I would urge the three presidential candidates to read — or reread — two books from the 1970s that could help them confront the deepening (and now deeply intertwined) problem of our food and energy economies. Long before either climate change or the obesity epidemic were on the national scope, Wendell Berry’s “Unsettling of America” made the case for a way of life and a kind of agriculture that might have averted both — and could still make an important contribution to solving these problems. In “Diet for a Small Planet,” Frances Moore Lappé shone a light on the wastefulness and environmental costs of meat-eating, predicting that humanity’s growing appetite for meat would lead to hunger for the world’s poor. Together these two visionary writers — who fell out of favor during the cheap-food and cheap-energy years that began in the ’80s and are just now coming to a calamitous close — still have much to say about the way out of our current predicament.
As a lover of literature, I enjoyed Gary Wills recommendations the most. Can one ever go wrong with Samuel Johnson, regardless of the era or political crisis of the day? (See page two of the article).
You can read the entire article -- including recommendations from a diverse group of writers such as Junot Diaz, Barbara Kingsolver, Scott Turow, John Irving, Steven Pinker, and a most succinct response from Gore Vidal -- here.
Cross-posted at EcoJustice08.