Archive for Green Books

Mother Earth News Book Clearance Sale

Mother Earth News periodically has a housecleaning on their inventory of books about sustainable living, and they’re in the middle of another one right now. If you’re not familiar with it, this publication is full of articles and information about living in a sustainable, self-reliant way. So you’ll find books about the environment, about living sustainably in your own house, about cooking and eating sustainably, and many other sorts of topics.

The available books are on this Mother Earth News Clearance Sale page. If any of them look interesting, you’ll need to buy them quickly, because they are only selling until the inventory is gone. Meanwhile, here are a few that look interesting to me:

Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a TimeGreen Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time.

Just a bit of the accompanying blurb:

Green Remodeling is a comprehensive guide. It first points out the advantages of remodeling. … Green Remodeling then discusses simple green renovation solutions for homeowners, focusing on key aspects of the building – including foundations, framing, plumbing, windows, heating and finishes. Room by room, it outlines the intricate connections that make the house work as a system. … Then, in an easy-to-read format complete with checklists, personal stories, expert insights and an extensive resource list, it covers easy ways to save energy, conserve natural resources and protect the health of loved ones.

Or how about this one: Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers. I live in an apartment and am always trying to grow at least some of my own vegetables in containers on my balcony. I only seem able to manage tomatoes and peppers, and several herbs, while other vegetables don’t do particularly well. So a book like this will provide great advice.

Author Ed Smith shares advice on choosing containers, how to provide balanced nutrition using his secret soil formula, and what additional tools benefit the container gardener. The reader will also find advice on starting from seed versus buying plants, which vegetables thrive in containers and which might be more challenging, along with tips on pairing plants in single containers.

The Home Energy DietOr one more: The Home Energy Diet. I get so much sun shining straight into my east-facing windows for much of the year that I’ve always planned to put up solar panels when I can afford them. I love finding out ways of conserving energy in the home, and I’m keenly interested in some day going off the grid as much as possible, if not entirely. So books like this are always high on my list. Again, some of the blurb for this book:

Learn how to get the most bang for your energy buck. The Home Energy Diet, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living, was designed to help readers take control of their personal energy usage and costs so they can save money, live more comfortably and help reduce environmental impacts.

Remember, this sale won’t last forever, and if the inventory for any book runs out, you won’t be able to buy the books at this discount. So if you’re interested in sustainable living, but also have to be frugal, this is probably a sale you’ll want to look into.

Two Books for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! I hope the earth is having a very good day today as we celebrate. If you click on that link, you’ll see lots of people making pledges to do green acts or change their habits, and see larger campaigns you can get involved in if you want. Every day should be Earth Day, don’t you think?

But in honour of today, I wanted to mention two books, one of which I’ve known about for a while, and another I only heard of this morning.

The first one is The Geography of Hope, a Tour of the World We Need, by Chris Turner, a Calgary writer and researcher. I wrote at some length about him and the book two years ago, at my Confessions of a Cultural Idiot blog (Chris Turner: Wielding the axe of hope), when he visited Toronto to present the book and talk about his discoveries.

In essence, the book describes what he found when he travelled the world, looking for what people have already done to change to new, greener technologies. It’s easy to get discouraged about global warming and whether it might be too late to do anything to get off the fossil fuel treadmill we’re now on. If you’re in that state, read this book or find somewhere where Chris Turner is speaking, and go hear him. You will come out of that event uplifted and inspired.

One of the greatest, most hopeful examples Turner describes is the Danish island of Samso, which has not only become carbon neutral but is trying to become carbon negative, producing more energy than they consume. But that’s just one of the many examples Turner found. Something can be done to change to green energy. Something is being done.

To that end – and in case you think switching to green technology is a hope entertained only by tree-hugging lefties with no real sense of business – there is the second book, whose author I heard interviewed only this morning. Tom Rand, currently the Cleantech Practice, Lead Advisor at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, is a venture capitalist who founded a private venture fund called VCi Green Funds in 2005. This is part of the description of the fund, taken from the website:

The fund provides seed and venture capital to companies developing technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use, particularly CO2. Efficiencies and alternate sources are each considered target areas of application.

So Mr. Rand has knowledge not just of how to make the green switch, but how to fund and profit from it. And he’s sharing that knowledge with the wider public now, in his book, Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World. (See also the actual website for the book: Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit, and Mr. Rand’s YouTube Channel.) Just reading the Table of Contents gives me shivers of happiness:

  1. Solar
  2. Wind
  3. Geothermal
  4. Biofuels
  5. Hydropower
  6. Ocean (Tidal and Wave)
  7. Smart Buildings
  8. Conservation
  9. Transportation
  10. The Energy Internet

I think, if you read no other books in celebration of Earth Day, these two should be the ones you read. Turner’s Geography of Hope for examples of how well the green energy switch has worked for countless people already (and, incidentally, without violence or financial ruin), and Rand’s Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit, for firsthand information about how this switch can be done on a large scale, in a way that not only won’t ruin the economy but could energize it and create profits for capitalists with vision.

Happy Earth Day! And with the last word, here’s Google:


Raincoast and Eco-Libris: Buy a book, plant a tree

This is a great idea: a green campaign to get a tree planted for every book bought from certain book selling partners.

Eco-Libris is an organization working to balance the purchase of books with the planting of trees that will replace those cut down to make the paper for the books. If you visit their site, you’ll see a streaming feed of news about different projects they’re getting involved in, in partnership with groups as diverse as the Chicago Bulls, Barefoot Books, and individual authors.

This year, as Eco-Libris describes on its blog, for the second year in a row Canada’s Raincoast Books is working in partnership with them on the “Buy a Book, Plant a Tree” program.

Raincoast has been going greener and greener over the years; for example, as the Canadian publisher of the Harry Potter books, they did the last couple of books in an ecologically-responsible way. This year, for the “Plant a Tree” program, they’ve signed up many Canadian retailers in three provinces, who will sell environmentally themed books starting this month. (You can see a complete list of the retailers on this page of Raincoast’s website.)

All the books will carry an Eco-Libris sticker that certify that a tree will be planted for them.

If you’re in British Columbia, Ontario, or Nova Scotia, you can take advantage of this program, so have a look at the retailers’ list, and head out to support it.

(By the way — at the time of writing this, Raincoast’s website is down, but they sent me a Tweet saying it should be fixed soon. So keep trying!)

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