Guest Post Self Talk blog banner

This Friday, April 22 is Earth Day!

Here at the Library, we’re looking for ways to celebrate our planet and reduce our footprint. This month, we’re getting started on a new native plant pollinator garden in Library Commons with the help of the Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners. The new garden will open officially on June 18 with a StoryWalk® and a Master Gardener advice clinic where you can come ask all your gardening questions! We will share more information about this soon, stay tuned!

Also, keep your eyes peeled in the next few months for our new eco-friendly Book Bike! We’ll be pedaling around the city, popping up in parks and community spaces with our mobile collections of books to borrow.

One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to share and borrow rather than purchase new. Here at the Library, we’re experts at that! Save a tree – read a library book! While you’re at it, check out our growing Library of Things collection that includes Carbon Dioxide Monitors, Disc Golf sets, Ontario Parks Day Passes, and Watt Readers to check the energy usage of your appliances.

In celebration of Earth Day, we reached out to our neighbours at GreenUP to see if they had any great environmental book recommendations to share. Here’s what they recommend.

GreenUP is pleased to share some books and stories recommended by our staff.

Studies show that reading and listening to stories does more than simply activate the part of your brain that is associated with language processing; stories also activate the same parts of your brain that are triggered by your senses when you experience events in real life.

In other words, sharing stories can take you on a trip outside your home, around the world, and even into someone else’s shoes and feelings and perspectives.

These books moved us. We hope they move you too.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Braiding Sweetgrass book jacket cover

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings - asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass - offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.


Gathering Moss: The Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gathering Moss book jacket cover

Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.


The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

The Mushroom at the end of the world book jacket cover

What can a rare mushroom teach us about sustaining life on a fragile planet? Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world - and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made?

The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.

Unbowed: a Memoir by Wangari Maathai

Unbowed book jacket cover

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, Wangari Maathai has been fighting for environmental responsibility and democracy in her native Kenya for over 35 years. Unbowed recounts the incredible journey that culminated in her appointment to Parliament in 2002. Despite repeated jailings, beatings, and other obstacles along the way, Maathai created the Green Belt Movement and never relented in her goal to bring democracy to Kenya.


Yardwork: a Biography of an Urban Place by Daniel Coleman

Yardwork book jacket cover

How can you truly belong to a place? What does being at home mean in a society that has always celebrated the search for greener pastures? And can a newcomer ever acquire the deep understanding of the land that comes from being part of a culture that has lived there for centuries?  When Daniel Coleman came to Hamilton to take a position at McMaster University, he began to ask himself these kinds of questions, and Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place is his answer. In this exploration of his garden, the author pays close attention to his small plot of land sheltered by the Niagara Escarpment. Coleman chronicles enchanting omnivorous deer, the secret life of water and the ongoing tension between human needs and the environment. These, along with his careful attention to the perspectives and history of the Six Nations, create a beguiling portrait of a beloved space.


This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything book jacket cover

In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth.  

Klein exposes the myths that are clouding the climate debate. We have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. We have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring.


The Rights of Nature: a Legal Revolution that Could Save the World by David R. Boyd

The Rights of Nature book jacket cover

Cultures and laws are transforming to provide a powerful new approach to protecting the planet and the species with whom we share it. Lawyers from California to New York are fighting to gain legal rights for chimpanzees and killer whales, and lawmakers are ending the era of keeping these intelligent animals in captivity. In The Rights of Nature, noted environmental lawyer David Boyd tells this remarkable story, which is, at its heart, one of humans as a species finally growing up. Read this book and your world view will be altered forever.