Good afternoon everyone! I haven’t posted much because I’ve been so into working and reading this last month, but many more articles/posts are coming soon. As I put them together, I’m working on educating myself more on a variety of facets of sustainable living (i.e. understanding sustainable food production, pesticide contamination, vegan foods that still cause harm, and many others).
I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’m reading right now 🙂 I’d love to hear what you are reading as well, and also if you have read any of these books that I list below.
1. The Story of Stuff
Written by Annie Leonard, this book is so comprehensive of the process of production and waste of goods and materials. Nearly every page had me shaken to the core as I dove further into understanding the devastation that the massive production of goods causes.
Annie goes into extraction processes, manufacturing impacts on people and the planet, distribution of goods, and waste. Many of these things were in my realm of knowledge as I have read several other books on these various aspects (books such as Confessions of an Eco-Sinner, and Cheap: The High Cost of America’s Discount Culture), but Annie gave many more aspects to consider that much of the Zero-Waste community tends to ignore.
I’ve totally devoured this book and I highly recommend you read it as well! I bought mine in “Acceptable” condition from Thriftbooks.com. Don’t support Amazon via digital books if you don’t have to- they are the new Walmart.
2. The World According to Monsato
I’ve barely begun this one, but am very excited to read it. Written by journalist Marie-Monique Robin, this book is going to explain the origins of one of the worst companies in the world- Monsato. I have a feeling that the further I get into this book, the less I’ll be okay with the occasional conventionally-grown produce.
As usual, I bought this book from Thriftbooks in the worst condition that they had- I always try to buy the less desirable copies so they don’t end up in a landfill if someone isn’t willing to buy them.
3. Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine
This magazine caught my eye because of one of the articles listed on the front cover: “Capitalism and Mental Health” by David Matthews. This might seem unrelated to sustainability, but as I’ve been learning more about economics I’ve seen that our mental health is directly tied to our ability to let go of consumerism and embrace a simpler and more minimalist way of living.
To quote Simon Nelson Patton, chair of the Wharton School of Business:
“The typical capitalists are lovers of power rather than sensual indulgence, but they have the same tendency to crush and to take tribute that the cruder types of sensualism possess. The discipline of the capitalist is the same as that of the frugalist. He differs from the latter in that he has no regard for the objects through which productive power is acquired. He does not hesitate to exploit natural resources, lands, dumb animals, and even his fellowman. Capitol to such a man is an abstract fund,made up of perishable elements which are constantly replaced. The frugalist…stands in marked contrast to the attitude of the capitalist. The frugalist takes a vital interest in his tools, in his land, and in the goods he produces. He has a definite attachment to each. He dislikes to see and old coat wear out, an old wagon break down, or an old horse go lame…He desires not land, but a given farm…not shelter, but a home…”
I keep that quote constantly bookmarked in the books Cheap by Ellen Ruppel Shell. That quote is from 1899; from the early days of the Industrial Revolution. It gives me a clearer explanation of the problems facing the society that I live in. It isn’t just “consumerism”, it is a capital-driven economy that deforms our mental perception of life and assigns us value based on our role as consumers. This system makes us forget, or perhaps never realize to begin with, that life is about enriching experiences unrelated to the economy.
Patton mentions the term “frugalist”, referring to someone who stewards and maintains everything he has. That, to me, is a description of the OG Zero-Waster haha 😀
And so, that is why I’m reading about the dangers of capitalism.
4. Mrs. Jeffries Learns the Trade
Okay so this book is definitely not about sustainability XD But, I love a good murder mystery set in the 1800s. This series by Emily Brightwell can be found at my local used bookstores, so I’ve been reading all that I can of it.
5. Just Food
This one was listed in “suggested reading” for me on Thriftbooks, so we will see if it pans out. I’m one chapter in, and so far, the author has mostly talked about misconceptions regarding food miles.
6. The Bible
I’m always reading the Bible, so I figured that I might as well list it as well. 🙂