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Book Reviews

The following are links to book reviews written for green@work magazine by Rich Walthers of PRAIRIE FISH:


Language Dictates Culture

I have always had a love of learning and tried to read as much as I could. Many years ago I resolved to read 2 books per month for the entire year, which was a big deal because I read relatively slowly. I didn't make my goal but I did manage to finish 16 books cover-to-cover, albeit resorting to some smaller tomes as the year drew to a close. Now I look at, scan, partially read, completely read, and otherwise leaf through dozens and dozens of books each year, my intent is to find authors who are exploring environment-related topics that can help us understand not only what is going on at present, but also make us think in new directions for the future.

The links to book reviews I have written for several magazines are listed here. Each is important because each one represents a different piece of the vast puzzle of sustainability. Achieving sustainability is nothing short of accomplishing a complete overhaul of our present society. As a society we have to change our thinking, we have to change our culture. It will be painful, and it will take a long time because the entrenched vested interests are not about to go quietly. But first we have to agree that we are willing to try to save ourselves from ourselves.

The next step, before we can make any serious inroads towards alleviating our environmental problems, is to change our language. This is another monumental task, asking everyone to change their language, but we begin by reading and by learning the words of a new language. As we assimilate these new ideas into our everyday lexicon, we begin to feel comfortable with the concepts and we become comfortable/relaxed speaking the words. It will be easier for some, the young, the willing and the enlightened, and perhaps more difficult for others, the vested interests of the status quo, those with the present political power and those afraid of change for whatever reason. But with time and neglect the old words and the old ways will begin to fade and soon it will seem unthinkable to do things the way they used to be done.

To achieve sustainability, all of us will have to act in concert working on a multitude of problems simultaneously. At first it will sound like an orchestra tuning up before the big concert. And without a conductor, every musician will begin playing his or her own piece of music, but as time goes on connections will be made, rhythms will be established and entrained, harmonies will emerge and a greater piece of music will coalesce from the dissonance.

So begin tuning up by reading some of these books and begin to reshape the future instead of repeating the past.

Richard Walthers