ReboundWHETHER YOU CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS OR NOT, here are some gift ideas that we think capture the spirit of green without going overboard—in other words, you won’t find a carbon-offset certificate “elegantly” carved into a lump of coal or a solar-powered recycled-materials rabbit hutch/chicken coop “peaceful coexistence” backyard combo shelter (although wouldn’t that be something to set up with a web cam, see in harmonious action and learn from?!—UN, Hopenhageners and world leaders, please take note!).

WILSON REBOUND BASKETBALL “Think globally. Hoop locally.” Hoop it up with Wilson’s first green product, made from 40 percent recycled rubber. The packaging is 80 percent pre- and post-consumer board. A great way to get active and green simultaneously! Read More »

cover_bringing_it1“I LIVE IN A PART OF THE COUNTRY that at one time a good farmer could take some pleasure in looking at,” Wendell Berry intones in the opening essay of his new collection, Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009); a little farther down the page he continues, “Now the country is not well farmed, and driving through it has become a depressing experience.” This somber tone-setting essay, “Nature as Measure,” was written 20 years ago. Poet-essayist-novelist Berry—now in his mid-70s and who has farmed a hillside in his native Henry County, Kentucky, for more than 40 years—has had plenty to rail against when it comes to Big Ag, the politics of indifference and our alienating post-industrial age; but he also has had plenty to celebrate in clear-eyed observations of humankind interacting with nature, the value of true hard work (diametrically opposed to the digitally and plutocratically enabled “work” of accumulating phantom wealth) and the rewarding simplicity of sharing, of family, of community.

An out-of-touch cranky neo-luddite screeching for a return to prelapsarian times? Hardly. Berry’s vision is that of a hardy-yet-hoary realist, tinged by both optimism and pessimism (ah, the foibles of humanity!), attempting to show us a path out of our befoulment, a steaming, festering swamp we teeter face-first ever closer toward. And Berry’s prose? Gracefully worn and weathered to a burnished beauty, like a glacier-cast erratic, transfigurative in its straightforward simplicity. Read More »

Blog Action DaySPECIAL POST ALERT: In accordance with Blog Action Day, I’m posting a free-verse poem, “1,000,” focusing on climate change (be sure to read Mark Hertsgaard’s triple-espresso-blast wake-up call on the subject, which features some startling numbers of its own!). I’ll be back tomorrow with the regularly scheduled Green Dynamind post; this time a review of Wendell Berry’s superb new collection of essays, Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food.

Copenhagen’s coming up—let’s make some noise for real climate change now! (You can also read my take on the recent UN and G-20 talks that dealt with climate change.)

Addendum: Blog Action Day has posted a recap. Read More »

OGO LogoHQ‘To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.’ —Wendell Berry

WE’RE AT THE OUTER EDGE OF SUMMER, TEETERING TOWARD FALL, the autumnal equinox mere days away, and celebrating, here in Oregon, another Organically Grown in Oregon Week, now in its twenty-first year. With 425 certified organic farms and organic production covering more than 115,000 acres, Oregon has been a longtime leader in the organic agriculture charge toward sustainability and “good food for all.” And now with an organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House (raising a big the-day-has-finally-come HURRAH! from Alice Waters; not so much from Monsanto) and everywhere you turn talk of simple, slow, local, organic and boy, do we ever need to change our nation’s eating habits, let’s hope this movement can gain serious momentum, and requisite backing, to make a real difference in the way food is grown, harvested, sustained and eaten.

As Michael Pollan writes in the introduction to a new collection of essays by Wendell Berry, Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009), “Certainly these are heady days for people who have been working to reform the way Americans grow food and feed themselves—the ‘food movement’ as it is now often called. Markets for alternative kinds of food—local and organic and pastured—are thriving, farmers’ markets are popping up like mushrooms, and for the first time in more than a century the number of farmers tallied in the Department of Agriculture’s census has gone up rather than down.” Read More »