Shared Resources for a Shared Planet

There’s really no denying that our world is in trouble. The earth will be fine, because she doesn’t much care about the survival of individual species – including humans – but the future of our children is in danger. According to a United Nations report issued Monday, one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival. The report directly links these losses to human activity.  Full stop.

It’s tempting to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head to avoid thinking about it, but that’s the worst thing we can do – we must face the information head on, and find ways to correct our course. “What can one little person do,” you ask? So very much, and the WFPL can help!

The UN report emphasizes that “nature can still be conserved” if we act now.

First, learn what the report actually said by reading the “Key Findings” brief released by the U.N. It’s eye-opening.

Beyond that, there are so many things you can do to help. Did you know that one of the most effective things you can do to save the planet is to reduce food waste? It’s true. So shop and cook responsibly, use up those leftovers, and patronize restaurants that donate their surplus food to shelters. Walk, bike, or take public transit whenever possible. If you do drive a car, make your next car a zero-emissions vehicle (be sure to check the ratings in Consumer Reports through the WFPL!). Perhaps most importantly, make your voice heard – if our governments (local, state, and federal) don’t set policies that protect the environment, wholesale destruction will continue.

The WFPL has a number of programs coming up that are relevant to this subject. We hope you can join us for them.

On Saturday, May 18th, we are thrilled to welcome WINGMASTERS back for a program about New England’s Birds of Prey. These stunning creatures sit at the top of the food chain, but their status is being threatened by changes further down the line. Raptor rehabilitators Julie Anne Collier and Jim Parks and their stunning birds of prey help us understand the plight of these predators in today’s world.

WFPL presents Wingmasters (featuring live birds of prey!) on Saturday, 5/18.

On Wednesday, May 22nd, we invite you to experience the Wondrous World of Fireflies, with Tufts Professor of Biology Sara Lewis. She’ll explore the history, mythology, and lore of fireflies in many cultures, the science of their fluorescence, their place in the chain of life, and the outlook for their survival. Can you even imagine summer nights without these fascinating and beautiful creatures?

Sara Lewis (fireflies program)
WFPL presents Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies on Wednesday, 5/22.

Despite rampant development here in a somewhat urban environment, nature continues to thrive through the cracks. On Saturday, May 25th, join Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. David Craft for an Urban Foraging walk around Watertown. He’ll teach us how to identify, harvest, and prepare wild plants that grow all around us! Please note that registration is required for this event.

Beyond these upcoming programs, we have lots of materials for you to read and watch to learn more!

  • Stop by to pick up some information on beekeeping or raising chickens in Watertown.
  • Register for free movie streaming with Kanopy through the WFPL to find a stunning array of documentaries on our environment.
  • Ask at the Reference Desk for resources to help you eat, travel, cook, work, garden, shop, and build responsibly and sustainably! We have hundreds. You don’t have to do this alone!
Tomorrow 2
The documentary ‘Tomorrow: Grassroots Solutions to Human Extinction” is available on Kanopy

At its core, the public library represents the very best of resource-sharing and sustainability. Want to read a new book? Save trees by getting it from the library instead of purchasing a new copy just for yourself. (Added bonus: this will also help you with your Marie Kondo Spark Joy exercises at home.)  Want to do even more? Check out an ebook instead of a paper copy: if you’re a big reader, you can help the environment by reading your books on an ereader. (NB: if you’re a very light reader, the environmental impact of producing that ereader is going to be greater than any benefit to be realized. You can learn more here.)

Every time you check out a book (watch a movie, work a puzzle, use our public computers, borrow a telescope, etc.), you are helping to save the planet. Sharing resources among members of a community means fewer items have to be produced, fewer end up in landfills, and each item is used more completely and less wastefully. If only every institution could be as helpful, and make you feel as good as your public library.

– by Jill, WFPL Adult Services Supervisor

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