Conscious consumption has become an important part of my life. Instead of letting books, podcasts, TV shows, documentaries, articles, and essays wash over me without leaving a mark, I started making an effort to actually take in what I was consuming. Over time, I am building a database of these consumptions including my impressions. This page was started at the beginning of 2021 and is slowly getting filled. Pardon the construction mess.
#05 - April 30, 2021
Book: How Not to Die by Michael Greger
“Not” an ad for veganism.
This book came highly recommended. As someone who eats a primarily vegan diet, I thought it would be good to get a bit more educated about the health benefits of veganism, as I usually focus on the environmental side of things. If I look at Amazon, I see that this book averages 4.5 stars and I just don’t know how. I mean, it’s an endless repetition of the same thing: pick a disease, explain how animal products are at fault, list a few (often flawed) studies, and praise veganism. Books like this make vegans look bad. There is enough evidence that a whole-food plant-based diet is healthier than the diet most of us eat. We don’t need to write (or read) books like this one… I didn’t finish it. I read the first few chapters, got bored and annoyed, moved on to this “tips” in the second part of the book, and got more annoyed. I did not finish reading any part of this book.
Documentary: My Octopus Teacher
Motivating and entertaining
Octopus are among my favorite creatures. My next tattoo will be a California Two Spot. And some of my favorite diving memories surround finding octopus all over the place in California, often unseen by other divers. I developed a neck for finding them there.
When I saw the Netflix documentary about a filmmaker forging a relationship with a wild octopus at the beach outside his house in Southern Africa, I had to watch it. It made me itch to get underwater and find octopus again. Such a motivating and inspiring tale.
Article: How Viruses Shape Our World
I had no clue
We all talk about “the virus” and have had little else to talk about for over a year. We are all sick of COVID, and it is easy to think that we wish there were no viruses. During our recent lecture about marine viruses, the lecturer recommended this article published in National Geographic: How Viruses Shape Our World
I read it during a break in class, and was surprised how little I actually know about viruses. Did you know that mammals wouldn’t exist the way they do without viruses? Did you know that viruses play a vital role in the marine ecosystem? I had no clue. After listing to the lecture and reading this article, I have changed my opinion on viruses (though I still hate COVID).
Definitely worth the read.
#04 - March 15, 2021
I wish it was fiction.
A very well-done documentary about the fate of mountain gorillas in Virunga National park and how corruption and greed destroy the ecosystem there and threaten the last of the gorilla population.
I wish this wasn’t real. I wish more had happened since the documentary but as one of those interviewed says: People watch it, people are sad or angry, and then they move on with their lives and forget all about it. We need to reach those people, make them realize that these things affect them, even if they happen at the other end of the planet.
Novel: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
A rollercoaster of emotions.
It was one of those books that I read without knowing anything about it. I enjoyed the previous books I read from Victoria Schwab, so I went for it without checking anything but the genre. I don’t like reading summaries that are more than a few words long as they tend to spoil some of the fun of the story.
Unexpectedly, this book was very triggering for me. The emotions are brought across so well that I shed more than a few tears. Loneliness, the feeling of not mattering, of not being able to leave a mark, were common themes in my childhood, teenage years, and there is still a lot of residual trauma left behind that I am slowly dealing with through therapy.
But, I can still say that I am very glad I read the book. If you, like me, get triggered by these topics, just make sure that you have enough time to read, so you can get to the point where you’ll feel better.
#03 - February 25, 2021
Documentary: The Secret Life of Trees
Quite a while ago, I listened to the audiobook version of the book that is the base for this documentary. As you know, I am not really good with audiobooks, so I don’t remember much. I didn’t even remember that it was a book by a German author. Time for a re-read.
Nonetheless, the documentary was very well-done and very fascinating. Another eye-opening documentary about the natural world that motivated me to want to save this stunning planet.
Forests are not just trees. There’s an entire network and trees communicate way more than we think. They might not talk like the Ents in the Lord of the Rings, but they definitely talk to each other. Isn’t that amazing?
Documentary: Mission Blue
If someone asks me who I’d go to dinner with if I could choose anyone on this planet, dead or alive, it would be David Attenborough and Silvia Earle. In her documentary, Mission Blue, Silvia talks about her life as a diver and conservationist. She talks about what we have done to our oceans and how she is trying to save it.
If you have a moment and a Netflix subscription, I suggest giving this one a watch to get yourself motivated to get off the couch and into nature.
Book: Primate Change
Worth the read.
I had heard about this book in a Youtube video about furniture-free living and immediately started reading it, as I was in-between books at the time. It’s a fascinating read about how humans have civilized themselves into worse health and how the environment we have created for ourselves is making us weaker. He includes great tips on how to improve these issues in your own life and those of your kids in each chapter. Definitely worth the read.
#02 - February 09, 2021
Documentary: A Life on Our Planet
Everyone should watch this.
David Attenborough calls this documentary his witness statement. He shares the experience he had over his lifetime, how lucky he was to explore the planet. He shows how much biodiversity has already been lost during his life span. He gives an outlook on the future if humanity doesn't change. And finally, he tells us what to do to actually change this reality.
Like many of Attenborough's creations, A Life on Our Planet was a masterpiece. Everyone should watch this one. Watch it, share it, spread the news, so we can save this planet before it is too late.
Book: Soul of an octopus by Sy Montgomery
Worth the read.
I listened to the audio book version of this book quite a while back. Finally, I got around to re-reading the story. Sy’s exploration of octopus, their lives, their personalities, and their minds is worth the read.
While I didn’t enjoy every bit of this book (her diving “experience” makes me cringe), most of the book is entertaining and educational.
I have dived with octopus and developed a neck for finding them. Octopus always fascinated me. There is a reason why my next tattoo will be a California two-spot octopus. The knowledge in this book, presented in an easy-to-digest format is worth the read for anyone who cares about creatures below water.
#01 - January 31, 2021
TV show: Good Omens
My husband and I finished Good Omens shortly before I went to the hospital. It’s a short series inspired by the book with the same name. I hadn’t read any Terry Pratchett in a long time, but watching the series made me add two of my favorites to the TBR list. The show is well-done and both my husband and I laughed out loud every episode (even without the aid of our favorite green herb that is so unfortunately illegal in Germany). If you don’t want mere passive TV watching but something with a well-crafted story, carefully written dialogue, and characters that actually have character, I give this one my full recommendation.
Documentary: Less is Now
I have been following the Minimalists for a long time. I read their books when they were first published. I’ve been a listener of their podcast (and their private Patreon-financed podcast) for years. When they announced a new documentary, I had high hopes for it. I’m sad to report that I was thoroughly disappointed by the result.
Not only is it mostly a more dramatized repeat of the first documentary, but they also went well overboard with the scripted monologues. I’m used to those from Joshua (when I had a conversation with him a few months back, I didn’t feel like I was supposed to say a word and instead listened to him rattle of his rote monologue), but it was horrible to see Ryan, who usually loosens up the podcast with unscripted charismatic responses, stand in a fake room citing something memorized and scripted.
The whole documentary felt like a trailer or teaser to a really good documentary that was never released.
Book: Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden
Worth the read.
When I was diagnosed with endometriosis, the doctors suggested I stay on the Mirena IUD as that supposedly helped with the symptoms. Unhappy with the explanation, I started doing my research and found out that there is actually pretty little evidence that suggests hormones help with endometriosis. So, I started looking into natural ways to heal my body instead. I ordered a box of sustainable latex condoms and started reading. One of the books I read related to this topic was the Period Repair Manual. The book is worth reading for anyone who gets a period (or has their period suppressed by hormones). I admit I skipped a few of the sections that detailed how to cure things I don’t suffer from, mostly because of repetitive information in them (I guess, she was aware of people skipping from the end of the introductory sections to their own ailment), but the sections the general chapters and the sections that applied to me were worth purchasing the book. I am currently trying out a few of her suggestions. It’s too early to report any progress, but I am determined to try this the natural way before putting my body through the hormones that have wreaked so much havoc over the past decade.