy, has long been known as the breadbasket of the Tyrol. But recently the tiny town became known for something else entirely. A Precautionary Tale tells us why, introducing readers to an unlikely group of activists and a forward-thinking mayor who came together to ban pesticides in Mals by a referendum vote—making it the first place on Earth to accomplish such a feat, and a model for other towns and regions to follow.
For hundreds of years, the people of Mals had cherished their traditional foodways and kept their local agriculture organic. Their town had become a mecca for tourists drawn by the alpine landscape, the rural and historic character of the villages, and the fine breads, wines, cheeses, herbs, vegetables, and the other traditional foods they produced. Yet Mals is located high up in the eastern Alps, and the valley below was being steadily overtaken by big apple producers, heavily dependent on pesticides. As Big Apple crept further and further up the region’s mountainsides, their toxic spray drifted with the valley’s ever-present winds and began to fall on the farms and fields of Mals—threatening their organic certifications, as well as their health and that of their livestock.
The advancing threats gradually motivated a diverse cast of characters to take action—each in their own unique way, and then in concert in an iconic display of direct democracy in action. As Ackerman-Leist recounts their uprising, we meet an organic dairy farmer who decides to speak up when his hay is poisoned by drift; a pediatrician who engaged other medical professionals to protect the soil, water, and air that the health of her patients depends upon; a hairdresser whose salon conversations mobilized the town’s women in an extraordinarily conceived campaign; and others who together orchestrated one of the rare revolutionary successes of our time and inspired a movement now snaking its way through Europe and the United States.
A foreword by Vandana Shiva calls upon others to follow in Mals’s footsteps.
Regenerating Land, Culture and Hope
Maddy Harland, the editor of Permaculture magazine, offers a unique, frontline take on the environmental successes and challenges facing this planet and its people over 25 years. She explores the rise of permaculture globally, from its origins in Australia in the 1970s to its current activities in over 170 countries worldwide, and describes positive developments of this global movement and the huge potential it has yet to achieve.
Amid a wealth of permaculture’s solutions and the ecocide of “business as usual,” Maddy interfaces practical permaculture and global transformation with deep ecology. This is a potent and entertaining cocktail. She writes of regenerative culture, earth restoration and social permaculture, long before they become core permaculture ideas and practices. Her deep connectivity with the natural and human worlds – a love for the changing of the seasons, of landscapes and species – and all that our differing cultures and spirits have to offer one another add another dimension of heart. These writings, based on her editorials from the mid-1990s to the current day, are a call to arms amid the enormity of world events and offer pathways to hope and strength in times of crisis. This is a treasure trove of inspiration.
Being Salmon, Being Human
Encountering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild
Nautilus Award Silver Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment
In search of a new story for our place on earth
Being Salmon, Being Human examines Western culture’s tragic alienation from nature by focusing on the relationship between people and salmon—weaving together key narratives about the Norwegian salmon industry as well as wild salmon in indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest.
Mueller uses this lens to articulate a comprehensive critique of human exceptionalism, directly challenging the four-hundred-year-old notion that other animals are nothing but complicated machines without rich inner lives and that Earth is a passive backdrop to human experience. Being fully human, he argues, means experiencing the intersection of our horizon of understanding with that of other animals. Salmon are the test case for this. Mueller experiments, in evocative narrative passages, with imagining the world as a salmon might see it, and considering how this enriches our understanding of humanity in the process.
Being Salmon, Being Human is both a philosophical and a narrative work, rewarding readers with insightful interpretations of major philosophers—Descartes, Heidegger, Abram, and many more—and reflections on the human–Earth relationship. It stands alongside Abram’s Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal, as well as Andreas Weber’s The Biology of Wonder and Matter and Desire—heralding a new “Copernican revolution” in the fields of biology, ecology, and philosophy.
Tamed and Untamed
Close Encounters of the Animal Kind
Extraordinary new insights into the minds and lives of our fellow creatures from two of the world’s top animal authors, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Sy Montgomery.
A Mail on Sunday “Critic’s Pick” Best Read of the Year
“In their writing and in their lives and in their remarkable friendship, Liz and Sy break down false barriers and carry us closer to our fellow creatures.”—from the foreword by Vicki Constantine Croke, author of Elephant Company
Tamed and Untamed―a collection of essays penned by two of the world’s most celebrated animal writers, Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas―explores the minds, lives, and mysteries of animals as diverse as snails, house cats, hawks, sharks, dogs, lions, and even octopuses.
Drawing on stories of animals both wild and domestic, the two authors, also best friends, created this book to put humans back into the animal world. The more we learn about what other animals think and do, they explain, the more we understand ourselves as animals, too. Writes Montgomery, “The list of attributes once thought to be unique to our species―from using tools to waging war―is not only rapidly shrinking, but starting to sound less and less impressive when we compare them with other animals’ powers.”
With humor, empathy, and introspection, Montgomery and Thomas look into the lives of all kinds of creatures―from man’s best friend to the great white shark―and examine the ways we connect with our fellow species. Both authors have devoted their lives to sharing the animal kingdom’s magic with others, and their combined wisdom is an indispensable contribution to the field of animal literature.
The book contains a foreword by Vicki Constantine Croke, author of the bestseller Elephant Company.