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Weekend Reads: Nature Gets a Tee Time, the Secret Language of Trees, Burned Raccoon Gives Hope to Wildfire Victims
Five #greenreads to peruse as you disapprove of Congress.

“After Hurricane Sandy, One Man Tries to Stop the Reconstruction”
Just hours after Hurricane Sandy buzzsawed across the coastline of New York and New Jersey, people took to the streets and started to rebuild. At the time, such stories were seen as inspirational—proof of human resolve. But now, nearly a year later, one of the nation's top geologists is making the case against reconstruction. In fact, he argues, the prudent thing might actually be to retreat from the shoreline, since we know this is just going to happen again. Follow OnEarth contributor David Gessner as he tours Sandy's destruction with the prophet of doom. Outside Magazine

“Learning to Speak Shrub”
All this time, the plants have been talking to each other—but we’ve only just begun to listen. Using gas chromatography, scientists have detected chemical signals sent by plants and trees under attack by insects. Such messages might warn other plants to put up their defenses against invaders, or they might call in parasites to do battle for them. In any event, Elizabeth Preston explains how learning to decode these signals now may help us understand how plants respond to environmental changes, such as the rising temperatures and shifts in precipitation associated with global warming. Nautilus

“Our Life in a Museum”
It's like something out of a Disney movie! OnEarth senior editor Melissa Mahony is the caretaker of a 400-year-old farm in New York City. The property comes complete with a chicken coop, library full of dusty books, and boxes full of bones in the basement. Read on to see if you could hack it as a modern-day New Yorker living in the city's oldest Dutch Colonial farmhouse. Hint: it helps to be short. OnEarth

“Bye-Bye Golf Courses, Hello Nature Preserves”
The number of golfers in the United States fell by 16 percent from 2003 to 2011, meaning courses sold fewer rounds and made less money. Some have even been forced to sell, presenting an interesting opportunity for conservation groups. Across the U.S., half a dozen courses are undergoing re-wilding projects that will convert them into preserves and parks. managing editor Susan Cosier explains how such places could serve as prime stopover habitat for migratory birds, massive game fishes, and other species with fewer and fewer wild places to call home. (Ok, I’ll say it. Sounds like a hole-in-one!) Audubon

“Liquid History”
The docks along Britain’s Thames River have been busy since the days of Vikings and Roman Legionnaires. And as the island’s longest river, the Thames continues to be a crucial source of revenue. But no development in the river’s history will be as transformative as London’s new high-tech super-port. Will the project be worth the trade it brings in? As Rachel Lichtenstein explains, the dredging necessary to accommodate larger ships would muck up estuaries and destroy oyster and mussel habitat. Not to mention, those big honking ships are the largest single polluters on Planet Earth. Aeon

Tired of Reading Yet? Watch This:

Amazing Grace: Meet Grace, a raccoon that somehow walked out of Arizona’s Yarnell Hill Fire last July—unfortunately, not unscathed. Grace suffered intense burns to her feet and body. But now, this scrappy forest dweller serves as a source of hope for communities who are themselves still recovering from the tragedy. TreeHugger

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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