Review: Green Media

New music, film, and reading for the ecophile

By Tobin Hack

Photo by Anthony Verde, Styling by Camilla Slattery

Children are open-minded, sponges for information, and bursting with optimism and enthusiasm. Who better to get excited about fighting for the future of the planet? And what better way than with books? More an activity book than a bedtime story, Round Like a Ball (Blue Apple Books, $15.95, ages 4 to 8) is a guessing game–cutaway book that illustrates Earth’s precious and fragile nature. The stunningly photographed Elephants (Thames & Hudson, $19.95, ages 4 to 10) challenges burgeoning biologists with amazing trivia about the huge mammals. Pale Male (Knopf, $16.99, ages 6 to 12), a good choice for artistic types, tells the true story of a red-tailed hawk that built its home atop a New York apartment building in 1995, capturing the dreamlike quality that wild animals acquire in an urban setting. And MySpace cofounder Tom Anderson’s My Space/Our Planet: Change is Possible (HarperTeen, $12.99) is a hip handbook that blends green teens’ MySpace comments with eco tips from experts, embracing the seemingly paradoxical idea of a virtual green scene. For young film buffs, Disney’s Pixar-animated Wall•E (in theaters June 27) follows a lone robot in charge of Earth’s final clean-up.

Cloud Cult: Feel Good Ghosts
(Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)
Earthology Records, CD, $12
From its ethereal hybrid of indie-rock, electronica, and classical sounds to the “action paintings” that lead singer Craig Minowa’s wife, Connie, creates during concerts, Cloud Cult defies categorization. What’s certain is that since day one—Ghosts is Cloud Cult’s sixth album—the band’s ethos has been green. Cloud Cult records on a geothermal-powered organic farm in northern Minnesota, produces 100 percent post-consumer recycled products, and offsets its tours. Its label (a not-for-profit founded by Minowa in 1998) provides eco consulting to other bands and giants like Universal Records. Eco-indie aficionados rejoice.
Why I Came West
By Rick Bass
Houghton Mifflin, $24

Rick Bass made Montana’s Yaak Valley his home because it made him feel small, because it was full of stories, and because he felt compelled to protect it. West is part memoir and part petition on behalf of one of America’s great and fragile wild territories, now threatened by loggers and pressure to build roads that scar the land. Bass’ humorous, self-effacing, wise, and meandering musings on place, self, and nature will hit home—no matter where yours is.

The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment
By Paul R Ehrlich and Anne H Ehrlich
Island Press, $35

The latest book from Stanford professor, MacArthur-genius-award winner, and author of controversial bestseller The Population Bomb Paul Erlich tells the story of how mankind came to dominate nearly every inch of the earth. Coauthored with his wife, scientist Anne Ehrlich, Animal spans the entire history of the world, weaving both cultural and biological evolution into the ambitious narrative. At its core are timely questions we would all do well to consider: Is it in our best interest to dominate Earth? Are we creating a future we want to live in?

The End of Food
By Paul Roberts
Houghton Mifflin, $26

With The End of Food, Roberts delves into the economics, politics, and psychology behind the many food crises—hunger, obesity and its ramifications, abominable safety supervision of mass-produced food—that today foretell a dramatic exit from “the age of superabundance.” Roberts, author of The End of Oil, refrains from dumbing down his complex material; instead, he offers an unabridged explanation of how we got here and what consumers can still do to help pull our global food economy out of the ditch.

The Plot to Save the Planet: How Visionary Entrepreneurs, and Corporate Titans Are Creating Real Solutions to Global Warming
By Brian Dumaine
Crown Business, $25.95

What if there’s more money in solar power and clean tech than there ever was in Microsoft, Dell, or even Google? Peak oil and global warming are forcing us to overhaul our world’s infrastructure, but you won’t hear Fortune Small Business editorial director Brian Dumaine moaning about it. America, he argues, is positioned to pioneer the new green frontier and save the world—reviving the economy, creating jobs, and making boatloads of profits in the process. Through engaging anecdotes from forward-thinking businesspeople in energy, furniture design, transportation, and more, Dumaine shows that from here on out, it will pay to think green.

Flow: For Love of Water
A documentary film directed by Irena Salina

Opens in New York and LA in July and August,
Flow’s premise is simple but terrifying: The world is running out of clean drinking water. A handful of big water corporations are in cahoots with the World Bank, privatizing water supplies in municipalities throughout America and other nations. Not surprisingly, water privatization and pollution are hitting the poor hardest, but no country or community is exempt from the ramifications. Following water activists like Maude Barlow, viewers watch blood, trash, and sewage pouring into a Bolivian river, but we also meet the innovators and aid workers who are bringing hope to a thirsty world. It’s difficult to imagine a person who could watch this chilling but ultimately uplifting film and remain unchanged—what An Inconvenient Truth did to elevate the issue of climate change, Flow could do for the water crisis.

Issue 25

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