Friday, March 22, 2013

Four Great Books on Sustainable Living

In celebration of the Resilience Festival, the H2O Go Festival, and the Ecomarket that are taking place tomorrow, Saturday, March 23 in the downtown area (see our blog on the day's exciting events), here are some recommendations for books on sustainable living.

The Transition Companion
Rob Hopkins

Over four hundred communities around the world are transitioning away from their dependence on fossil fuels. The Transition Companion offers insights on starting out, deepening, connecting, building, and daring to dream, as well as showing how Transition Towns are developing their own unique tools and ingredients to meet local needs, fossil-free. Author and Transition Network founder Rob Hopkins shares the ongoing story of humanity's most effective strategy for mitigating climate disaster: getting off the carbon.

- Sally Ludwig and Kevin Sutton

Radical Simplicity
Dan Price

Imagine you're first in line at a buffet of the world's resources. How much do you take? According to author and Global Living Project founder Jim Merkel, the equivalent of 4.7 acres each would allow the planet to survive. So why are we in the West gorging ourselves (almost 30 acres each!) with no thought for tomorrow? Radical Simplicity explores modern humanity's core needs and not only offers practical tips and tools, but useful charts and worksheets for reducing your global footprint.

- Kevin Sutton

Gaia's Garden
Toby Hemenway

As awareness of environmental concerns grows, so does interest in the question of how we will manage our natural resources. In Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Toby Hemenway shares what he has learned about establishing gardens that are healthy, vibrant, and productive ecosystems. Hemenway does an excellent job of sharing insights that will help people living in spaces of any size to conserve water, produce food, enrich soil, attract helpful wildlife, create beauty, and reduce the work of gardening. This book not only assists people to garden productively, but it empowers them to become stewards of their land and water resources on a household scale.

Hemenway writes in an incredibly clear, personal, and accessible way that makes this book useful and enjoyable for both novice and highly experienced gardeners. More than just an informational book, Gaia’s Garden explores the philosophy behind permaculture, shares illustrative and at times amusing anecdotes, and inspires readers to re-evaluate how they think about gardening. With a particular focus on approaches that are effective in a North American climate, this book is a must-have for any Canadian gardener.

- Elisa Cooper

Prescriptions for a Healthy House
Paula Baker-Laporte, John Banta, and Erica Elliott

Preventative health care is crucial for Resilience, the "quality that makes a community strong and able to handle the unexpected."
Many of us in our homes have been affected by poor indoor air quality, electronic devices, and off-gassing of materials. Add to this increased time spent indoors, tighter construction, and higher levels of insulation to keep us warm and draft free, and our health suffers in this toxic mix in a plastic bag. A medical doctor, an environmental consultant, and an architect have come together to offer practical solutions, based on their years of practice, for building and renovating to help prevent chronic health conditions and to provide safer indoor living conditions.

The third edition of this quintessential book on the subject has been updated to include several essays from leading building biologists on house assessment, mould, furnishings, electrical wiring, water treatment, finishes, air filters, and earth energies (by yours truly).

- David McAuley

Sally Ludwig is a co-founder and volunteer with Transition Guelph, a group dedicated to building resilience for a community that will be just, thriving, and sustainable.
Kevin Sutton is a poet, spoken word performer, game developer, and playwright.

Elisa Cooper has a B.Sc. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Guelph. She currently works as a research assistant in the University of Guelph’s School of Engineering, where her research is focused on fostering grassroots innovation in water management.
David McAuley is a Guelph architect who specializes in green buildings and sustainable architecture.

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