ZCH Book Club

Environmental issues touch our personal lives as well as societal structures, affecting moral and ethical relations between humans and non-human life forms in so many ways. Writing and reading may not lead directly to practical action, but it can raise awareness of the possibilities and draw attention to the urgency of the cause they seek to present.

The Zero Carbon Harrogate book club aims to encourage members to read and then discuss various novels and works of popular non-fiction, across multiple perspectives, on the subject of the environment, to help think about the world in different ways.

Meetings will be via Zoom until the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. 

 

If you would like to join the Book Club please let us know

We are currently looking for someone to provide administrative and practical support for our Book Club, working as co-lead. If you are interested in taking on this role you can find out more here

 

Looking Ahead

Tuesday, 16 November, 7.30pm
The Man Who Planted Trees
Jean Giono
 

This autumn, we are reading ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ (French title: L'homme Qui Plantait des Arbres). It is a short story published in 1953 by Jean Giono. An allegorical tale, it tells the story of one shepherd's long and successful, single-handed effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in Provence, throughout the first half of the 20th century. It was written in French, but first published in English.

Read the full review here

Previous Books

How Bad Are Bananas? - The Carbon Footprint of Everything
Mike Berners-Lee, 2020 

A groundbreaking book when first published in 2009. Mike Berners-Lee set out to inform us what was important (aviation, heating, swimming pools) and what made very little difference (bananas, naturally packaged, are good!). This revised version runs a considered eye over each area and gives us the figures to manage and reduce our own carbon footprint, as well as to lobby our companies, businesses and government. His findings, presented in clear and even entertaining prose, are often surprising. And they are essential if we are to address climate change.

 

Walking Home

A little taster of what lies behind the book, "Walking Home", by Simon Armitage, which we were due to cover in July, is shown in this video, which you might find of interest.

 

The Salt Path
Raynor Winn, 2018 

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

 

A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future 
David Attenborough, 2020

This remarkable book covers David's life both as a wildlife naturalist and as a television presenter, and looks forward to the future as an opportunity to re-wild the earth and restore the stability of the planet.

 

The Overstory

Richard Powers, 2018

 

Book Club Review

Richard Powers is the author of twelve well researched novels. He draws on real-life events and people as the  inspiration for this complex and thought-provoking book, which has forests and the problems of deforestation at the centre. The narrative is both beautifully descriptive and fast-moving as the plot moves through the lives of the nine protagonists who make up the intertwined voices of the text. Powers creates an open public sphere for human, environmental, religious, economic, political and legal themes to emerge for debate , opposing any monopoly on power. The Overstory is  a fairly lengthy and in-depth read, yet the pace, intrigue and well-crafted language, often poetic,  keep our attention, and it repays richly the time and concentration which readers need to give to it.

There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make and Break Years (Updated Edition 2012)
Mike Berners-Lee, 2019 (Cambridge University Press)

Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics - the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing, what are the knock-on effects of our actions, and what should we do first? Do we all need to become vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? Should we frack? How can we take control of technology? Does it all come down to population? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do?

The Wall

John Lancaster, 2018 (Faber)

The scene is Britain in the not-too-distant future. There isn't a single beach left anywhere in the world. Britain's coastline has been obliterated by a National Coastal Defence structure - The Wall. This disquieting novel is an environmental fable which manages to also be quite good fun!

Where the Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens, 2018

The author is a wildlife scientist, and her first novel is a murder mystery, a coming-of-age story and a celebration of nature. The scene is the marshlands of the North Carolina coast.