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Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Sue Korte, The Providential Gardener

Report received from July Lewis about these book discussions:

January’s book, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, was an interesting mix for most people. The thought experiment of “what would happen to the world if humans suddenly disappeared?” was a compelling one. He looked at what human artifacts would fade (buildings, bridges, cleared land) and what would endure (bronze statues, plastics, radiation). In his roundabout journey, there were lots of interesting tidbits—details of plastics accumulation, the fact that New York City subways have to be constantly pumped to keep them from flooding, the underground tuff cities of Cappadocia, the re-wilding of Chernobyl—that kept people fascinated. But many felt the book was tinged with a lot of doom and gloom, and expressed the theme that “people are a plague upon the earth”. Others found hope, especially at how quickly nature can recover and flourish when given a chance. Lots of people asked, “what does he want us to do with this? What’s the message?” We talked about other thought experiments we might want to read---how humans might disappear, or how nature might recover with us still on the planet. The book is very popular, and we discussed why the premise is so attractive. We brought up William Cronon’s essay and how the fantasy of a return to “Eden” is appealing to many in our industrialized age.

We had a great discussion and agreed that for the next book, we wanted something with a positive vision! So for March, we chose Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy for its vision of economic and ecological sustainability.

Finally, we’d like to offer the opportunity for book club members to support Audubon with a couple of handy links. Audubon Society of RI is a charitable, donor-supported organization that conserves habitat, offers educational programs for young and old, and advocates for the environment. If you’d like to support the Environmental Book Club and our other programs, please take the time to make a donation—or if you haven’t yet, become a member!

DONATE: https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?id=2288

BECOME A MEMBER: http://asri.org/join.htm

Thanks so much, and happy reading!

July Lewis & Eugenia Marks

Audubon Society of RI


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