Books to Read on How and Why We Care for Creation

For the dark, cold days of winter, I would like to share a list of books to learn more about our present climate emergency which offer solutions that we can consider.

A wonderful devotional book is Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley’s “BECOMING ROOTED – 100 days of reconnecting with Sacred Earth.”  Woodley, of Cherokee descent, offers 100 two page reflections and suggested actions on ways we can care for the earth from the perspective of Native Americans, who have always had a philosophy of caring for and honoring “Mother Earth” through “the Harmony Way”, by accepting our place as “simple human beings – beings who share a world with every seen and unseen creature in its vast community of creation.”

One of the most acclaimed climate scientists in the world, Katharine Hayhoe, wrote the book: “SAVING US – a Climate Scientist’s case for Hope and Healing in a divided world.” 2021  Hayhoe argues that one of the most productive things we can do to care about a changing climate is to talk with others about our concerns and possible solutions.  Facts are only part of the equation.  This book is a multilayered look at science and psychology from her perspective as a person of faith.  (I will be leading a Lenten Study on this book at St. James’ Church, Skaneateles on the 5 Sundays in Lent starting on February 26 at 12 – 1:15.  Contact, if interested in joining us.)

Another great study book is Jim Antal’s “CLIMATE CHURCH, CLIMATE WORLD – How people of faith must work for change” 2018.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “this book will inspire the courage and conviction people of faith need to provide the leadership necessary to realize God’s dream of a just world in which humanity is reconciled to all of creation.” 

30 years ago James Hansen was warning of climate change and is considered “the planet’s great hero” by Bill McKibben for courageously predicting how the climate is changing and suggesting ways to address it with intelligent action in “STORMS OF MY CHILDREN: – The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” 2009.

Another global warning book “THE SIXTH EXTINCTION – an Unnatural History” 2014 by Elizabeth Kolbert documents the mounting losses that human beings are leaving in their wake from a profligate use of natural resources.

A National Bestseller – “ALL WE CAN SAVE – Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” 2021 compiled by Ayana Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson is a wonderful compendium of provocative and illuminating writings from women (teenagers to grandmothers) at the forefront of the climate movement who are “harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.”

Award winning Canadian author, Chris Turner, has written 2 fascinating books of hope on what many forward thinking individuals, corporations, and governments are doing to address our climate issues:  “THE GEOGRAPHY OF HOPE – a Tour of the World we Need”, 2007, and “HOW TO BE A CLIMATE OPTIMIST – Blueprints for a Better World” 2022.

3 more books from the Christian perspective of stewardship of God’s creation are:

“CARE FOR CREATION – a Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth” 1999 by Ilia Delio, O.S.F., chair of Spirituality studies at the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.;  Keith Warner, O.F.M., lecturer on sustainable agriculture and environmental policy at Santa Clara University, California;  and Pamela Wood, art therapist and spiritual director in Portland, Oregon.

“SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE – a Christian Ethic of Gratitude” 2005 by Mark E. Graham decries the unsustainable practices of the industrial farm production in the United States – “As American industrial agriculture continues its death march, it is leaving a wake of destruction in its path in the form of ghost towns that were once thriving, topsoil erosion, chemical pollution of the countryside, genetic homogeneity of our major cash crops, poverty in rural areas, and disenfranchised and powerless farmers.”  Graham explains those unfortunate realities and then offers an “ethics of everyday life”, where sustainable farming practices and supportive government legislation are suggested to enhance our health and environment.

“A CHRISTIAN’S GUIDE TO PLANET EARTH – Why it Matters and How to Care for it” 2022 by Betsy Painter describes many of the global warming issues prevalent today. At the end of every chapter she shares many practical solutions and resources in which we can engage.

For people involved in creating liturgies or experiences to celebrate God’s creation:

“CHERISH THE EARTH – Reflections on a Living Planet” 2005 by Mary Low is a collection of readings, poems, and liturgies that take the reader on a journey to ecological awareness, by “loving nature for its own sake.”

“GOD’S GOOD EARTH – Prayer and Praise for Creation” 2019 by Anne and Jeffrey Rowthorn is collection of 52 liturgies for corporate worship or use in a small group or as a devotional.

Finally, if you simply like a good read and want to capture the ethos of creation care, try “BRAIDING SWEETGRASS – Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” 2013 by Native American botanist and author Robin Wall Kimmerer, who captures the true reverence between Native Americans and the earth, the relationship we need to survive.