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Earth Day reading list: Extensions of environmentalism

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Happy Earth Day!

It's the final day of Earth Week, and after all the discussions and coverage, I think we've learned that Earth Week extends beyond the direct eco-friendly and environmental concerns associated with it to all issues that impact our communities. We've learned about and voiced our opinions about the interconnection of caring for the environment and caring for the people within that environment too!

rabble.ca's community has continued to comment on the issues that affect them and that they care about, so we have compiled a quick hits reading list about some of those issues. Please feel free to add your favourite reading material in the comments section below or on the babble book lounge's Earth Week thread.

Everything Under the Sun: Toward a Brighter Future on a Small Blue Planet – David Suzuki and Ian Hanington

It's fair to say an Earth Day reading list could not be complete without a contribution from David Suzuki. His research and writing has influenced and impacted many people, and he is definitely an authority on environmental issues and impacts, and with his new book Everything Under the Sun: Toward a Brighter Future on a Small Blue Planet, he builds upon that reputation. Everything Under the Sun gives a well-rounded glimpse of the interconnection between environmental issues and challenges in the world and how they affect people and how people, in turn, affect the world. Suzuki also tackles the large issues of climate change and what he thinks are the solutions and who is standing in the way of those progressive changes. Everything Under the Sun is a great read for those seeking more specific scientific information about the myriad of environmental issues and also positive actions that are occurring today to rectify the damages brought on by climate change.

Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth – Gary Bridge, Tim Butler and Loretta Lees

Gentrification is a huge issue plaguing communities around the world, and Canada is definitely no exception. Gentrification is a problem because it displaces marginalized and low-income residents from their homes and does nothing to support the needs of that community. This has been a particularly heated issue in Vancouver where condo developers are taking over buildings and land that could be utilized for social housing and claiming it as part of the urban planning strategy of "mixed communities." But, what does 'mixed communities' even mean and does it actually benefit anyone besides the condo developers? Well, Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth aims to take a look at the social, economic and urban impacts created by this model by drawing on the perspectives of researchers, planners and community residents to see if this policy makes a difference or is just gentrification in disguise. Readers looking for an analysis between different international examples of this urban planning strategy and a more academically structured read will find this book a great starting point.

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America – Thomas King

Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian delves into the “history” and the complete subversion of a history of Native people in Canada and is both a critique of the actions and history and a personal account of what it means to be “Indian” in North America. The Inconvenient Indian details the stories with moments of anger and frustration, lined with wit and humour, yet is ultimately championing a chance at telling a different story in the future and it starts when we all seek to understand each other and make compassion and community a key point. King's book highlights an important conversation that needs to be had by all Canadians, together, and is insightful and honest in its portrayal of Native and non-Native relationships. This book will be a great read for any reader, from those seeking an introduction into the history of Native and non-Native relationships and the areas where change can occur to those informed readers wanting an in depth, critical analysis from one of the foremost authorities on indigenous issues.

Occupy the Economy handbook – Occupy the Economy and Occupy Love

Occupy Wall Street's new guide on activism, Occupy the Economy handbook, is a collaboration with Occupy Love assembled to help activists organize and plan actions, specifically for the spring and recommiting to the actions of camping. It also features rabble.ca contributors Judy Rebick and Velcrow Ripper discussing their vision for compassionate activism and creating communities and meaningful relationships with other activists. Their contriubtion, 10 key points for becoming a more compassionate activist, was born out of their friendship and their realization of the activists community's rising need for the same type of connection and commitment they experience with each other. This handbook will most benefit those activists seeking to create substaintial relationships with other activists, as well as those looking to reinvigorate their activism strategies.

Thanks everyone for reading and contributing to our Earth Week coverage!

The opinions, concerns and information brought forth by all our readers really contributed to a great and in-depth representation of what Earth Week and Earth Day means to its participants. As we've discussed and discovered, Earth Week is about more than eco-friendly concerns, but encompasses all aspects of caring for our environment and the people who inhabit it. We are a community and we need to listen to and care for each other and make this a safe and caring place for all to live.

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