What Are You Reading?

Future Ecologies is an attempt to think land, non-humans, humans, water, science fiction, environments, futures, & struggle anew.

Our goal is to develop forward-thinking understanding and action on these topics in ways that align with & alter our collective values. We're interested in having members connect through collaborative projects like workshops, essays, zines, performances, and discussions.
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lukas
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018 01:23

What Are You Reading?

Post by lukas » 25 Aug 2018 18:54

What are you reading? What do you think about it? Who else might want to read it? Are there generalizations you can take away from it? What does it lead to?

I made a thread for that "The Environment Is Not a System" reading, but now realizing, we don't need a thread for everything...

Just curious to hear what you are reading (in an ongoing way)—i.e. feel free to share thoughts as you work through something here.

tristanrodman
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Joined: 24 Aug 2018 19:09

Re: What Are You Reading?

Post by tristanrodman » 27 Aug 2018 17:00

just stumbled my way through the introduction and first chapter of a natural history of california — https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520290 ... california — had to return it to the library before i could get much further.

it was a pleasure to read about the landscape i grew up in and to begin to understand the answers to a lot of "why?" questions i threw at my parents. why does smog collect here? why do the fires burn in august? why do my allergies get so bad when it's windy? i'm forever moved by the connection between scientific explanation and origin mythology — the stories we tell to dance around the real reasons for climatic events that may be hard to comprehend, connected to systems we can't see the full reach of.

does anybody else have further suggestions for reading along those lines?

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mauricem
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Re: What Are You Reading?

Post by mauricem » 01 Sep 2018 14:06

Im rly into those sort of landscape-grounding texts, especially in light of how inadequate conventional story structure is for dealing with other-than-human issues. What you describe kinda reminds me of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sand_County_Almanac , this a slow, circular description of a guy's extended time and labor in an ecologically-compromised land. But I feel like even reading local town histories starts to reveal the faceless power of a place's environment. Like, floods, winters, the economics of agriculture in the area, lyme disease all end up in town records, often over and over again, but ofc rarely with any sort of thru-line, just this devastating encroachment.

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lukas
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Re: What Are You Reading?

Post by lukas » 02 Sep 2018 00:24

tristanrodman wrote:
27 Aug 2018 17:00
does anybody else have further suggestions for reading along those lines?
I was just given a copy of John McPhee's "Assembling California" which is about California on a geologic timescale... mixed with necessary social history.

I've never heard of McPhee but it looks like he has some amazing other books! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Control_of_Nature on three case studies of "controls" of nature, and their repercussions. First on Atchafalaya (N.B.: I haven't read, just linking for posterity) in the Mississippi Delta, Lava flow in Iceland, and the San Gabriel runoff in Los Angeles.

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cosmicegg
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Re: What Are You Reading?

Post by cosmicegg » 03 Sep 2018 10:59

Not entirely ecology focused but relevant enough:

These two books are about System dynamics, which was founded by Jay Forrester at MIT. SD and the field of global modelling (championed by Donella Meadows) have heavily influenced a generation of ecologists, despite of being highly controversial, these people's deep understandings of economic systems, ecosystems have helped shape our mental model and a systematic approach to climate change and environmental issues.

Thinking in systems by Donella Meadows https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/382 ... in-systems
Limits to growth also led by Donella Meadows https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/647 ... _to_Growth

Also for doco fans the first episode of Adam Curtis's All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (yes, that poem!) discussed extensively about these theories and their global impact.

tristanrodman
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Joined: 24 Aug 2018 19:09

Re: What Are You Reading?

Post by tristanrodman » 03 Sep 2018 20:54

lukas wrote:
02 Sep 2018 00:24
tristanrodman wrote:
27 Aug 2018 17:00
does anybody else have further suggestions for reading along those lines?
I was just given a copy of John McPhee's "Assembling California" which is about California on a geologic timescale... mixed with necessary social history.

I've never heard of McPhee but it looks like he has some amazing other books! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Control_of_Nature on three case studies of "controls" of nature, and their repercussions. First on Atchafalaya (N.B.: I haven't read, just linking for posterity) in the Mississippi Delta, Lava flow in Iceland, and the San Gabriel runoff in Los Angeles.
that sounds great! the only thing i've read of mcphee's is, naturally, about trains. it was wonderful, posting it here because i'm somehow assured that the venn diagram between this group and railfans is rather large.

https://yaleunion.org/wp-content/upload ... McPhee.pdf

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lukas
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Re: What Are You Reading?

Post by lukas » 18 Sep 2018 21:19

I'm taking a "River Restoration" class in graduate school right now. The Professor, Matt Kondolf, is really a geomorphologist but he's found a home in the Landscape Architecture department here.

He really has a slant to how he talks about "river restoration"—mostly how rivers are, by their nature, fairly self-correcting. If they are given space (Espace de Liberté) and time, they can generally fill back up with complex terrains for biota, sediment, nutrient transport, and other things.

(article is chapter 18 in this book)

I'm always doing readings for the class... I'll share any more goodies.

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