With the recent launch of London Environment Network's first podcast "London, ON: One of Canada's Greenest Cities?", staff and volunteers put together their top picks for environmental podcasts, books, and documentaries. Last post we shared favourite podcasts, this week we have combined both books and documentaries. If you want to explore different environmental topics read through our recommendations some of which you can find on through the London Public Library and their e-book apps Hoopla and Libby - we hope you enjoy our picks! 


Books 

Mackenzie: Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer

This book explains the beautiful and important relationship we all have to nature with the author offering both wisdom that has been passed down from generations as well as scientific explanations for how important it is to respect and honour our environment. Reading this book is a great reminder of how everything on Earth/Turtle Island has a purpose and is interconnected. Hearing Indigenous perspectives on the state of the environment is so important and something that everyone should learn from in order to protect and fight for what we have. If this inspires you, check out member, Chippewa's of the Thames First Nation, Treaties, Land and Environment Department who engage the community in ecosystem restoration.

 

Leah: Mycelium Running - Paul Stamets 

In this book, mycologist Paul Stamets proves to us that mushrooms have the power to change the world for the better. Stamets explores the unique structure and properties of mycelium (and their fruiting bodies that we commonly refer to as mushrooms) and their applications in bioremediation, habitat restoration, medicine, nutrition, and more. This book has changed my perspective on the world as I know it and has inspired me to continue to learn more about the role of mushrooms in forest ecosystems and in future technologies. In addition to the book, I recommend you check out other works by Paul Stamets as well, especially his film Fantastic Fungi - it’s visually stunning and filled with knowledge too! If this inspires you, I’d suggest you check out our member, Growing Chefs who want to engage the community in the food system.

 

Sarah: The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest - Joan Baxter

This book follows the controversial history of a pulp mill in Pictou Nova Scotia. The mill's operation brought about a boost to the local economy, but it also pulped millions of acres of forests, spewed millions of tonnes of noxious emissions into the air, consumed quadrillions of litres of fresh water and then pumped them out again as toxic effluent. I enjoyed reading this book because it gave me an understanding of the politics behind balancing environmental sustainability with the economy in Canada. If this interests you, check out our member Carolinian Canada who want to protect the heritage in the Carolinian Forest in Southwestern Ontario.

 

Skylar: The Hidden Life of Trees - Peter Wohlleben

I listened to this as an audio book and loved every minute of it. It made me feel like every tree has a personality and that forests are families. Wohlleben combines the scientific and emotional perspectives in a beautiful way and literally made me cry a few times while listening. The poor street trees! The amazing way that trees alert other trees when there is a predator! It's just so majestic and offers a glimpse of a magical invisible world that is all around us, if we are patient enough to look.  If this inspires you, I'd suggest that you check out our member, ReForest London who plants trees in our city with the support of the community.

 

Nicole: Canadian Environmental History - Colin M. Coates, Ramsay Cooke, Ken Cruikshank, and Donald Worster 

Canadian Environmental History explores the relationship between the environment and pre/post colonial cultures. This book delves into the social, political, economic, and academic agendas that affected the decision making for environmental practices. If you are interested in the circumstances of how Canadian environmental plans and actions came into existence this is the book for you. If this interests you, check out our member Wild Child who want to learn and play within nature. 

 

Marianne: Sustainable Home Design - Chris Magwood 

A practical and inspiring guide and source of inspiration for folks looking to build their own home that is carbon sequestering, or for folks looking to add sustainability systems to their existing home, such as air source heat pumps or PV.  This is a must read for engineering, architecture and construction students that want to focus on green building, and they all should :)  Magwood's research is helping to shape the future of the building code and has brought building principles like straw bale, passive, and zero waste to the forefront right here in Ontario. If this piques your interest, check out our member London District Renewable Energy Co-op who have solar project running across London.


Documentaries

Leah, Sarah, Mackenzie: There's Something in the Water 

I learned about this documentary from a recent online screening event and ended up enjoying it so muchI recommended family and friends to watch it too. Not everyone is aware of the environmental racism that occurs so close to home for many Canadians, in particular Nova Scotia for this story. The documentary shines a spotlight on something that needs to be addressed if we are to see an improvement on water pollution across many Candian communities. If this inspires you, check out our member Roots Without Borders who want to cultivate environmental initiatives that foster cross-cultural solidarity, respect, respect and understanding.

 

Skylar: Dam Nation

Prior to watching this documentary I knew dams were bad for our ecosystems but I didn't fully understand the many impacts that they can have. While many dams are used to prevent flooding and offer hydroelectric energy, they come at a cost to our ecosystems, recreation and biodiversity. (Although all major energy sources have trade-offs, hydroelectricity at least is operationally fossil fuel-free.) This documentary makes you want to jump up and do something, and provided me with my favourite quote from Edward Abbey which is "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." If this inspires you, I'd suggest that you check out our member, Antler River Rally which helps keep our waterways clean.

 

Marianne: Kiss The Ground

I find this documentary hopeful.  It focuses on regenerative farming principles and explains how much carbon we can sequester in root systems and soil.  I like the reminder that the natural environment is capable and quite efficient at healing itself.  I love seeing the community education being successful with the farmers featured in the film.  If this inspires you, I'd suggest that you check out our local land use activists at ALUS Canada.