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Picks of the Month

Home > Browse By Topic > Nature & Community

We Found 182 items, sorted in Bestselling order.

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171.

AGAINST THE GRAIN: HOW AGRICULTURE HAS HIJACKED CIVILIZATION

Richard Manning
Paperback

Price: $15.00

In this provocative, wide-ranging book, Richard Manning offers a dramatically revisionist view of recent human evolution, beginning with the vast increase in brain size that set us apart from our prim…

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In this provocative, wide-ranging book, Richard Manning offers a dramatically revisionist view of recent human evolution, beginning with the vast increase in brain size that set us apart from our primate relatives and brought an accompanying increase in our need for nourishment. For 290,000 years, we managed to meet that need as hunter-gatherers, a state in which Manning believes we were at our most human: at our smartest, strongest, and most sensually alive. But our reliance on food made a secure supply deeply attractive, and eventually we embarked upon the agricultural experiment that has been the history of our past 10,000 years.

The evolutionary road is littered with failed experiments, however, and Manning suggests that agriculture as we have practiced it runs against both our grain and nature's. Drawing on the work of anthropologists, biologists, archaeologists, and philosophers, along with his own travels, he argues that not only our ecological ills (overpopulation, erosion, pollution) but our social and emotional malaise are rooted in the devil's bargain we made in our not-so-distant past. And he offers personal, achievable ways we might recontour the path we have taken to resurrect what is most sustainable and sustaining in our own nature and the planet's.

172.

HEMP BOUND

Doug Fine
Paperback

Price: $14.95

The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: Its fibers are among the planet's strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its on…

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The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: Its fibers are among the planet's strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it's been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States … even though Betsy Ross wove the nation's first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp's psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity's longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.

In Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, best-selling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching and pioneering hemp's applications for the 21st century. From Denver, where Fine hitches a ride in a hemp-powered limo; to Asheville, N.C., where carbon-negative hempcrete-insulated houses are sparking a mini housing boom; to Manitoba, where he raps his knuckles on the hood of a hemp tractor; and finally to the fields of east Colorado, where practical farmers are looking toward hemp to restore their agricultural economy … Fine learns how eminently possible it is for this misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after a century of growing monocultures, and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.

Fine's journey will not only leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop, it will fire you up to sow a field of it for yourself, for the nation's economy, and for the planet.

173.

OUT TO CHANGE THE WORLD: THE EVOLUTION OF THE FARM COMMUNITY

Douglas Stevenson
Paperback

Price: $14.95

In 1971, a caravan of 60 brightly painted school buses and assorted other vehicles carrying more than 300 hippie idealists landed on an abandoned farm in central Tennessee. They had a mission: to be a…

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In 1971, a caravan of 60 brightly painted school buses and assorted other vehicles carrying more than 300 hippie idealists landed on an abandoned farm in central Tennessee. They had a mission: to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to follow a peaceful and spiritual path, and to make a difference in the world. Out to Change the World tells the story of how those hippies established The Farm, one of the largest and longest-lasting intentional communities in the United States. Starting with the 1960s Haight-Ashbury scene where it all began and continuing through the changeover from commune to collective up to the present day, this is the first complete account of The Farm's origins, inception, growth and evolution. By turns inspiring, cautionary, triumphant and wistful, it's a captivating narrative from start to finish.

174.

EXTRACTED

Ugo Bardi
Paperback

Price: $24.95

As we dig, drill, and excavate to unearth the planet's mineral bounty, the resources we exploit from ores, veins, seams, and wells are gradually becoming exhausted. Mineral treasures that took million…

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As we dig, drill, and excavate to unearth the planet's mineral bounty, the resources we exploit from ores, veins, seams, and wells are gradually becoming exhausted. Mineral treasures that took millions, or even billions, of years to form are now being squandered in just centuries … or sometimes just decades.

Will there come a time when we actually run out of minerals? Debates already soar over how we are going to obtain energy without oil, coal, and gas. But what about the other mineral losses we face? Without metals, and semiconductors, how are we going to keep our industrial system running? Without mineral fertilizers and fuels, how are we going to produce the food we need?

Ugo Bardi delivers a sweeping history of the mining industry, starting with its humble beginning when our early ancestors started digging underground to find the stones they needed for their tools. He traces the links between mineral riches and empires, wars, and civilizations, and shows how mining in its various forms came to be one of the largest global industries. He also illustrates how the gigantic mining machine is now starting to show signs of difficulties.

The easy mineral resources, the least expensive to extract and process, have been mostly exploited and depleted. There are plenty of minerals left to extract, but at higher costs and with increasing difficulties. The effects of depletion take different forms and one may be the economic crisis that is gripping the world system. And depletion is not the only problem. Mining has a dark side (pollution) that takes many forms and delivers many consequences, including climate change.

The world we have been accustomed to, so far, was based on cheap mineral resources and on the ability of the ecosystem to absorb pollution without generating damage to human beings. Both conditions are rapidly disappearing. Having thoroughly plundered planet Earth, we are entering a new world.

Bardi draws upon the world's leading minerals experts to offer a compelling glimpse into that new world ahead.

175.

EXTREME SIMPLICITY

C. Nyerges, D. Lynn Nyerges
Paperback

Price: $14.99

The perfect guide to self-sufficient city dwelling, Extreme Simplicity was written by a pair of gentle survivalists who brought nature to their Los Angeles home. Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges a…

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The perfect guide to self-sufficient city dwelling, Extreme Simplicity was written by a pair of gentle survivalists who brought nature to their Los Angeles home. Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges are prepared for everything from power failures and terrorist attacks to droughts and earthquakes. They'll show you the path to self-reliance, with strategies for coping with disasters as well as making the most of everyday life.

The authors explain how to use available natural resources in an intelligent, efficient way. Their methods include growing and preserving garden produce and finding wild edibles; harvesting storm runoff for backup water supplies; preparing food with a wood stove and solar cooker; recycling everything from bottle caps to wood chips; keeping chickens, bees and other animals; and much more.

176.

THE BOOM

Russell Gold
Hardcover

Price: $26.00

Russell Gold, a brilliant and dogged investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal, has spent more than a decade reporting on one of the biggest stories of our time: the spectacular, world-changin…

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Russell Gold, a brilliant and dogged investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal, has spent more than a decade reporting on one of the biggest stories of our time: the spectacular, world-changing rise of "fracking." Recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award for his work, Gold has traveled along the pipelines and into the hubs of this country's energy infrastructure; he has visited frack sites from Texas to North Dakota; and he has conducted thousands of interviews with engineers and wildcatters, CEOs and roughnecks, environmentalists and politicians. He has also sifted through reams of engineering reports, lawsuit transcripts and financial filings. The result is an essential book: a commanding piece of journalism, an astounding study of human ingenuity and an epic work of storytelling.

Fracking has vociferous critics and fervent defenders, but the debate between these camps has obscured the actual story: Fracking has become a fixture of the American landscape and the global economy. It has upended the business models of energy companies around the globe, and it has started to change geopolitics and global energy markets in profound ways. Gold tells the story of this once-obscure oilfield technology … a story with an incredible cast of tycoons and geologists, dreamers and drillers, speculators and skeptics. It's a story that answers a critical question of our time: Where will the energy come from to power our world, and what price will we have to pay for it?

177.

ASPHALT TO ECOSYSTEMS

Sharon Gamson Danks
Paperback

Price: $39.95

Asphalt to Ecosystems is a compelling color guidebook for designing and building natural schoolyard environments that enhance childhood learning and play experiences while providing connection with th…

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Asphalt to Ecosystems is a compelling color guidebook for designing and building natural schoolyard environments that enhance childhood learning and play experiences while providing connection with the natural world.

With this book, author Sharon Gamson Danks broadens our notion of what a well-designed schoolyard should be, taking readers on a journey from traditional, ordinary grassy fields and asphalt, to explore the vibrant and growing movement to "green" school grounds in the United States and around the world. This book documents exciting green schoolyard examples from almost 150 schools in 11 countries, illustrating that a great many things are possible on school grounds when they are envisioned as outdoor classrooms for hands-on learning and play. The book's 500 vivid, color photographs showcase some of the world's most innovative green schoolyards, including: edible gardens with fruit trees, vegetables, chickens, honeybees and outdoor cooking facilities; wildlife habitats with prairie grasses and ponds, or forest and desert ecosystems; schoolyard watershed models, rainwater catchment systems and waste-water treatment wetlands; renewable energy systems that power landscape features or the whole school; waste-as-a-resource projects that give new life to old materials in beautiful ways; K-12 curriculum connections for a wide range of disciplines from science and math to art and social studies; creative play opportunities that diversify school ground recreational options and encourage children to run, hop, skip, jump, balance, slide and twirl, as well as explore the natural world firsthand. The book grounds these examples in a practical framework that illustrates simple landscape design choices that all schools can use to make their schoolyards more comfortable, enjoyable and beautiful, and describes a participatory design process that schools can use to engage their school communities in transforming their own asphalt into ecosystems.

178.

HUMMINGBIRDS

M. Fogden, M. Taylor
Hardcover

Price: $29.99

Hummingbirds have always held popular appeal, with their visual brilliance, extraordinary flight dexterity, jewel-like color and remarkably small size.

Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Ev…

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Hummingbirds have always held popular appeal, with their visual brilliance, extraordinary flight dexterity, jewel-like color and remarkably small size.

Hummingbirds: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species is the first book to profile all 338 known species, from the Saw-billed Hermit to the Scintillant Hummingbird.

Every bird is shown life-size in glorious full-color photographs Each species profile includes a flight map and key statistics, as well as information about behavior, plumage and habitat.

This authoritative guide has been annotated by the world's leading experts on hummingbirds and features a foreword by renowned birding author Pete Dunne.

179.

SUPERFOOD JUICES

Julie Morris
Hardcover

Price: $16.95

Juice it up, and start glowing … inside and out! Julie Morris, author of the best-selling Superfood Smoothies, serves up a fresh, ultra-healthy take on juicing with 100 flavorful recipes. Incorporatin…

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Juice it up, and start glowing … inside and out! Julie Morris, author of the best-selling Superfood Smoothies, serves up a fresh, ultra-healthy take on juicing with 100 flavorful recipes. Incorporating antioxidant- and vitamin-rich powerhouses such as açai, chia, ginger and kale, these drinks cleanse, energize and rejuvenate with every sip. Learn countless secrets that will take your juicing to the next level, with more healthy benefits and delicious rewards!

180.

ECO-BUSINESS

Peter Dauvergne, Jane Lister
Hardcover

Price: $24.95

McDonald's promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Unilever has set a deadline of 2020 to r…

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McDonald's promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Unilever has set a deadline of 2020 to reach 100 percent sustainable agricultural sourcing. Walmart has pledged to become carbon neutral. Today, big-brand companies seem to be making commitments that go beyond the usual "greenwashing" efforts undertaken largely for public relations purposes. In Eco-Business, Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister examine this new corporate embrace of sustainability, its actual accomplishments, and the consequences for the environment.

For many leading-brand companies, these corporate sustainability efforts go deep, reorienting central operations and extending through global supply chains. Yet, as Dauvergne and Lister point out, these companies are doing this not for the good of the planet but for their own profits and market share in a volatile, globalized economy. They are using sustainability as a business tool.

Advocacy groups and governments are partnering with these companies, eager to reap the governance potential of eco-business efforts. But Dauvergne and Lister show that the acclaimed eco-efficiencies achieved by big-brand companies limit the potential for finding deeper solutions to pressing environmental problems and reinforce runaway consumption. Eco-business promotes the sustainability of big business, not the sustainability of life on Earth.

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