Staff Picks: Earth Day Reads

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April 22 is Earth Day, a day to get inspired and learn about ways to protect our earth and our environment. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, observed by many colleges and communities around the country in appreciation for clean water, air, and land, and in support for environmental reform that would protect these critically important resources. Earth Day is now a globally observed day, and in some places it has extended into Earth Week.

There are so many ways to participate — planting trees and flowers or a vegetable garden; choosing a roadside area to clean up; starting a compost program at your home or workplace; and becoming active in organizations that support environmental protection are just a few suggestions.

There are many books available in the Fauquier County Public Library to help you understand existing threats to the environment, identify and understand the significance of human impact on our earth, and what you can do personally, locally and globally to improve our environment.

The landmark 1962 book, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, raised the public’s awareness of the dangerous effects of pesticides on America’s countryside and wildlife and the possible genetic effects on humans. Carson’s book ignited the environmental movement, and her influence and writing resulted in the banning of DDT and inspired the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Her influence continues today, as Earth Day recognizes the need for responsible environmental policies that protect humans and this earth we live on.

Our approach to our environment through gardening and composting can be a good place to start being environmentally responsible. Gardening for Birds, Butterflies, & Bees: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Wildlife Habitat in Your Backyard, is a guide to doing your part for the environment by establishing critter-friendly areas in your own backyard. Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher provides an ecological approach to planting gardens by advocating for plant choices that are adapted to the soil and climate of a specific site and letting them naturally evolve over time. Growing your own food can be one of the best ways to be environmentally responsible. In The Backyard Homestead, Carleen Madigan suggests organic methods for growing plants and raising animals on a small plot of land, explains how to determine the proper times for planting and provides tips for using and preserving food. And growing food for others is a great way to be a part of your community. Start a Community Food Garden: the Essential Handbook by LaManda Joy is a guide that covers everything from fundraising and community organizing to managing the garden through the seasons.

Begin composting and greatly reduce waste and improve your garden’s output while being kind to the earth. The Organic Composting Handbook: Techniques for a Healthy, Abundant Garden by Dede Cummings is a great: “you’ll learn everything you need to know about the various methods of composting and how to adapt them to your home and garden.” Composting for Dummies by Cathy Cromell and the editors of the National Gardening Association offers instructions for how to use ordinary waste to create an extraordinary garden — composting basics that benefit the earth.

Eliminating dangerous household practices may be a good place to start your journey to make our planet a better, safer place to live for all living things. The Everything Green Living Book: Easy Ways to Conserve Energy, Protect Your Family’s Health, and Help Save the Environment by Diane Gow McDilda provides information on ways to live a “green” lifestyle and covers such topics as building a greenhouse, using nontoxic cleaning supplies, eating organic foods, recycling, ecotourism, and transportation. Easy Green Living : The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Renée Loux provides eco-friendly ways to clean and live in your home.

Reducing, reusing and recycling all help to cut down on the waste we produce and throw away. By using this as a guideline, you can conserve energy, landfill space and our natural resources. Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry is chock full of ideas on how you can reduce/eliminate plastic from your daily life.

The library also has some movies that address the environment. In An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice-president Al Gore outlines the factors contributing to increasing climate change, and discusses the shift in environmental policy that is needed to avert disaster. The original book and a young adult version is also available.

If you want an overview about how our country as a whole is doing environmentally, read America’s Environmental Report Card: Are We Making the Grade? by Harvey Blatt.

Our planet is the only place we are given to live — becoming good stewards of our earth’s environment and taking care of it is our responsibility. Get involved this year on Earth Day!

~ Cheryl, Library Clerk, Warrenton central library

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