Archives For Green

 

A Brief Review of Light, Color, Sound:
Sensory Effects in Contemporary Architecture.

Hardback: Norton, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.

Light, Color, Sound: Sensory Effects in Contemporary Architecture, by Alejandro Bahamón and Ana Mária Alvarez, brings together recent architecture projects from around the world which feature intense artificial light on facades and glowing interiors, fluorescent colors on walls and windows, and structures built to generate or house sounds, and some projects which blur all of these distinctions together. As much as Bahamón’s last book Rematerial had an emphasis on the low-tech, Light, Color, Sound more often than not focuses on projects utilizing the latest in optic and lighting installation, and computer interfaces to control these surfaces. There are some striking examples of this – the Dexia Tower with its interactive touch screen on the street nearby – but I tend towards those projects that either stretch low-tech solutions a long way, or incorporate new energy technologies to achieve their high-tech ends.

Continue Reading…

 

Scot McKnight Picks his Favorite
Books of the Year


http://www.patheos.com/community/jesuscreed/2010/11/29/books-of-the-year-2010/

Here are the 2010 nominations for Books of the Year at the Jesus Creed blog. The awards are given early this year so folks can use this list for Christmas presents. My favorite Christmas present is a book, but I have to admit my family quit buying books for me for Christmas years ago. (So I sneak one under the shelf “To Scot from Scot.”)

I decided to choose one top Book of the Year, and had a number to choose from but this year’s book was very clear:

Read the full post:
http://www.patheos.com/community/jesuscreed/2010/11/29/books-of-the-year-2010/


The Best of the Year from
THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY

http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2010-12/cc-recommends

A special Christmas review of noteworthy books, movies and music.

Theology and spirituality, selected by David Heim and Richard A. Kauffman

History and current events, selected by David Heim and Richard A. Kauffman

Fiction, selected by Amy Frykholm and Janet Potter

Poetry, selected by Brett Foster

Read the full post:
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2010-12/cc-recommends


BOOKS AND CULTURE Reviews
David Owen’s GREEN METROPOLIS
[ One of our Best Books of 2009
]

http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2010/novdec/biggreenapple.html

In an age of unprecedented urban settlement, we think of cities as the epicenters of global environmental ruin. Yet in Green Metropolis, David Owen proposes that cities offer our best hope for making the world greener. For the first time in history, over 50 percent of the world’s population dwells in urban areas. If we want to make our increasingly urban world a greener one, we don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch. Indeed, to do so would mean ecologically disastrous waste. Treading more softly requires that we find ways to green the cities we already live in. Urgently needed is a model ecotopia, and Owen claims that our model should be … New York City.

Read the full review:
http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2010/novdec/biggreenapple.html

Read our review of this book:
http://englewoodreview.org/featured-green-metropolis-by-david-owen-vol-2-47/

Green Metropolis:
Why Living Smaller, Living Closer,
and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability
.
David Owen.
Hardback: Riverhead, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

 

“Liberating Parks…
And Bringing them Back to the People”

A review of
Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities.

By Alexander Garvin.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities.
By Alexander Garvin.

Hardback: Norton, 2010.

Buy now: [ Amazon ]

PUBLIC PARKS - Alexander GarvinAs one who has been experimenting for several years now with urban naturalism, I have a deep appreciation for greenspaces in which the abundant life of creation is not quite as enslaved to the best laid plans of humanity.  Thus, I was excited to hear about the release of Alexander Garvin’s book Public Parks: The Key To Livable Communities.  Starting with the definition of a park as “public open spaces that are available to all citizens free of charge,” Garvin proceeds to narrate the relatively brief history of parks (according to this definition), and to lay out a basic philosophy of parks that takes into consideration such factors as site selection, stewardship and finance.

Garvin’s account of parks is centered around the lives and work of two key figures: Fredrick Law Olmsted and Robert Moses.  Olmsted, not only was the co-designer of New York’s Central Park, but the firm he founded would eventually design and create roughly six thousand of the earliest North American parks, an undertaking that spanned the continent from coast to coast.  Although Robert Moses is most recognized as an urban planner who fought to modernize New York City and who inaugurated several key expressways across that city, he perhaps is equally significant for his quarter-century of work as New York City Parks Commissioner (1934-1960).  Olmsted and Moses were undoubtedly chosen not only for their noble stature in the history of North American parks development, but also because they both approached the task of park development as part of a larger strategy of urban planning, an approach to which Garvin is apparently sympathetic and also one that was perhaps the greatest detriment to his account of parks (as we will explore later in this review).  Before I dive too deeply into a critique of this work, allow me to emphasize that Public Parks is an elegant book, well-designed with many large, color photographs that breathe life into Garvin’s streamlined narration of the history, meaning and operation of parks.  Additionally, the book serves as a good introduction to the history of parks and to the basic ideas related to the development and maintenance of parks. Continue Reading…

 

“The Delight of Discovery

A Review of
Garden Guide: New York City.

By Nancy Berner and Susan Lowry
.

Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.


Garden Guide: New York City.
By Nancy Berner and Susan Lowry
.
Vinyl Flexicover : W.W. Norton, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

While the idea of a garden guide for New York City might seem unusual at first – this is, after all, the city that takes a beating for the size of the presumed ‘concrete jungle’ – the fact that just such a lengthy book exists is telling of an important aspect of urban places: namely, that gardens, parks, and green spaces are as integral to the fabric of healthy, diversified neighborhoods as anything; but also, as David Owen makes clear in Green Metropolis, the very density of NYC is one of the ‘greenest’ things it has going. New York’s gardens, scattered in-between buildings, along streets, on roofs, or in the occasional large park, become all the more valued because each plot of ground is precious, which is to say, each garden must do the most with the space given for it – none of this endless acreage of sprawling lawns and vacant lots such as are found in a city like Indianapolis, where I’m writing. Rather, creative uses are required for gardens in a city like New York, and so rooftops, the smallest vacant lots, and an old elevated train line all become valued green spaces alongside buildings, roadways, and the rest of city life.

A new revised edition of Nancy Berner and Susan Lowry’s Garden Guide: New York City documents over 80 gardens in New York’s five boroughs, and this number, it seems, is a relatively small selection, as the authors cite that there are over 400 community gardens alone in NYC. And within this guide, there is a full representation of many of these community gardens, along with city park-owned properties, private institutions with public green spaces, museums, churches, and municipal buildings, all with site-specific garden spaces in the midst of the city. Additionally, all of the gardens described in the book have visiting information, a ‘best season,’ and websites in most cases; through the bulk of the guide, these gardens are grouped geographically, but at the close, there are other classifications for gardens, such as ‘Best Vegetable Gardens,’ ‘Gardens With a View,’ or ‘Rooftop Gardens.’

Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of :
CLAIMING EARTH AS COMMON GROUND:
The Ecological Crisis Through The Eyes of Faith

A. Cohen-Kiener, ed.
Paperback: Skylight Paths, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed By Jordan Kellicut.

“We are full of life… and we are poisoning ourselves (8).”  This heartfelt plea is like a watermark on every page of Claiming Earth as Common Ground. Andrea Cohen-Kiener experienced an awakening that led her to pursue involvement in recycling plastics, and from that a greater realization that ecology was related to her spirituality.  The Earth, she says, is our ultimate common ground for disparate religion.  It provides not just the well-worn question, “Can religious people save the environment?”  But also a new question, “Can the environmental challenge save religion (2)?”  It is this question that drives her theological reflection (especially chapters 2-5).

Cohen-Kiener advocates a variety of specific practices, not the least of which is an appendix with an exhaustive list of “small steps” to reduce one’s ecological footprint (146-149).  One specific practice focused on gardening and seed conservation (chapter 6). This is imperative because homogenous seed genus is vulnerable to pests and climate changes (93).  The other main practice is the rediscovery of Sabbath.  Lessness is the object of Sabbath, where at least one day is given over to seeking to nourish the soul through slowing down and “greening a day” (chapter 8).  Cohen-Kiener argues that environmental abuse and the reactionary desire to “go green” is at its root a spiritual hunger (117).  Religion can help us “rename and reclaim the subtle spiritual hungers (119).”  As she says, “Environmentalism can save religion by giving us a living laboratory in which we can learn to live up to our religion’s aspirations (144).”

Continue Reading…

 

GREEN LIKE GOD - Jonathan MerrittWe are giving away five copies of Jonathan Merritt’s new book Green Like God.

How to enter to win:

  1. Announce the contest on Twitter, Facebook or your blog:
    The Englewood Review (@ERBks ) is giving away 5 copies of GREEN LIKE GOD by Jonathan Merritt.  Enter here: http://ow.ly/1y33e
  2. (IMPORTANT!) Post a comment to this announcement with your name and a link to your post for #1.   We will choose our winner from among those who have left comments.
  3. You may enter one time per day for the duration of the contest.
  4. We will pick a winner at random from the eligible contestants and notify them this weekend.

The contest will end at 4PM ET on Friday April 23rd.


Excerpt from

GREEN LIKE GOD:
Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet.
Jonathan Merritt
.
Hardback: FaithWords, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]


A South Jersey farmer visited New York City not too long ago and took a tour of the Big Apple with a friend.  They were standing in New York’s theatre district just off Broadway during the rush of the day.  Car engines were roaring, people were shouting, feet were shuffling, and horns were honking.  The wide-eyes farmer stopped and asked his buddy, “Do you hear that cricket?”

His companion wondered how the farmer possibly heard the song of such a miniscule insect.

The farmer remained still, likely squinting his eyes and straining his ears.  He slowly took steps up an alleyway, motioning for his friend to follow.  Finally, the farmer turned and looked down to see a tiny cricket hiding in the cracks of a brick building.

How did the farmer hear its faint music?  The farmer’s ears were sensitive to the cricket’s melodies, having heard them many nights back on the farm.  He was primed to listen to the sound.  In the same way we must open all our senses to God around us.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat:  they miraculously bring us life day in and day out.  We put seeds in the ground and somehow they grow into edible bounty—corn and what and rice.  In the most simplistic yet fascinating cycle, water condenses in clouds and rain falls to the ground.  It accumulates on mountaintops and flows down rivers into lakes.  This happens each and every year with no prodding from us whatsoever.  Without words, it is as if God is murmuring, “I am here and I will provide for you.”  The beauty of a sunset or the majesty of a snow-tipped mountain peak seems to echo, “I am here and I want to communicate with you.”   (72-72)

— ———

You can also read the book’s first chapter here:

 

A Brief Review of

Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice!
Rebekah Simon-Peter.
Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Angela Rogers.

“Is being earth-friendly just a secular movement or a political agenda, or does environmental stewardship have a place in our life with God?” This is the primary question addressed in Rebekah Simon-Peter’s book Green Church.

Simon-Peter is an ordained Methodist pastor and also has a degree in environmental studies. Her background as an acid-rain researcher and a volunteer naturalist mixed with her calling into ministry makes Green Church not your average “go green” self-help book. Drawing on scripture as well as scientific evidence, she encourages us to change the way we live and to change the way our churches operate, taking the focus from the individual Christian to the responsibility of the body of believers.

Green Church includes a myriad of ideas for green living but encourages the reader to take those ideas and implement them on a personal and communal scale. Do not just start recycling at home, encourage your church to start recycling or switching to energy-efficient light bulbs in your home and encouraging the church to do the same.

Continue Reading…

 

“Of Mules and Mission”

A Review of
Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture:
An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
.

by Ellen F. Davis.

Reviewed by Stan Wilson.

Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture:
An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
.

Ellen F. Davis.
Paperback: Cambridge UP, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Ellen Davis - Scripture, Culture and Agriculture

I am a Mississippi Baptist pastor who has begun to see the world differently because of the work of agrarians like Wendell Berry, Norman Wirzba, Barbara Kingsolver and Wes Jackson. Thanks to them our family has changed the way we eat and obtain food. A few years back we started to garden, and now we are enjoying fresh eggs from our own backyard hens. We are coming to see connections between the care of the land, our health and the wholeness of our community. When we say grace at each meal, our prayers now include people, animals and soil that we know.

So, when I was given a sabbatical this past summer, I chose to focus it on sustainable agriculture and the Church. In addition to working our garden, I traveled to a few small, organic farms and most memorably, graduated from “Mule School,” which is what I called my three days learning the basics of farming with horses and mules at Russell’s Workhorse Farm in Poplarville, MS.

After a summer of travel and study I can report that there is officially a movement. Everywhere you look CSAs are emerging, farmers’ markets are sprouting, community gardens are blossoming, and young people are flocking to summer internships on small, organic farms. I was not the only student at Mule School.

As a pastor, I am wondering what this movement means for the Church. Are there agricultural dimensions to the Church’s calling to serve and celebrate the kingdom of God? I wonder if this surprising movement of young people into farming could be a movement of the Spirit. Do these fields, white with harvest, have anything to do with the mission field?

For all these reasons and more, Ellen Davis’ extraordinary book Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible has been a timely and important study.

Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of

FARMfood: Greener Living
With Chef Daniel Orr
.

Flexibound: Indiana UP, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Daniel Orr is one of the most-heralded chefs in Indiana, and he is without a doubt the finest local food chef in the state.  Although he has traveled extensively and honed his culinary skills in New York City, France, Belgium and elsewhere, he eventually came home and opened the restaurant FARMbloomington in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University and perhaps the cultural mecca of Indiana.  I was excited to hear of the release of his new cookbook based on his experiences, most notably coming home again to Indiana.  He says: “FARMfood is all about… going ‘home’ and getting back in touch with locally produced foods while cooking with a global palette of flavors picked up along the way, and then sharing these culinary travels with my family, old friends, and new folks I meet every day at FARMbloomington” (x).
Illustrated with Orr’s own photography, FARMfood superbly captures the colors and textures of both the local produce that make his recipes excel and the local market venues where such produce is sold.  I imagine that many of the recipes here are beyond the everyday scope of most people’s cuisine (or many of them are beyond the limit of our family’s everyday budget at least!), but they are inspiring, especially in their focus on using local produce.  The recipes are organized in the book more or less by the order of meals in the day, and within the broad strokes of the meals are types of foods befitting that meal – e.g., soups, sandwiches, burgers and drinks(???) for lunch.  Orr’s commentary throughout is wonderful, bringing the recipes to life and raising FARMfood to a level above the typical cookbook.  Given that Autumn is now upon us, our family is turning again to a steady diet of soups.  Thus, I paid particular attention to Orr’s section on soups, and therein found a number of tantalizing recipes, and in particular the “Farmers’ Market Corn Chowder with Herbs” and the “Roasted Tomato Soup with Feta and Grilled Red Onions” seemed like recipes that might likely end up in our autumnal rotation of soups.
FARMfood will be of particular interest to mid-westerners (especially Hoosiers), but its colorful and stellar design couple with the excellence of cuisine that it offers make it a cookbook of the highest caliber that will be relevant to most North Americans.

FARMfood - Daniel Orr

Daniel Orr is one of the most-heralded chefs in Indiana, and he is without a doubt the finest local food chef in the state.  Although he has traveled extensively and honed his culinary skills in New York City, France, Belgium and elsewhere, he eventually came home and opened the restaurant FARMbloomington in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University and perhaps the cultural mecca of Indiana.  I was excited to hear of the release of his new cookbook based on his experiences, most notably coming home again to Indiana.  He says: “FARMfood is all about… going ‘home’ and getting back in touch with locally produced foods while cooking with a global palette of flavors picked up along the way, and then sharing these culinary travels with my family, old friends, and new folks I meet every day at FARMbloomington” (x).

Illustrated with Orr’s own photography, FARMfood superbly captures the colors and textures of both the local produce that make his recipes excel and the local market venues where such produce is sold.  I imagine that many of the recipes here are beyond the everyday scope of most people’s cuisine (or many of them are beyond the limit of our family’s everyday budget at least!), but they are inspiring, especially in their focus on using local produce.  The recipes are organized in the book more or less by the order of meals in the day, and within the broad strokes of the meals are types of foods befitting that meal – e.g., soups, sandwiches, burgers and drinks(???) for lunch.  Orr’s commentary throughout is wonderful, bringing the recipes to life and raising FARMfood to a level above the typical cookbook.  Given that Autumn is now upon us, our family is turning again to a steady diet of soups.  Thus, I paid particular attention to Orr’s section on soups, and therein found a number of tantalizing recipes, and in particular the “Farmers’ Market Corn Chowder with Herbs” and the “Roasted Tomato Soup with Feta and Grilled Red Onions” seemed like recipes that might likely end up in our autumnal rotation of soups.
FARMfood will be of particular interest to mid-westerners (especially Hoosiers), but its colorful and stellar design couple with the excellence of cuisine that it offers make it a cookbook of the highest caliber that will be relevant to most North Americans.

 

Ultra-brief Reviews
By Chris Smith

The Green Psalter: Resources for an Ecological Spirituality.
Arthur Walker-Jones.

Paperback: Fortress Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Small Footprint, Big Handprint:
How to Live Simply and Love Extravagantly
.
Tri Robinson.

Paperback: Ampelon Publishing, 2008.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com  ]

 The Green Psalter by Arthur Walker-Jones is a new book from Fortress Press that probes the Psalms for a deep wealth of “resources for an ecological spirituality.”  The Psalms have long served as the backbone of Judaic and Christian worship, thus it is quite fitting as we worship a God who is reconciling all creation to have our attention turned to the broader ecological themes that have been latent in the Psalms since they were originally conceived in the ancient Israelite people.  There are strong themes of peace, justice and liberation here; perhaps the most striking chapter was the final one on ecojustice in hymn psalms.  Of these psalms, Walker writes: “From an ecological perspective, these psalms are significant because they identify God with creation, and creation is alive, active, interrelated, and has an intrinsic worth and a voice” (134).  If you long to more holistic forms of worship in the church, then you will want to be sure to find a copy of this book and study it well!

Despite its hokey title, Tri Robinson’s little book Small Footprint, Big Handprint: How Live Simply and Love Extravagantly is an excellent book with which to initiate conversation about a more holistic faith in Christ – it even has discussion questions at the end of each chapter!  While the sections on lessening our footprint were very good, especially the ones on reducing the complexity of our lives, the one on the “big handprint” (i.e., “making a lasting positive impact”) seemed to be very individualistically focused and raised a whole bunch of tricky theological and ethical questions about service and impact.  This would be an excellent book for striking up a conversation among those who haven’t though too much about the significance of HOW we live as Christians, especially in a Sunday school class or bible study group.