Book Corner


A “courageous and revelatory memoir” (Naomi Klein) chronicling the life of the leading Indigenous climate change, cultural, and human rights advocate

The Right to Be Cold, (2015) written by Sheila Watt-Cloutier with a forward by Bill McKibben is described by the sub-title "One WEoman's Fight to Protect the Arctic from Climate Change", but it is more than that. 

It is a memoir of her growing up in the traditional, sustainable way of life of an Inuit.  She was taught the 4 values essential to their culture and life:

1.  Knowledge and respect of land and sea

2.  Responsibility of the people to the land and all its in habitants

3.  Generosity and hospitality to the extended family (as in a hunt)

4.  Individual autonomy and strength in choices

Now, the changes induced by climate change, resource extraction, and the related social and health problems such as cancer and birth defects, are threatening the very existence of the Inuit. Oil and gas drilling have a history of failure, and no connection to their culture. Proof of this is seen in the schools where oil companies are brainwashing youth by pushing the curriculum to train for vocational work. On top of all this, greenhouse gases produced outside the Arctic (mostly in the US and China) are affecting their land and waters.

All that is happening there is a barometer for what is happening to the planet. It is also a violation of the human rights of the Inuit and other Indigenous peoples. The author not only makes this connection, she has spent her life working to convince others such as the ICC-Canada and UN groups, and integrating the traditional wisdom of living sustainably where everything is connected.

This is the right story for a holistic view, and a lesson for our times.

Review by Ann Rogers, Posted November, 2018.


The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World.

As Elizabeth Kolbert says, this book  is “deeply persuasive and deeply unsettling”

It is Jeff Goodell’s latest attempt to convince the few remaining climate change skeptics by traveling the world, speaking  to eye-witnesses on the front lines of change and the scientists who have been studying this for decades. One of those scientists, Jason Box, has gone to Greenland every year to study the changes, and has been interviewed by Peter Sinclair. (Remember him from our own forums on green renewable energy?)

Goodell tackles everything from the impact of fossil fuels, to climate apartheid, salinization of soils and drinking water, and the inundation of modern coastal cities and military sites.

Rising seas are re-shaping our world and will change our way of life forever. Old-fashioned engineering will only be temporary and the billions needed will be wasted.

There is no permanent solution other than working within nature’s rules.

Will we heed the warnings and change our thinking?  That remains to be seen.





Highly recommended this month is a book that was written by Dan Egan: “ The Death and Life of the Great Lakes”, just published in 2017. This is a good companion reader and update on Jeff Alexander’s book, “Pandora’s Locks” which was published in 2009.

The author describes the ecological unraveling of 20% of the world’s fresh waters from the building of the earliest canals up to the present, including, mistakes by the EPA and the effects of Climate Change.

He also describes how the remedies for each malady or intrusion turned out to have consequences no one anticipated. Check out the latest on quagga and zebra mussels, the 3 varieties of Asian Carp, and the effects of toxic algae.
Both authors talk about the unplanned ecological experiments with the goal of growth at any cost. Ben Franklin in 1746 warned, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

Looking for solutions from the natural world are critically important for the healing and health of the lakes. The authors offer a hopeful solution. Will we heed them?

Purchase at Horizon Books

A footnote: Dan Egan will be in Elk Rapids for Green Elk Rapids Days this coming summer.

Watch for the date and details.

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