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Conservation Links & Books

There are a number of conservation organizations that are active in Western Mass. Please check out the links to these great organizations, some of which are listed below:

AMC Conservation
Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Berkshire Natural Resources Council
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
Housatonic Valley Association
Kestrel Land Trust
Mass Audubon
Mass Nature Conservancy
Springfield Naturalist's Club
New England Wildflower Sociaety
Trustees of Reservations
Westfield River Watershed Association
Westfield River Watershed
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project

There are also a number of conservation-related and environmental books to check out:

Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds--Be Part of the Global Warming Solution! by David Gershon

Review excerpted from the Christian Science monitor: Mr. Gershon created a step-by-step program, à la Weight Watchers, designed to reduce a person's carbon footprint. Replete with checklists and illustrations, the user-friendly guide is a serious attempt at changing American energy-consumption behavior. Although representing 4.5 percent of the world's population, the United States contributes an estimated 25 percent of its greenhouse gases. The book guides participants through a month-long process of behavioral change. Each participant calculates his or her footprint - the average US household emits 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, the book says - and then browses a list of emissions-lowering actions. But the key to the program's success, say those who've participated, is in forming a support group. People have good intentions, says Gershon, but alone, they often lack the will to follow through. Like Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous, the formation of a group encourages follow-through by socially reinforcing the new, desired behavior.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (revised edition) by Richard Louv

Review excerpted from Scientific American: According to newspaper columnist and child advocate Richard Louv, boys and girls now live a 'denatured childhood.' He cites multiple causes for why children spend less time outdoors and why they have less access to nature: our growing addiction to electronic media, the relinquishment of green spaces to development, parents' exaggerated fears of natural and human predators, and the threat of lawsuits and vandalism that has prompted community officials to forbid access to their land. Drawing on personal experience and the perspectives of urban planners, educators, naturalists and psychologists, Louv links children's alienation from nature to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, stress, depression and anxiety disorders, not to mention childhood obesity. According to Louv, the replacement of open meadows, woods and wetlands by manicured lawns, golf courses and housing developments has led children away from the natural world. What little time they spend outside is on designer playgrounds or fenced yards and is structured, safe and isolating. Such antiseptic spaces provide little opportunity for exploration, imagination or peaceful contemplation.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Review from School Library Journal: This book chronicles the year that Barbara Kingsolver, along with her husband and two daughters, made a commitment to become locavores–those who eat only locally grown foods. This first entailed a move away from their home in non-food-producing Tuscon to a family farm in Virginia, where they got right down to the business of growing and raising their own food and supporting local farmers. For teens who grew up on supermarket offerings, the notion not only of growing one's own produce but also of harvesting one's own poultry was as foreign as the concept that different foods relate to different seasons. While the volume begins as an environmental treatise–the oil consumption related to transporting foodstuffs around the world is enormous–it ends, as the year ends, in a celebration of the food that physically nourishes even as the recipes and the memories of cooks and gardeners past nourish our hearts and souls. Although the book maintains that eating well is not a class issue, discussions of heirloom breeds and making cheese at home may strike some as high-flown; however, those looking for healthful alternatives to processed foods will find inspiration to seek out farmers' markets and to learn to cook and enjoy seasonal foods.

50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth: Completely New and Updated for the 21st Century by The Earth Works Group (also available: 50 Simple Things Your Business Can Do to Save the Earth and 50 Simple Things Your Kids Can Do to Save the Earth)

Publisher comments from Powell's Books: The revolutionary 1990 bestseller, is back in a completely revised, updated edition... and it's just as innovative and groundbreaking as the original. The authors have teamed up with 50 of America's top environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, and Rainforest Action Network. Each group has chosen one issue and provided a simple, step-by-step program that will empower you and your family to become citizen activists in the fight to save the Earth.


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