Best Sustainability Books

| 3/27/2018 9:59:00 AM


I’m a sucker for books that detail how someone else went about the modern homesteading process. It makes me feel like I’m living our sustainability beginnings all over again. Here are five of my favorites. 

Up Tunket Road

Philip Ackerman-Leist and his wife, Erin, did it the hard way, living without running water or electricity for seven years while they built up their farm. In Up Tunket Road: The Education of a Modern Homesteader, the author  promotes his story as one of evolving assumptions and beliefs, he’s brutally honest about the choices he’s made and their implications, and he acknowledges that even hard-core homesteaders must make compromises—something I especially appreciate. He sees homesteading as a state of mind rather than something place-based.

Don’t be misled into thinking Up Tunket Road is a how-to manual. It’s not. Yet, it’s much more than a memoir. I see it as a highly instructive cautionary tale for would-be-homesteaders, ensuring that they enter their own homesteading ventures with eyes wide open.

What I love: I’m deeply moved by the philosophy that underlies every paragraph of this book: the questioning, the implicit values, the acknowledgment of our connectivity with each other and the world at large. And it’s definitely worth mentioning that lovely line drawing illustrations are sprinkled throughout the book. They’re the work of Erin.

Rural Renaissance

“If you love something, let it go.” I loved Rural Rennaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist so much that after I read it, highlighted favorite passages, and took copious notes, I passed it on to a young relative just embarking on “the simple life.” The authors’ fresh approach to modern homesteading includes community, interdependence, and “right livelihood.” They take a moral long view, deciding to be part of society rather than isolated from it, sharing their fresh approach to making the world a better place through involved, smart, creative environmental approaches. For instance, instead of living off the grid, they choose to contribute to it from their alternative energy sources.

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