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21.

ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT

Stan Cox
Hardcover

Price: $26.95

Rationing: It's a word-and idea-that people often loathe and fear. Health care expert Henry Aaron has compared mentioning the possibility of rationing to "shouting an obscenity in church." Yet societi…

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Rationing: It's a word-and idea-that people often loathe and fear. Health care expert Henry Aaron has compared mentioning the possibility of rationing to "shouting an obscenity in church." Yet societies ration food, water, medical care and fuel all the time, with those who can pay the most getting the most. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has said, the results can be "thoroughly unequal and nasty."

In Any Way You Slice It, Stan Cox shows that rationing is not just a quaint practice restricted to World War II memoirs and 1970s gas station lines. Instead, he persuasively argues that rationing is a vital concept for our fragile present, an era of dwindling resources and environmental crises. Any Way You Slice It takes us on a fascinating search for alternative ways of apportioning life's necessities, from the goal of "fair shares for all" during wartime in the 1940s to present-day water rationing in a Mumbai slum; from the bread shops of Cairo to the struggle for fairness in American medicine and carbon rationing on Norfolk Island in the Pacific. Cox's question: Can we limit consumption while assuring everyone a fair share?

The author of Losing Our Cool, the much-debated and widely acclaimed examination of air-conditioning's many impacts, here turns his attention to the politically explosive topic of how we share our planet's resources.


22.

THE SOIL WILL SAVE US

Kristin Ohlson
Hardcover

Price: $23.99

Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices-and, especially, modern industrial agriculture-have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now f…

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Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices-and, especially, modern industrial agriculture-have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and best-selling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"-a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon-and potentially reverse global warming.

As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food and environmentalism, and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air-an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries-scientists, farmers, ranchers and landscapers-who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants and our relationship to Earth.


23.

ALL NATURAL

Nathanael Johnson
Hardcover

Price: $26.99

In this age of climate change, killer germs and obesity, it's easy to feel as if we've fallen out of sync with the global ecosystem. This ecological anxiety has polarized a new generation of Americans…

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In this age of climate change, killer germs and obesity, it's easy to feel as if we've fallen out of sync with the global ecosystem. This ecological anxiety has polarized a new generation of Americans: Many are drawn to natural solutions and organic lifestyles, while others rally around high-tech development and industrial efficiencies. Author Nathanael Johnson argues that both views, when taken to extremes, can be harmful, even deadly.

Johnson, raised in the crunchy-granola epicenter of Nevada City, Calif., lovingly and rigorously scrutinizes his family's all-natural mindset, a quest that brings him into the worlds of an outlaw midwife, radical doctors, renegade farmers and one hermit forester. Along the way, he uncovers paradoxes at the heart of our ecological condition: Why, even as medicine improves, are we becoming less healthy? Why are more American women dying in childbirth? Why do we grow fatter the more we diet? Why have so many attempts to save the environment backfired?

All Natural*: *A Skeptic's Quest to Discover if the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier, the book that resulted from Johnson's explorations, is a sparklingly intelligent, wry and scrupulously reported narrative. Johnson teases fact from faith and offers a rousing and original vision for a middle ground between natural and technological solutions that will assuage frustrated environmentalists, perplexed parents and confused consumers alike.

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