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Green books! Talk sustainability with Ecological Intelligence, Plenty, and Planetwalker.

Is your committee looking for books on sustainability and going green? It is a topic of utmost importance to Ron Daniel, associate provost for undergraduate education at Virginia Tech, who recently stated:

The theme of ecological awareness and environmental sustainability emerged as we considered a variety of books. The selection committee felt that such a theme would offer many options for engagement and use of the book across all colleges and disciplines. It could connect with new university efforts in the area of heightened environmental awareness and action and provide opportunities to facilitate community service options for students and faculty.

Today’s post features three unique choices for your common reading program on this timely topic:

Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything 
by Daniel Goleman

A few months ago CommonReads brought you the news that Virginia Tech had selected this book for their Common Book Project. Drawing on cutting-edge research, Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, reveals why “green is a mirage,” illuminating inconsistencies in the human response to the ecological crisis and introducing new technologies that reveal the eco-impact of common products.

Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet
by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon

Selected for common reading at Colorado Mountain College and a One Book, One Community Choice in Alliance, OH, this book chronicles the remarkable and inspiring adventures of a Canadian couple who make a year-long attempt to eat foods grown and produced within a 100-mile radius of their apartment.

Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.
by John Francis, Ph.D.

This 2007 Gold Winner of the Nautilus Book Awards in the categories of Ecology/Environment and Independent Press has been selected for common reading at Marian University, Tarleton State University, University of South Carolina, Upstate and Graceland University. James Uhlenkamp of Graceland University recently shared with CommonReads why they chose the story of Dr. Francis who, in the early 1970’s, took a 17-year-long vow of silence and stopped using all forms of motorized transportation for 22 years as an environmental protest.

Find more books on sustainability and environmental topics on our Freshman Year Reading webpage.

Also check out our Freshman Year Reading catalog featuring a “Go Green” section including a letter from Virginia Tech. Access the PDF here or e-mail rhacademic@randomhouse.com to have a catalog mailed to you.


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Graceland University shares why they are walking with Planetwalker

Keep those comments coming!

James Uhlenkamp of Graceland University let us know why Dr. John Francis’s Planetwalker was selected for the university’s 2010 Common Reading Program. He says:

This book tells the tale of a man who found his life work in an environmental disaster. In formulating and living his response, Francis displayed the fortitude and dedication to hold to his principles in the face of family and social pressures to conform.

An important goal of an FYE program is to help the students see the the people they wish to become. This book demonstrates that anything is possible, and that unusual decisions and visions, if pursued with perseverance, can have a positive impact on the world and society around us.

Will Planetwalker work for your program? What themes are important to your university? What do you hope your students will glean from their common read?

Share your thoughts with us and we will help you share them with others!


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One to watch! Tarleton State U adopts Planetwalker


Tarleton State University has selected Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.  for their common reading program this Fall.

Planetwalker was also the 2008 Freshman English Common Reading Selection for University of South Carolina Upstate.

After witnessing an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay in the 1970’s, John Francis became frustrated with animal rescue and restoration efforts. He decided to take a more fundamental and personal stand by giving up using all forms of motorized transportation. Thus he began a journey, on foot, that lasted more than two decades and spaned two continents. Francis also took a vow of silence – one that lasted 17 years. His inspirational story serves as more than a look at a coming-of-age pilgrimmage. Its timely message will resonate loudly with students as efforts to “go green” continue to change, mobilize, and grow.


Reader’s Guide

For more about John Francis , his organization and his efforts, visit his website: Planetwalk.org.

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