Want to learn more about moving towards an eco-friendly lifestyle? Check out the books and DVD listed below as well as other resources found in the Naturalist Center. You can also use our "Sustainability Made Simple" card to take some simple steps towards a more sustainable future. It might not seem like much individually, but every small step can lead to a world of difference.

Book and Media Reviews

Melville, Greg.Greasy Rider: Two dudes, one fry-oil-powered car and a cross-country search for a greener future.Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008. Nat. Ctr. GE197 .M45 2008

In 1903, H. Nelson Jackson and mechanic Sewell Crocker were the first people to drive across the country in an automobile. Just over a hundred years later, journalist Greg Melville and his friend and mechanic, Iggy, set out to emulate this feat by being the first people to drive cross-country in a car powered by re-used vegetable oil. Greg is initially motivated more by the economic opportunity – free fuel! – than by environmental concerns.
The journey itself is pretty uneventful: only a few mechanical mishaps and the struggle to find suitable fryer oil liven up a routine cross-country drive. Along the way, Greg and Iggy stop off at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the American Council on Ethanol and the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Fair to glean more information about how the way we live impacts on the environment.
The third strand of the book is a series of six ‘errands’, or challenges, that Iggy sets Greg, to be met after the drive is completed. These include finding the greenest house in America (hint: it’s not Al Gore’s) and investigating renewable heat sources at Fort Knox.
Over the course of his journey, Greg forms some conclusions about the direction that we, as individuals and as a nation, need to take if we are to avoid the looming environmental crisis. His frustration at a nation that seems content with small, incremental changes rather than “fence-swingers’ is clear.
Greasy Rider includes some excellent notes, sources and websites for further reading.


Collard, Sneed B.Acting for nature: What young people around the world have done to protect the environment. Berkeley, Calif. : Heyday Books, c2000. Nat. Ctr. Juv. GE195.5 .C65 2000.

This is a collection of 15 real life stories of how young people have made a difference to the world we live in. The stories are drawn from all around the world: USA, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. The challenges the young people faced range from saving sea turtles that walked away from the sea to saving an ancient forest in London that was threatened by a four-lane highway.
The message of the book is very clear: there are many ways to help the environment and everyone has a way they can contribute. The stories are often inspiring struggles, in which the young hero needs to persevere, usually in the face of opposition or indifference from their peers. In the end, each of them triumphs through persistence, making connections and being passionate about their cause.
Action for Nature, a San Francisco based organization, continues to encourage young people to take personal action for the environment. Every year Action for Nature honors these people through the Eco-Hero Awards.


The Recyclergy: 33 minutes of garbageDVD. Produced and directed by Jeremy Kaller. 2006. Nat. Ctr. Media TD794.5 .R42 2006.

In May 2009, Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco, announced that San Francisco had the highest recycling rate in the U. S: 72% of discards are now recycled. This DVD is about those who push even further than that: Bay Area non-profit recycling organizations that love to salvage what others would send to the landfill. But now the work that these organizations do is becoming absorbed into the mainstream as the general population catches up with the pioneers interviewed here. Rollicking music by Rube Waddell sets off this entertaining small piece of local history.


Read an engaging book or seen a fabulous movie about green living? Share the title and why you liked it with us below in our comments section.

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