Dig into our Articles - Nature & Environment
Anything involving farming almost always requires the help of another person, whether you’re feeding the animals or trying to decide if you want to expand the barn. Partnerships not only help with your personal life but the success of your business in the long run as well. Having someone to share the work and ease the…Read More
Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He holds the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, where he works with students, faculty, and non-profits to build a more just,…Read More
For those who aren’t in the know, it may seem like all farmers are created equal, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, there is such a wide variety of farmers that it’s nearly impossible to put a label on them. But that doesn’t stop organizations from trying. The following is an excerpt from…Read More
Nature & Environment
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.
Matter and Desire
An Erotic Ecology
Nautilus Award Gold Medal Winner, Ecology & Environment
In Matter and Desire, internationally renowned biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber rewrites ecology as a tender practice of forging relationships, of yearning for connections, and of expressing these desires through our bodies. Being alive is an erotic process—constantly transforming the self through contact with others, desiring ever more life.
In clever and surprising ways, Weber recognizes that love—the impulse to establish connections, to intermingle, to weave our existence poetically together with that of other beings—is a foundational principle of reality. The fact that we disregard this principle lies at the core of a global crisis of meaning that plays out in the avalanche of species loss and in our belief that the world is a dead mechanism controlled through economic efficiency.
Although rooted in scientific observation, Matter and Desire becomes a tender philosophy for the Anthropocene, a “poetic materialism,” that closes the gap between mind and matter. Ultimately, Weber discovers, in order to save life on Earth—and our own meaningful existence as human beings—we must learn to love.
Walking on Lava
Selected Works for Uncivilised Times
The Dark Mountain Project began with a manifesto published in 2009 by two English writers—Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth—who felt that literature was not responding honestly to the crises of our time.
In a world in which the climate is being altered by human activities; in which global ecosystems are being destroyed by the advance of industrial civilisation; and in which the dominant economic and cultural assumptions of the West are visibly crumbling, Dark Mountain asked: where are the writers and the artists? Why are the mainstream cultural forms of our society still behaving as if this were the twentieth century—or even the nineteenth?
Dark Mountain’s call for writers, thinkers and artists willing to face the depth of the mess we are in has made it a gathering point for a growing international network. Rooted in place, time and nature, their work finds a home in the pages of the Dark Mountain books, with two new volumes published every year.
Walking on Lava brings together the best of the first ten volumes, along with the original manifesto. This collection of essays, fiction, poetry, interviews and artwork introduces The Dark Mountain Project’s groundbreaking work to a wider audience in search of ‘the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.’
Resilience, Community Action & Societal Transformation
People, Place, Practice, Power, Politics & Possibility in Transition
Resilience, Community Action and Societal Transformation is a unique collection bridging research, theory and practical action to create more resilient societies. It includes accounts from people and organizations on the front line of efforts to build community resilience; cutting-edge theory and analysis from engaged scholar-activists; and commentary from sympathetic researchers. Its content ranges from first-hand accounts of the Transition Movement in the UK, Canada and Spain, to theoretical reflections on resilience theory and the shifts in mindsets and perspectives required for transitions to sustainability.
The book contains substantive contributions from activists and activist-scholars such as Lorenzo Chelleri (Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy), Juan del Rio (Transition Spain), Naresh Giangrande (Transition Network), Maja Göpel (Wuppertal Institute), Thomas Henfrey (Transition Research Network), Justin Kenrick (Forest People’s Programme), Glen Kuecker (University of Indiana), Cheryl Lyon (Transition Peterborough Ontario) and Gesa Maschowski (Transition Bonn), along with briefing notes from noted experts in resilience. The result is a compelling cocktail of insights, ideas and action points likely to define the scientific and practical fields of community resilience for years to come.
In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit
The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It grows wild in twenty-six states, gracing Eastern forests each fall with sweet-smelling, tropical-flavored abundance. Historically, it fed and sustained Native Americans and European explorers, presidents, and enslaved African Americans, inspiring folk songs, poetry, and scores of place names from Georgia to Illinois. Its trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered.
So why have so few people heard of the pawpaw, much less tasted one?
In Pawpaw—a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category—author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years.
As much as Pawpaw is a compendium of pawpaw knowledge, it also plumbs deeper questions about American foodways—how economic, biologic, and cultural forces combine, leading us to eat what we eat, and sometimes to ignore the incredible, delicious food growing all around us. If you haven’t yet eaten a pawpaw, this book won’t let you rest until you do.
All Over the Globe, Solutions Already Exist
Based on the award-winning, globally acclaimed film, Tomorrow, by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent.
What if highlighting solutions and telling positive stories was the best way to solve the ecological, economic, and social problems our countries are grappling with?
In 2012, French writer/activist Cyril Dion learned about a study carried out by twenty-two scientists from around the world that forecasts the extinction of multiple forms of life, and possibly a large part of humanity, by the year 2100. This news barely received any media coverage at all. Convinced that spreading catastrophic news is not effective, Dion decided to explore, along with actress and director Mélanie Laurent and a small film crew, what our world could look like if we brought together some of the best solutions to date in agriculture, energy, economics, education, and democracy.
What they found were men and women changing the world: cities that produce their own food and energy, zero-waste systems, businesspeople and towns creating their own currency to prevent speculation and the appropriation of wealth, citizens rewriting their own constitution, and pioneering educational systems.
By linking these initiatives together, Dion and his crew bring to light a new philosophy, a community of thought among people who often don’t know each other: new blueprints for society.
How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility
Regenerative practices for the farm, garden, orchard, forest, and landscape
Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.
Exploring the science of symbiotic fungi in layman’s terms, holistic farmer Michael Phillips (author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower) sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape. The real impetus behind no-till farming, gardening with mulches, cover cropping, digging with broadforks, shallow cultivation, forest-edge orcharding, and everything related to permaculture is to help the plants and fungi to prosper . . . which means we prosper as well.
Building soil structure and fertility that lasts for ages results only once we comprehend the nondisturbance principle. As the author says, “What a grower understands, a grower will do.” Mycorrhizal Planet abounds with insights into “fungal consciousness” and offers practical, regenerative techniques that are pertinent to gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, foresters, and farmers. Michael’s fungal acumen will resonate with everyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.
A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever
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.
Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design
How to use permaculture design as a catalyst for a shift of perception about our place in the world
Do you wish to creatively engage with the wickedly complex problems of today, while not adding to the mess? Do you want to consciously act with clarity and grace whilst living on a thriving planet? Do you want a fair society, where people care for each other, their children and grandchildren?
Stefan Geyer shows how permaculture, infused by insights from the Zen tradition, can be a modern means to liberation from our society’s present woes. Permaculture is a new regenerative culture, and permaculture design is the method to get there, offering emancipation and emboldening us to think in joyfully expansive, daringly experimental, and creatively caring new ways. Each page of this pocket-sized book of quiet lightning and gentle earthquakes presents a permaculture idea or theme as a catalyst for creative thought. Together they articulate a process of awakening that can help us become intimately aware of how nature works. As we become more sensitive to our place within the natural world, we see our own nature within it.
Surviving the Future
Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy
Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. That hardback consists of four hundred and four interlinked dictionary entries, inviting readers to choose their own path through its radical vision.
Recognizing that Lean Logic’s sheer size and unusual structure can be daunting, Fleming’s long-time collaborator Shaun Chamberlin has selected and edited one of these potential narratives to create Surviving the Future. The content, rare insights, and uniquely enjoyable writing style remain Fleming’s, but are presented here at a more accessible paperback-length and in conventional read-it-front-to-back format.
The subtitle—Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy—hints at Fleming’s vision. He believed that the market economy will not survive its inherent flaws beyond the early decades of this century, and that its failure will bring great challenges, but he did not dwell on this: “We know what we need to do. We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”
Surviving the Future lays out a compelling and powerfully different new economics for a post-growth world. One that relies not on taut competitiveness and eternally increasing productivity—“putting the grim into reality”—but on the play, humor, conversation, and reciprocal obligations of a rich culture. Building on a remarkable breadth of intellectual and cultural heritage—from Keynes to Kumar, Homer to Huxley, Mumford to MacIntyre, Scruton to Shiva, Shakespeare to Schumacher—Fleming describes a world in which, as he says, “there will be time for music.”
This is the world that many of us want to live in, yet we are told it is idealistic and unrealistic. With an evident mastery of both economic theory and historical precedent, Fleming shows that it is not only desirable, but actually the only system with a realistic claim to longevity. With friendliness, humor, and charm, Surviving the Future plucks this vision out of our daydreams and shows us how to make it real.
Lean Logic / Surviving the Future Set (2-Book Bundle)
Two inspiring books for one price.
When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left behind his great unpublished work, a masterpiece more than thirty years in the making. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural—upon which it is built. Knowing that collapse is the only possible outcome, he asked, and envisioned, “What will follow?”
In partnership with Fleming’s estate and his close friend and collaborator Shaun Chamberlin, Chelsea Green Publishing is publishing Fleming’s posthumous work—Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, with a foreword by Jonathon Porritt. Characteristic of Fleming’s wit, whimsy, and rebellion, he chose an all but bygone form—a written dictionary—to express his views of a future beyond industrial capitalism.
A dictionary unlike any other, Lean Logic leads readers through Fleming’s exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, comprised of more than 400 essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.
The beauty of the linked dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw attention to connections that might otherwise be overlooked (each definition contains pointers to related entries) without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. This also allows readers to follow a narrative that reflects their own inquisitive journeys.
And since Fleming’s death in 2010, Chamberlin found growing demand among fans of his work for a paperback version, to concisely present his rare insights and uniquely enjoyable writing style in a more conventional read-it-front-to-back format, perfect for readers discovering Fleming for the first time.
So, alongside Lean Logic, Chelsea Green is publishing Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy, edited by Chamberlin, with a foreword by Rob Hopkins. The book’s subtitle hints at Fleming’s compelling alternative, and there is no doubt that his far-sightedness has become even more apparent over recent years. He foresaw the schisms and convulsions shaking the economies of Europe, and was among the first in the world to reveal the ongoing pressure on oil supply and predict the subsequent growth in “unconventional” oil and gas, with all its consequences.
Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges we face. But rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic and Surviving the Future inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture. Ironically, the post-growth society Fleming envisioned can only come to pass after his death.
As Fleming writes in his introduction to Lean Logic, “The shocks of descent converging into our culture’s ‘climacteric’ will leave nothing in our lives unchanged. We cannot now avoid it, but it can be managed, mitigated, made survivable, recognised as our species’ toughest, but greatest, opportunity… We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”
This bundled set offer is only available from Chelsea Green.