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Friday, February 26, 2010

My New Books

Those of you who know me will know that books are one of my biggest weaknesses. I spend far too much time and money reading and buying books. This is something I occasionally try to do something about.... unsuccessfully.

I got caught yesterday because the ANU has a new book stall at its weekly market. A new stall which, unfortunately for me, had a very interesting selection. So here is a list of the books I now own:

1. Habitat Garden: Attracting wildlife to your garden, by Peter Grant (ABC Books, 2003)
This book is full of tips on how to increase the biodiversity in your garden. This is a topic I am really interested. Not so much, as you might suspect, for my own garden (I don't have the fortune to own one) but because I think learning to live with other creatures in 'our space' is vitally important to building a sustainable future. You may have notice that here in Australia we don't build UP we build OUT. Just take a look at our urban sprawl. Not only does this mean houses are taking up valuable agricultural land, but they are also driving out our native species. In our manicured, often remarkably similar gardens, they rarely fit in. After all, if there is one thing I learnt in my biodiversity conservation in modified landscapes it's the importance of heterogeneity (variety). Our suburbs don't tend to have a lot of that, and neither do our gardens. Especially as many of us don't have the time for them. But while there are some species who will never be happy to live in modified landscapes, there are a surprising number who could live in our gardens with minimal extra effort on our part. Not to mention the education value of teaching us to share our space with animals - much like we should be sharing the planet with them. So I bought this book as a reference text to help campaign for a change in our ideas of what our gardens, our cities and our societies should be about.

2. Gliders of Australia: A Natural History, by David Lindenmayer (UNSW Press, 2002). I couldn't walk past this one. David works for the ANU and I've had him for a few lectures. He is a pretty great guy. He works on some really interesting science (including some incredibly valuable long-term, large-scale projects), but best of all, he makes an effort to communicate that science to others through books and educational materials - all of which he writes in his own time. Gliders are one of the groups he has done a lot of work with, plus they are sooooo cute!

3. William Wilberforce: The life of the great anti-slave trade campaigner, by William Hague (Harper Perennial, 2008). I already have a biography of William Wilberforce (he is the star of Amazing Grace, which I highly recommend), but I mean, the guy ended the slave trade and slavery in the British Empire, and he started the RSPCA. He is my hero. You can't ever read enough about your heroes.

4. Buyology: How Everything we believe about why we buy is wrong, by Martin Lindstorm (Random House, 2008). This book talks about why we buy what we buy. It's interesting from both a marketing point of view and because if we can understand why people buy what they do we can help them to break free from the trap of consumerism.

Happily, two of the books are printed on FSC certified paper, so my guilt is a little assuaged.

I'll keep you updated on anything interesting I learn during my reading.

As always, if you would like to borrow any of my books, just let me know on

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+