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Our Favorite Things: What We’re Reading

We recently asked CEC’s Staff, Board, and Partnership Council about their roles as thought leaders in the Santa Barbara community, asking what books, articles, films, apps, podcasts, and other multimedia are influencing their work. Today we’re hearing from Megan Birney, Dennis Allen, and Karl Hutterer. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series!

Megan Birney
CEC Partnership Council Member Megan Birney read Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner. Subtitled The American West and its Disappearing Water, the book concludes that development-driven water policies, dating back to the nineteenth century, are having serious long-term negative effects. Such policies present “huge implications on environment, water, energy, and economy as we look to transform the California State Water Project,” Megan says. Amidst the “revolving” nature of California’s drought status today, this book lends historical context to the early formation of water policies during a time when Western expansion and settlement was the nation’s principal concern.

Dennis Allen
A nutrition and health enthusiast, and long-time frequenter of local Santa Barbara farmers markets, past CEC Board President Dennis Allen delights in the fresh nutritional insights he recently gained from reading Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson. The author “makes the case that over the past 10,000 years, since the advent of agriculture, we have been selecting fruits and vegetables that are high in starch and sugar and low in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants… a trend accelerated by agri-business but started many millennia prior,” he says. Dennis especially enjoyed that the book “explains how to shop, store, cook, and eat to maximize the intake of protective phytonutrients in a manner that approximates those that nature put in wild plants.” He also appreciated the easy-to-implement suggestions and solutions to our nutritionally-deficient lifestyle choices related to food.

Dr. Karl Hutterer
CEC Board Member Dr. Karl Hutterer read The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World by Yale University Economics Professor William Nordhaus. Karl describes the writing style as “unemotional, balanced, and measured in its tones and perspectives.” Unlike some economists who fail to accept the undeniable fact of climate change, Nordhaus stresses the “importance and urgency of taking measures to prevent runaway consequences beyond the level of global warming we are already committed to,” and provides a sensible “program for taking action that is based on economic principles.” A forward-thinking and rational read, The Climate Casino concludes that fighting climate change is not about saving the world, but about saving ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

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