Archive for the ‘Eco Books’ Category

Happy First Year Little Free Library!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

One year ago this month, I installed a Little Free Library outside my house. I had no idea how it was going to work out. Was anyone going to use it? Could I manage looking after it? How was my neighborhood going to react to it?

From day one, it’s been a hit. My neighbors discovered it as they walked their dogs, strolled with their children or power-walked in the mornings. Coming home, I’ve often seen clusters of people looking into the library, making me think of a Normal Rockwell moment. It’s little door fell off after six months from over-use, appearing in the arms of a neighbor who brought it to my gate for mending.

I’ve stocked the library with books and art auction catalogs from my own library, and books donated by friends or dropped off by neighbors. The Little Free Library works as a neighborhood lending library, where the community is welcome day or night, to peruse the selection of books, borrow one or more and return them once they have been read or contribute some of their own.  It works on an honor system, where you take a book and return a book.

Sometimes we take for granted the community we live in, and it is true that no one person can solve all the world’s problems, but what is possible is to make that little corner of the world where you live just a little better.

If you would like to install a Little Free Library in your neighborhood:

The Conference Of Birds

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011


Today when doves

echo in soft matching notes

coo coo   coo coo


that is me, writing.


when the woodpecker

batters his head

into the same tree


until the hole

is big enough

to stuff his acorn


or the thrasher

standing king-like in the madrone

his crass notes a rasp in spring air


that is me, writing.


when the hummingbird

makes his sky circles

with the loud pop at the bottom


that’s my exclamation!


my despair, the red-shouldered hawk

sawing the sky in half

with his screams———


kee-yer   kee-yer  KEE-YER


when the loud scolds of jays

greedily push at the feeder

knocking seeds from the stand


and the faint treble of California quail

cluck in the underbrush

shy and tentative……   chicago  chicago chicago


and even the rip sound

of the perigrine pulling

feathers from his kill



discarding, and selecting



when the mocker, boisterress with longing

jumps from his branch

in acrobatic turnings


and the warblers query

witchita  witchita witchita which?

glitter-flashes of gold in the oaks


when the violet-green swallows,

chi veet chi veet, sew the sky back together 

wih their darts and swoops


we are flaunting

scolding and cooing

show offs, saying

look at me, look at me .                             


-Wendy Wilder Larsen














Wonderful Books

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I have been asked many times what are my favorite books. Here is the short list. I’m sure I left a few out and I’ll remember them in the middle of the night. I also included a few that I loved when I lived in France when I was younger. Marcel Pagnol is a particular favorite of mine.


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Just kids by Patti Smith

Interpreter of the Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Family Life by Elisabeth Luard

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck

The Liars Club by Mary Karr

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

The Good Earth by Pearl S.Buck

Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

The Painted Veil by W.Somerset Maugham

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White

The Rose of Tibet by Lionel Davidson

The Best Stories of Guy de Maupassant

And for some books in french…

Le Chateau de Ma Mere by Marcel Pagnol

La Gloire de Mon Pere by Marcel Pagnol

Le Temps des Secrets by Marcel Pagnol

Le Schpountz by Marcel Pagnol

Lettres de Mon Moulin by Alphonse Daudet

The wonderful books I own and revisit


Anita Roddick and the Body Shop

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

When I went to boarding school in England in the late 1970’s, I used to love to go shopping for beauty products at the Body Shop, founded by Anita Roddick in 1976. Recently, I read her autobiography and was so inspired by her vision for her business that I underlined many passages which resonanted so strongly for me. What an inspiration she is! I was amazed at how similar my vision is to hers and was thrilled to learn how important environmental activisim was to her and her business.

The book is called Body and Soul by Anita Roddick.

Page 7: ” My passionate belief is that business can be fun, it can be conducted with love and a powerful force for good.” Yes!!

Page 24: “How do you stay successful and still keep your soul and your sense of fun, and remain human in a business environment that alienates humanity every way? We dealt with these dilemnas by coming out of the closet and declaring publicly that we intended to be a force for social change. We believed that it was possible to shift from a value system of ever increasing profits to one in which core values were concerned with human and social issues and were founded on feminine values like love and care.” Yes!!!!

Page 86: “To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.” Yes!!!

Page 165: “I never had any doubt that the Third World needed work rather than handouts. Trade gives people in the Third World the ability to choose their destiny when they meet the pressures of the west, and helps them utilize their resources to the benefit of their social, cultural and material needs.” I’m jumping up and down I am so excited about this one!

Page 165: “Most multinational companies didn’t give a damn about the Third World: their only interest in it was as a source of cheap labour and extra profits. We believed that Trade Not Aid was likely to be the most effective way to alleviate suffering and poverty around the world, and over the next few years from 1987 we refined the ground rules into an international trading policy.

The principles behind Trade Not Aid were that:

-we respected all environments, cultures and religions

-we utilized traditional skills and materials

-we created trade links that were not only successful but sustainable

-we traded in replinshable natural materials

-we encouraged small-scale projects that could be easily duplicated

-we provided a long-term commitment to all projects.”

These two last quotes are of particular significance to me, because I support several women’s cooperatives from around the world by selling their products on my site. It’s important to me to raise awareness of their struggles to overcome the many challenges they have to survive and  and help them be proud in earning their own income.

Anita Roddick rocks!

Love the graphics on the inside binding.

Eco Barons

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Eco Barons

Definition of an Eco Baron: An idealistic environmentalist who is devoting their life and fortune to protecting nature preserves and forging a path to achieve their big eco-dreams.

I just finished reading Eco Barons, which was fascinating and thought provoking. The book was also of particular interest to me because I have had the good fortune to meet 3 of the Eco Barons that are profiled in the book: Doug Tompkins, I met at the World Wilderness Congress in Alaska 4 ½ years ago, then Roxanne Quimby, I met at a Green Conference/Festival in San Francisco 2 years ago and just recently, Kieran Suckling, at an event honoring him in Los Angeles. Each of their stories are amazing and inspiring.

I highlighted a few passages from the book that are particularly profound and meaningful to me-

Page 77:”The notion that humans have no inherent, absolute right to exploit and lay waste to nature.”

Page 126: ” The act that revolved around a few simple ideas few found objectionable: Americans cherished nature and did not want animals to become extinct; therefore, it should be illegal to kill endangered species or destroy habitats critical to their survival.”

Page 142:” It means the human experience is becoming increasingly impoverished as plants and animals become extinct, or as our lives become so removed from nature that the experience of those plants and animals becomes extinct.”

Page 297:” Their (the environmentalists) actions are their message: that there is a clear choice, a difficult choice, a right choice, and to make it is to express the faith that it is not too late to save the world-and that a new way of living can be better, healthier, smarter, and more prosperous.”

Page 298:” It took hundreds of millions of years for nature to construct the storehouses of coal, oil, and gas beneath the surface of the earth, the chemical residue left behind by countless extinct prehistoric lifeforms (which is why it is called Fossil Fuel). Oil and natural gas formed from deep pressure and heat exerted on huge layers of dead plankton and algae buried beneath the bottoms of ancient seas, some of which are now the world’s great deserts. Coal is made of the fossil remains of primordial forests buried by time and cataclysm. Every time a gas tank is filled or an electric generator is fired up, the remains of long-extinct creatures are providing the energy.”

Page 299:” Society should take from the earth only the resources that can be renewed, and emit only those substances that can be safely absorbed or purged by nature.” This last one is BRILLIANT!