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  • Pesticide-Free Cambridge

Pesticide-Free Cambridge: Books We Love

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Here we are collating the books that we have been featuring on our Facebook page under our Books We Love (in no particular order) Series.

Book #4 (28 July 2021)

Max Liboiron, 2021, Pollution is Colonialism. Duke University Press.

"Max Liboiron presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as practices that can align with or against colonialism. They point out that even when researchers are working toward benevolent goals, environmental science and activism are often premised on a colonial worldview and access to land. Focusing on

plastic pollution, the book models an anticolonial scientific practice aligned with Indigenous, particularly Métis, concepts of land, ethics, and relations. Liboiron draws on their work in the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR)—an anticolonial science laboratory in Newfoundland, Canada—to illuminate how pollution is not a symptom of capitalism but a violent enactment of colonial land relations that claim access to Indigenous land. Liboiron's creative, lively, and passionate text refuses theories of pollution that make Indigenous land available for settler and colonial goals. In this way, their methodology demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible but is currently being practiced in ways that enact more ethical modes of being in the world".

Book #3 (11 July 2021)

Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream (Da Capo Press, 2010 rev. ed.)

"When Sandra Steingraber was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of twenty, she asked, Why me? As a biology major, she felt compelled to search for an answer to this question in the medical libraries. This led to an early interest in the connection between her environment and her health. Years later, with the help of a post-doctoral fellowship from Harvard University, Sandra began a four-year investigation into the links between synthetic chemicals and human cancer. She went back to her hometown of Pekin, Illinois to conduct a search for her ecological roots. This work became her acclaimed book, Living Downstream.

Published in 1997, Living Downstream was the first book to bring together toxics-release data—finally made available under right-to-know-laws—and newly released cancer registry data. Sandra is also the first to trace with such compelling precision the entire web of connections between our bodies and the ecological world in which we eat, drink, breathe, and work.

Since its original publication, the scientific evidence has been growing, and so, to coincide with the documentary adaptation, Da Capo Press released the second edition of the book in April 2010. It has been significantly rewritten to present all the newly emerging science on the link between synthetic chemicals and human cancer. Just as the first edition inspired the film, the film inspired Sandra’s writing of this new second edition. Readers and viewers will enjoy the creative connections between these works".

Book #2 (9 July 2021)

Paul Robbins, Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are (Temple University Press 2007)

Now a classic... on the environmental attitudes and chemicals that sustain the sterile lawn culture!

"Lawn People places the lawn in its ecological, economic, and social context. Robbins considers the attention we pay our turfgrass-the chemicals we use to grow lawns, the hazards of turf care to our urban ecology, and its potential impact on water quality and household health. He also shows how the ecology of cities creates certain kinds of citizens, deftly contrasting man's control of the lawn with the lawn's control of man.Lawn People provides an intriguing examination of nature's influence on landscape management and on the ecosystem".

Book #1 (8 July 2021)

Richard Orlando, Weeds in the Urban Landscape: Where They Come from, Why They're Here, and How to Live With Them (North Atlantic Books, 2018)

"Richard Orlando provides the only book to discuss weeds commonly found in urban environments, offering detailed descriptions of 189 common weeds, explaining their families and characteristics, and suggesting strategies for managing their presence in the garden and field. A field guide for the urban explorer, gardener, or armchair enthusiast, this engagingly written book traces the history of weeds as they migrated out of the Middle East with human tribes, examines how they spread across Europe and the Americas, details the folklore surrounding them, and explains their role in the evolution of agriculture and human civilizations, and their many uses for medicine, food, animal fodder, and soil enhancement. Though Orlando focuses on weeds that grow in the San Francisco Bay area, many of the featured plants are found across the U.S. Abundant illustrations enhance the text and facilitate plant identification. An annotated bibliography and index of botanical names, in addition to a detailed explanation of Integrated Pest Management, make this an essential reference for anyone with an interest in the world outside our doors"

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