The New Village Green
Stephen Morris et al.
Village greens are public open spaces that people meet in to socialize and talk about whatever is on their minds. They are apparently common in New England, and I'm told that more than a few towns in Ohio also have them.
The New Village Green draws its inspiration from that model of social interaction, only in book form. It is essentially a collection of tidbits, of selections from the ongoing conversations carried on by writers and visionaries who think about the way the world works and how it ought to work. The emphasis throughout is on our place in the natural world, and how to live without doing too much damage.
The range of topics is enormous - green weddings, soil, bicycling, economics, climate change, and so on. Individual entries appear in chapters that take various influential books as their inspiration - Silent Spring, Small is Beautiful, and The Limits to Growth, for example.
Sometimes the connection between those books and some of the entries is a bit tenuous, but no matter. That's simply a question of organization and categorization; an ecological worldview that stresses the connectivity of everything should supersede such petty quibbles.
One odd feature is a whole series of mini-essays on garlic that appear throughout the book. While I found those asides interesting enough, they did tend to divert and distract me somewhat from the rest of the content.
Naturally, I found some of the entries more intriguing than others. One was rather annoying, but a handful were downright provocative, and got me thinking about all sorts of ways that I might reorient my behavior, or perhaps work toward some change in my community.