Environmental Education: Nuclear Power, Everyday Survival and Solar Heating of Buildings

Environmental education is key for homesteaders self-preservation and to protect the planet, this list of books, magazine and movie will help guide the way.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
September/October 1977
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Homesteaders value environmental education information available on topics including the cost of nuclear power.
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These books, magazine and movie provide homesteaders with important environmental education information.

Environmental Education Information

Being some good things we want to share. Money won't buy a spot in ACCESS, but suggestions are invited. What do YOU want to share?


Nuclear Power: The Bargain We Can't Afford

Environmental Action Foundation

724 Dupont Circle Bldg.

Washington, D.C. 20036

In his foreword to this just-released book, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Russell Train states: "Recent experience with nuclear fission power plants suggests that many of the conventional assumptions concerning atomic energy have been overstated and require fresh scrutiny."

If you have even the slightest doubt that what Mr. Train is saying is true, you owe it to yourself to read Nuclear Power: The Bargain We Can't Afford. Read about how cost overruns pushed the construction price of Boston Edison's proposed $65 million Pilgrim nuclear station to a final $239 million. Read about how one of the first nukes to be decommissioned (the small Elk River reactor in Minnesota) actually cost more to shut down than it cost to build. Read about how supply problems have sextupled (multiplied by six) the price of refined uranium oxide since 1973. Read EAF's new book from cover to cover . . . then see if you don't agree that the "conventional assumptions concerning atomic energy" have been (to say the least) overstated.

As Richard Morgan — author of Nuclear Power: The Bargain We Can't Afford — readily admits, "This book is not intended to prove conclusively that nuclear power is uneconomical" (although it — in fact — effectively does just that). Rather, Nuclear Power was written as "a handbook for citizens who wish to raise questions about the costs of atomic energy". Morgan's aim is to tell readers how they can — arguing from economic considerations only — challenge the construction of nuclear power plants in a variety of forums . . . and that's exactly what his 96-page manual does.

To obtain a copy of Nuclear Power: The Bargain We Can't Afford, just send $3.50 to the above address. (Better yet, buy several copies of the book to give away to friends, relatives, state utility commission members, etc.) And do it today. Tomorrow may be too late.


Information for Everyday Survival: What You Need and Where to Get It

American Library Association

50 E. Huron St.

Chicago, Illinois 60611

Far more than a librarian's handbook, Information for Everyday Survival: What You Need and Where to Get It (which was prepared by the Appalachian Adult Education Center under a grant from the U.S. Office of Education) is one of the best, most complete survival bibliographies on the market today.

Between the bright-red covers of this 403-page manual you'll find annotated listings (complete with "reading level" assessments and how-to-order information) for literally thousands of useful books, pamphlets, films, filmstrips, tapes, records, and games. The entries are organized under 13 "main categories" in the book: Aging, Children, Community, Education, Family, Free Time, Health, Home, Jobs, Law & Government, Money Management, Self & Others, and Transportation. Each of these categories is — in turn — broken down into between six and forty subcategories. (For instance, under "Jobs" you'll find Advancement, Applying, Career Planning, Civil Service, Discrimination, Getting a Job, Interviews, and eleven other subcategories, each one of which lists several resources in alphabetical order by title.) Information on a particular subject can be conveniently found either in the table of contents or in the book's 25-page index.

Chances are, you won't want to sit down and read Information for Everyday Survival straight through from cover to cover. We'd be willing to bet, though, that you'll find the chunky volume to be a superb reference book . . . one that all members of your family will consult over and over again. Single copies of Information for Everyday Survival are available for $11 postpaid from the above address. (Send your check in care of the "Order Dept.")


The Compost Toilet News

The Alternative Waste Treatment Association

Star Route 3

Bath, Maine 04530

Steve Tibbetts and Zandy Clark formed the Alternative Waste Treatment Association early in 1917 for the purpose of studying-and disseminating information about-alternative waste disposal systems . . . ecologically sound, energy- and water-efficient on-site systems in particular. The Compost Toilet News is the Association's six-times-a-year "official organ".

Tibbetts and Clark know their business when it comes to wastes and waste treatment: Steve is a water resources engineer with the Center for Natural Areas in Gardiner, Maine and a registered site evaluator for waste treatment permits. Zandy is a distributor of composting toilets (and other specialized waste-treatment equipment) and a former compost sewage plant builder/ operator for Bambe, Inc., of North Stratford, New Hampshire.

Messrs. Clark and Tibbetts are well aware of the tremendously high cost of the average new house's waste and water systems. "The well, pump, plumbing, fixtures, water heater, drains, septic tank, and disposal field for a new dwelling can cost $5,000 to $8,000," says Zandy. "And municipal systems are even more expensive in the long run." What Steve and Zandy are trying to do is find — and, through The Compost Toilet News, — publicize new ways to lower the high cost of fitting a house with a waste disposal system.

"Some of the things we're looking at right now." explains Zandy, "are cheaper composting toilets, solar applications, urinals integrated with dry toilets, gray water heat sinks, grease traps, and the effects of highly nitrified compost water on anaerobic upflow tanks." Zandy and Steve have touched upon some of these subjects in their $3.00 booklet, Composting Toilets and Greywater Disposal (available from the above address). They plan to continue to cover these topics on a regular basis in The Compost Toilet News.

Waste treatment isn't a glamorous subject, and The Compost Toilet News isn't a glamorous publication. (Right now, it's a three-page, single-spaced, typed and offset-reproduced newsletter.) Nonetheless, if you're into recycling, gray water disposal, and/or alternatives to the flush toilet . . . The Compost Toilet News — at $4.00 for six issues — would have to be considered a good buy.


Informal Directory of the Organizations and People Involved in the Solar Heating of Buildings

3rd and final edition

William A. Shurcliff

19 Appleton St.

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

This mammoth, 243-page directory — published in June 1977 differs from other solar-heating directories in four important ways: [1] It focuses exclusively on solar heating (i.e., active and passive solar heating of buildings . . . not wind systems, photovoltaic installations, or other extraneous topics). [2] It lists — in addition to solar equipment manufacturers/suppliers — a wide variety of other organizations and individuals involved in solar heating: government agencies, schools, professional societies, solar architects, engineers, inventors, contractors, homeowners, writers, promoters, etc. [3] Its listings are international in scope. [4] It includes a 45 page last-name, first-name index of the people mentioned in the book.

In short, Mr. Shurcliff's latest Informal Directory (which is 36% larger than the previous edition) is just about the most complete and useful solar-heating directory in existence today.

Unfortunately, it's also the last directory of its kind that Mr. Shurcliff will attempt to publish. Keeping track of the many hundreds of people and organizations entering the field of solar energy has simply become too big an undertaking for one man. "In the U.S.A. alone there are now more than a thousand commercial firms involved in solar heating, and more than five thousand individuals," Mr. Shurcliff explains. "The numbers are growing rapidly and exponentially. If someone were to prepare such a directory in, say, 1978 . . . he would find the task too onerous and the resulting tome would be too big and too expensive."

Mr. Shurcliff's Informal Directory is available from the above address for $9.00 within the U.S. ($10, if you want the book to be sent First Class), $11 foreign. Better make out your check now . . . 'cause when this edition is gone, "there ain't gonna be no more".


Dietary Goals for the United States

Superintendent of Documents

U.S. Government Printing Office

Washington, D.C. 20402

This 79-page document — prepared by the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs (George McGovern, Chairman) — is without question one of the most terrifying and useful reports ever to be released by a Congressional committee.

Terrifying, because of the things it tells us about what we — as members of the "best-fed" society on earth — are doing to our bodies, minds, and lives through abnormal eating habits. ("In all," the report states ominously, "six of the ten leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to our diet.")

Useful, because Dietary Goals for the United States contains a bewildering wealth of information (in the form of words, charts, graphs, and tables) on the protein, fat, fiber, mineral, vitamin, and calorie content of foods . . . the past and present eating habits of the American public . . . the TV advertising strategies of major food producers . . . the link between refined sugar consumption and a variety of diseases . . . and much more. And the report doesn't just cite facts and figures: It makes specific, detailed recommendations on how Americans can change their eating habits for increased health and longevity. (Therein lies the 95 page booklet's real value.)

As one of the report's authors states, "There will undoubtedly be many people who will say we have not proven our point; [that] we have not demonstrated that the dietary modifications we recommend will yield the dividends expected. We would point out to those people that the diet we eat today was not planned or developed for any particular purpose. It is a happenstance related to our affluence, the productivity of our farmers, and the activities of our food industry. The risks associated with eating this diet are demonstrably large. The question to be asked, therefore, is not why should we change our diet, but why not?"


Farming is Farming: The Small Farm in America

Ram Films

200 Lovers Lane

Steubenville, Ohio 43952

Since World War II, the trend toward "bigger and better" has seriously undermined what was once the backbone of the American way of life . . . the family farm. On one hand, the small scale farmer has been faced with ever-increasing costs while — on the other hand — the price he has gotten for his products has continued to go down. Result: The little farmer has been forced to sell out to the big guys and the production and processing and distribution of food have become increasingly consolidated in the hands of a few giant corporations.

Well, that's progress for you.

But — thank goodness — some folks don't think so. Douglas Miller and Carol Ramsey, for example, explore the small farm as a viable alternative to agribusiness in their newly released documentary film Farming is Farming: The Small Farm in America. In brief, the skillfully produced feature presents an overview of [1) the present status of the small farm within its historical context, [2) the politics and economics of the conflict between the farmer and both agribusiness and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, [3) the little guy's, the big agribiz interests', and the government's differing definitions of efficiency, [4] the personal, social, and environmental values involved, and [5] the future of the small farm in America.

The major point made is that, in the long run, the smallscale operation is not only more efficient . . . but also offers more subtle advantages (something the big fellows don't seem to consider) in terms of quality of life. As a result, the family farm — in spite of the increasing difficulties it has faced over the past 30 years — is still alive and, in some ways (the back-to-the land movement, for instance), growing.

Farming is Farming: The Small Farm in America is a darned good source of material for classes, clubs, community organizations, environmental groups . . . for anyone concerned with the future of agriculture in this country and — ultimately — with the welfare of the planet. The 45-minute-long feature (16mm, color, and sound) sells for $450, but you can rent this poignant portrayal of the small farm in America for just $45 . . . and we think it's worth it. Carol and Doug have even put together a 12-page study guide, full of pertinent facts and figures and case studies, that accompanies each reel . . . which — for our money — makes this film even more worthwhile.


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