Recently, I was kindly awarded a blog award from a blogger whose thoughts I also enjoy reading, the delightfully-named Snail of Happiness. Rather than ‘officially’ passing the award baton, I am just going to pass on the favour by reviewing a few of my great blog discoveries. Some of them I’ve been reading for a couple of years, some I’ve only discovered recently, but all of them are wonderful and have kept me inspired (and a little bit more sane) while I was orbiting The Thesis’ event horizon. I hope they will inspire you too.
Without any back-patting, The Snail of Happiness is a delight to subscribe to. If you’re keen on gardening, growing your own food, crafty thriftiness, permaculture and general ‘slow’ living, this blog will keep you inspired and informed, with a perfect amount of philosophy thrown in for good measure. This recent post about a beautiful green roof construction is one of my favourites – I look forward to the day when this sort of thing becomes the government-supported ‘standard’, instead of the ‘very expensive alternative’!
AgriTapestry is a terrific blog I only discovered a few weeks ago. The first paragraph on the ‘About this blog’ page took the words right out of my mouth. The author blogs about dryland (i.e. non-irrigated) backyard farming in Perth, Australia’s sunniest capital city…not only motivation to grow as much of your own food as you can without much fuss, but also inspiration that we can grow food without wasting water. Plus, yesterday’s serendipitous post about appreciating native bees (the day I printed out my thesis) gave me a little ray of hope that the last 3.5 years of my PhD life were not in vain!
Dr Tiffany Jenkins’ blog has inspired a few of my posts in the past. Dr Jenkins is a sociologist and her blog mostly covers the astute articles she publishes in other media – but every single one of them has rung a bell in me. In particular, I respect her efforts to champion the inspiring immortality of classic art and literature in this era of transient waste. Although the blog isn’t really environmental in focus, it covers an essential foundation in building ecological awareness. Connecting with classic art, literature and history can often teach us more about our role and responsibilities as part of the biosphere than any amount of guilt-laden apocalyptic futures, and I think this is an untapped area for environmental researchers, educators and policy-makers.
Speaking of connecting to Nature through literature, Isaac Yuen’s Ekostories cover just that theme. This was one of the very first blogs I subscribed to and I always get excited when a new Ekostory appears in my reader. Ekostories need a little bit more time to read than most blog posts, but for me, they are absolutely worth it because they connect two of my great loves, ecology and literary theory. If you are keen on story-telling and philosophical mini-essays on the way we see Nature, this site is for you. Ekostories posts cover a variety of texts, from modern literature and films to classic epics, but all of them discuss themes that connect us to Nature and our relationship with her. This recent post on ‘Manufactured Landscapes’ is a particularly amazing eye-opener to the ecological and aesthetic impact we are having on the earth.
There are a myriad of sensational natural history blogs I love reading, too many to list here. Two of my favourites are Biodiversity Revolution, a blog by Professor Andy Lowe’s research group at the University of Adelaide. I remember Professor Lowe as one of my favourite lecturers when I was an undergrad at UQ, so I could be a little biased, but he also does great research and works with the South Australian Museum (hooray for Museums!). His colleague Alison Jobling manages a terrific blog of news, education and cultural insights with a focus on all the wonderful elements that make up that nebulous thing we call ‘biodiversity’. Posts are short and simple, but loaded with information and insight. I guarantee you will find something on there (like this story) that will give you a teeny bit more respect for the wonders of the natural world!
Lastly, The Hazel Tree is another one of my recent subscriptions, but I’m looking forward to discovering more under its branches. This site is an online natural history magazine from the UK, and it covers an appetising mix of history, mythology, nature, science, book reviews, astronomy, geology – what more could you want?!
© Manu Saunders 2013