Reviews: Green Media

New reading and film for the ecophile

By Tobin Hack

Photo by Oliver Hodge

The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age
By John Michael Greer
New Society Publishers, $18.95

A look at the coming “deindustrialization” period, Long Descent brings little to the conversation about peak-oil survival technologies, but it offers an intriguing discussion of spirituality. Society must ask what values and goals will lead us through peak oil and beyond; these questions, Greer posits, will lead us away from our almost religious faith in technological progress and toward a more nature-based set of spiritual beliefs. Long Descent is a provoking read for those interested in religion and spirituality, so long as they can stomach the occasional rant (Palm Pilots and iPods are usurping our health and happiness) and a few melodramatic comments about the US sliding “down the long slope into history’s dumpster.” —TH

The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know is Wrong
By John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
Harmony Books, $19.95

From the authors of the bestselling Book of General Ignorance comes this gleeful, quirky compilation of little-known animal facts. Coauthors Lloyd and Mitchinson offer up an A-to-Z guide full of entries on more than 100 animals, from common beasts like the monkey and dog to the more exotic capercaillie (a grouse) and pangolin (a type of anteater). A sampling of the book’s titillating tidbits: Spiders don’t eat but dissolve and drink their prey.Dogs can detect lung and breast cancer just by smelling a patient’s breath; and although a silverback gorilla weighs in at about 350 pounds, his penis is only an inch-and-a-half long. Think of the countless (shocking) conversation starters you’ll take away. —Sarah Parsons

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America
By Roger Tory Peterson
Houghton Mifflin, $26

Arguably the father of birding, Roger Tory Peterson is celebrated this August, on what would have been his 100th birthday, with an updated version of the renowned Peterson Field Guide. The new guide combines North American birds from the East and West with updated painted plates and range maps, and includes species not previously found in North America. The guide’s companion website offers descriptions, photos, video podcasting, and bird calls for select species. —Victoria Schlesinger

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Issue 25

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