Book Recommendations

Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made

If you want to know what is really going in the world, and what people’s lives are really like in developing and developed countries, read this AMAZING book. I traveled to a third-world country for four months to gain insight, from energy, to food, to transportation…but this book was way more educational – the author traveled extensively!   I don’t agree with everything in this book (disagreements listed below), yet it is probably the most eye-opening book I have ever read regarding the current state of our world.

  • Grievance – The author writes about desertification, its causes, and the resulting human suffering many times throughout the book; however she fails to mention one of the greatest innovators currently reversing desertification – Allan Savory.  His Holistic Planned Grazing technique is currently being used to reverse desertification on almost every continent, on over 40 million hectares.  Learn about Holistic Planned Grazing through the following videos.  We might even begin seeing “Holistic Planned Grazing” labels on meat in our grocery stores in the future!  Regenerating land WHILE raising organic animal meat is the holy grail.

Introduction to Holistic Planned Grazing

Allan Savory’s TED Talk

– A failing rural southern town of 150 regenerates through farmer’s transition to Holistic Planned Grazing-based techniques

Three industrial farmers transition to Holistic Planned Grazing-based techniques

Allan Savory’s presentation at Harvard

  • Disagreement #1 – page 141: “many crop varieties, including organics, were made by exposing seeds to mutagenic chemicals or radiation” Although many of our modern commercial seeds have been derived this way in the past, and are inevitably being used by organic farmers, I feel that this statement is misleading, as it does not recognize the fact that by law – mutagenic seeds are not allowed in organic production. There was a runaway train with mutagenesis in the past before the organic label even existed, but it is not recognized as safe or optimal by organic standards today.
  • Disagreement #2 – page 141: “Indian and Chinese cotton farmers using plants genetically modified to resist common pests are now using little or no pesticide.  …other GM Crops need less toxic herbicide or less fertilizer.”  As we are all aware now, at least for GM crops similarly engineered in the US, pesticide use may have decreased by some 16 million tons per year, but the herbicide use has increased some 34 million tons per year.  And the resistant weed crisis is now requiring pesticide-dependent farmers to go back to using even back the herbicides we stopped using, such as Dicamba.  The GM movement argued in the beginning that a benefit of the GM innovation was that we no longer had to use these ‘more harmful’ herbicides, etc.  As we see, the promises of GM are not authentic, and are a temporary  ‘magic trick’ —  a slight of hand.
  • Disagreement #3 – page 142: “In terms of environmental impact, the way crops are grown is far more relevant than whether a seed is genetically modified or not.”  I’m so glad the author pointed this out; however, I again question the intent and depth of this statement, as it implies that there are no health risks.  The CRISPR technology that we’ve been hearing about lately in the news is essentially no different than the technology that has been used to Genetically Modify crops, and all of these methods have produced unintended changes in hundreds — if not thousands — of places in the genome.  These changes in the food genome create changes in the humans or animals who consume the food.  I’ve spoken to Midwestern farmers in the USA who manage pig and cattle feed operations, as well as corn and soy crops on large broad acre farms, and some of these farmers have seen the health of their animals decrease after beginning GM feed.  They have also seen the health of their animals INCREASE after switching to non-GMO feed.  The health systems which suffered when the animals ate GMO feed included respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive.  These farmers captured these health changed through meticulous records.  There are also numerous studies (which are not industry-funded) which show negative health effects due to GM food, beginning with the first GMO whistleblower and GMO scientific experiment.

 A Few ‘Highlights’

It is easy to find information on the internet about the various situations described in the book.  Here are a couple situations I found particularly fascinating regarding populations severely affected by climate change – also known as ‘climate refugees’.


The Hidden Half of Nature

This book explains why I feel so passionate about organic food, grown in soil.  Hydroponics seem cool, but hydroponic food will not keep our bodies supplied with the numerous diverse microbiological organisms we need to maintain a robust healthy microbiome (gut)!

“David Montgomery and Anne Biklé examine the unseen world thriving in healthy soil that parallels the life inside our bodies. When farmers feed their soil organic matter, it nurtures the microbial life that improves soil health. Their new book: “Growing a Revolution,” looks at farmers around the world who have adopted practices that cultivate beneficial microbial life and how they’ve been able to restore fertility to their farms in years, not the centuries that you would think it would take.”  Their previous book was “The Hidden Half of Nature” which focuses more on the sicence, rather than the methods.