by Evergreen Hericks, OVGC member and volunteer
“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.” ~James Russell Lowell
When I think of all that is right with the world – an important practice of feeding my hope – at the top of the list must be libraries. What better long-lived example of the love of wisdom mixed up with the radically practical notion that a whole community can share a store of resources, and with extremely little fuss? And so, eager to get on that particular bandwagon of sharing information, nurturing life-long learning and, by the way, using our material resources wisely, we proudly announce that the Coalition lending library is now up and running.
To borrow books or DVDs, or to browse, simply visit the Resource Center at 327 E. Ojai Avenue during open hours (Wednesday through Friday, 12 to 5 p.m.) where you will find a self-service checkout sheet on the side of the bookcase. We are also ready to welcome more small donations of books at the Resource Center. Donated books (or DVDs) should, in general, be related to environmental topics, be in very good condition, and should be recently published (with some exceptions, depending on subject matter). If you have a donation of more than fifty books, or would like to give funds specifically for wish-list items, or if you have questions please call the Resource Center at 805-669-8445 or call me at 805-205-4016 or email email@example.com.
Gratitude goes out to OVGC member Laurie Walters, who got us started on the path to being borrower-ready by donating many DVDs and cataloguing about 50 total, largely documentaries, on everything from plastics and other toxics in the environment to food and water issues, sacred aspects of life, and everything in between. Through the thoughtful donations of OVGC members and my own book-obsessed gleaning, this small collection now also contains about 150 books covering a wide range of topics that address environmental issues from just about every angle.
As I glance over the shelves I am proud of the wealth of information the Coalition can already offer the community through this modest collection. When I first deliberated with Director Deborah Pendrey about what materials were best for the library, she reminded me with her characteristic chuckle that the mission of the Coalition is "to advance a green, sustainable, and RESILIENT Ojai Valley." I knew then I had license to include resources that would touch on all the different aspects of what we need in order to respond effectively to the many challenges facing us. We have practical books, yes, and scientific studies and historical ones, and rigorous analyses of our current state of affairs; and we have a smattering of literature and art, too. You will find something for your head, your heart and your garden.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS:
• The Story of Stuff (2010) by Annie Leonard. A thorough look at the social and environmental consequences of consumerism. It is a book length version of the popular short film by the same name (see it at www.storyofstuff.com).
• Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (2010). Bill McKibben shows that we’re living on a fundamentally altered planet — and opens our eyes to the kind of change we’ll need in order to make our civilization endure. We have a number of other books on climate change as well.
• The Blue Economy (2010) by Pauli Gunter and The Green Collar Economy (2008) by Van Jones are recent examples of studies that look at solving the problems of economy and environment.
• All That We Share: How to Save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities and Everything Else that Belongs to All of Us (2010) by Jay Walljasper.
• City Chicks (2010) by Patricia Foreman will teach you how to keep micro-flocks of chickens and Harvest the Rain (2010) by Nate Downey will teach you to do just that – as well as numerous other books on homesteading and building.
• Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (2009) Nicloette Hanh Niman. We have numerous books on food related issues.
• The Diversity of Life (1992). E.O. Wilson’s amazing tome on biodiversity.
• Deep Ecology (1985) by Bill Devall and George Sessions.
• Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences) by Gregory Bateson (1979).
• Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind (1995) Theodore Roszack. This path-finding collection has become a seminal text for the ecopsychology movement, bringing key insights to environmentalism and revolutionizing modern psychology.
• Civil Disobedience (1998 edition) Henry David Thoreau.
If I could add one goal to the Coalition’s admirable list, and make a wish for the impact of this little book and DVD collection, it would be to support people in our community to fall more deeply in love with the natural world in some specific way – with a single oak tree in their backyard, the oriole who finds their hummingbird feeder, or with the flash of a broken mussel shell in the surf. Although these moments are not usually linked to books, they underlie my great enthusiasm for the many field guides also in this library as examples of resources that are perfect for firing up this kind of love affair – that which truly motivates us to act when all the statistics and obstacles threaten to overwhelm us with apathy. There’s really no telling – for you – what gem, what paragraph, what scene, will be the catalyst for your next bold move. You’re invited to come explore and see.