Thursday, May 23, 2024
Macchi Picchu

Best Practices

Best Practices—In our endeavors, we should all be aware that there are things occurring around us every day that make us wonder, and sharing that wonder should be everyone’s business. These may be simple, or funny, or inspiring, or beautiful, or entertaining, but often, even if complicated, they can be helpful and/or applicable. We need to let others know about what we know that might be of communal benefit, and ask them to share what they know of the same type—we may see something they are missing or might have already solved what ails them, and vice versa; or better yet, by combining what we both see and know we might build something altogether new that solves both of our current or future problems, or someone else’s.

These wonders come in many forms, they can be good people, those who move us forward by working to help others, leading, instructing, entertaining, volunteering, or inventing; those who have great ideas, or make great efforts on behalf of others, or bring to market life-changing products at all levels of existence; or good communication vehicles, such as a book or website, which enhance our lives by opening our minds (informing, entertaining us or by being portals to an alternate existence we might want to strive for), or linking us with others who can be our models, partners or inspirations; or they can be good locations, communities whose inhabitants have taken their own citizenry’s wellbeing to heart and to account, and proceeded proactively. We will keep our eye out for these best practices and share their essence with our readers.

Two Good Books

The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization, by Vince Beiser (August 6, 2019)

The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where we Go from Here, by Hope Jahren (March 3, 2020)

The World in a Grain

Mr. Beiser’s book is an astounding history of sand. The book covers the role sand has played in history and plays today in every aspect of our lives. From being the main ingredient in cement—and all that entails for the construction of buildings and roads worldwide—to the significance of sand mining on our beaches and other locations around the globe. Sand is a finite resource we have come to depend upon for our quality of life—how do we ensure its longevity or replacement? This is a must-read wonder book for anyone interested in going behind the scenes in understanding the interplay of a key component of the infrastructure of all societies with the environment, climate change, the world economy, and geopolitics.

The Story of More

Paleobiologist Jahren is the author of the very successful, inspirational, and revelatory Lab Girl, in which she documents her career from inception to a few years ago. In so doing she introduces us to the wonder of plants (trees, flowers, seeds) and soil—historically, biologically, and in terms of the functions they perform in our civilization. Once she has introduced us to our planet via its most populous inhabitants, Jahren tackles, in The Story of More, a number of the choices we have made that led to the instability our environment is experiencing at a global level. From how we grow grain, raise meat and make sugar, to how we transport ourselves, light our homes, and what plants we chose to burn, Jahren provides details on the roles we have played to get us to where we are. Then she lists best practices, actions we can take to make a difference in changing our trajectory in order to save our planet.

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