Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Global Values 101

O.k., so it isn’t a book that I would strictly define as a “green read.” But I do think that it fits the fundamental spirit of what many of us are “going green” for. Recognition of our little cosmic part of our globe, and our impact of such. For many of us being green isn’t only about reducing our numbers, our impact, our footprint. It is recognizing our global responsibility and how our impact translates to another person we may very well never meet.

So thus said, I’d say READ THIS BOOK. I’d actually go so far as to say that I think I’ve found a book that should be given to every high-schooler or college freshman. Mandatory reading list my friends, I say right up there with the best of them.

Global Values 101 appealed to me greatly because I enjoy works of religion, philosophy, theology, history, etc. But I also like the translation of the ideas into everyday practicality and how they make a difference in our lives. How to these grand ideas move into our everyday perceptions of our culture, and how do they influence us to act and react. GV101 gave one of the most insightful looks at our cultural philosophy and how it translates into the state of the world and our national politics.

This book is divided up into sections, with essays from experts in a variety of fields responding to thought provoking student questions. The sections are:

-History and Investigations
-Labor and Economy (of particular interest to green readers)
-Diversity and Equality
-Brutality, Bloodshed, and Resolution
-Religion and Ethics
-Distance and Proximity

The experts include theologians, ethicists, physicians, literary scholars to diplomats and journalists. The questions and answers literally slammed me up against the wall with the insightful brilliance. Seriously. And it makes you want to dive deeper into each experts own unique published works.

In this one book I was pondering gender equality, our perceptions on “fighting for our country” vs. “fighting for our government,” consumerism and the infantilization of American voters. If you are looking for a multi-faceted read that makes you think, makes you question, and maybe even a little idealistic then grab a copy. Green read fans will find nuggets scattered throughout, especially on topics of economics and consumption.

The section of Q and A featuring Juliet Schor, economist and author several books including The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure grabbed my attention. She shoots it to us straight in that Americans are not clearly seeing the impact of shop, buy, work. Though we work longer hours now we still assess our level of happiness by a model of work and spend. It is a numbing pattern that creates waste, debt and an ultimate progressive life dissatisfaction. The discussion of New Consumerism will certainly interest fans of Affluenza.

As a librarian I rarely say “buy this book.” But this is one that I’m actually trotting off to the bookstore to purchase so that I can mark it up, mark my own references and use the highlighter on many a page. I’ve renewed my Library copy twice already and I haven’t had enough as I’m now reading passages for a second time. That speaks volumes in my world.

My one beef? Maybe this is trivial, but right smack on front is a quote from Susan Sarandon. Don’t get me wrong, I truly admire her acting works and political efforts, the lady has class! But it does bug me that lately everything does have to have some sort of celebrity endorsement on it in some form or fashion, even a book of profound relevant content from Harvard University.


Joyce said...

I just reviewed a book about one of these authors, Paul Farmer, on my blog. It's called Mountains Beyond Mountains (see the sidebar list), and it's excellent. If he s representative of the others who contributed to this book, I'll have to read it!

Green Bean said...

Sounds like a very interesting book, Shannon. The more I live a "green life", the more I realize that all of these things - justice, economy, wars - are connected. I'll need to check this one out.

Going Crunchy said...

Allright Jam!