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How will humans adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth? The Limits to Growth addressed this grand question 40 years ago, predicting that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop-either through catastrophic "overshoot and collapse," -or through well-managed "peak and decline."
So, where are we now? And what does our future look like? In the book 2052, Jorgen Randers issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next 40 years. One of the original co-authors of The Limits to Growth, Randers asks dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesizes these scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.
The good news: We will see impressive advances in resource efficiency and an increasing focus on human well-being (rather than on per capita income growth). But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and gross domestic product, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as a result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens. Runaway global warming, too, is likely.
So, how do we prepare for the years ahead? With heart, fact and wisdom, Randers guides us along a realistic path into the future and discusses what readers can do to ensure a better life for themselves and their children during the increasing turmoil of the next 40 years.
Author: Jorgen Randers
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.
Author: Nathanael Johnson
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the urgency of global climate change. But when author Guy Dauncey assembles the world's best solutions in one place, as he does in The Climate Challenge, a vision emerges of a sustainable energy revolution. He opens the door to a century of exciting change, characterized by renewable energy, sustainable farming, carbon-rich forestry, green cities, electric vehicles, high-speed trains, a blossoming of innovation, and a host of new "green collar" jobs.
The Climate Challenge draws on working solutions from around the world, and lays out the best actions for students and scientists, musicians and mayors, policy-makers and presidents, showing how it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint to almost zero by 2040. Each solution describes steps that are already being used in homes, schools, businesses, cities, and governments around the world - with full scientific references to help the reader dig deeper and push farther.
If you worry about climate change, whether you are an enquiring teenager, a concerned householder, a farmer, forester, business leader, city mayor, or global policy-maker, this book will help you join the movement to help restore the planet's climate and build a new green economy.
About the author
Guy Dauncey is an author, speaker, and futurist who is President of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, and founder of the Solutions Project. He has authored or co-authored nine books, including the award-winning Stormy Weather, Enough Blood Shed, Cancer, and Building an Ark.
Author: GUY DAUNCEY
Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. A longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who for decades has taken it upon himself to speak for the land, to speak for the soil itself. Here, he offers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems—or, if one prefers, nature in general—as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.
Jackson believes the time is right to do away with annual monoculture grains, which are vulnerable to national security threats and are partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs. Soil erosion and the poisons polluting our water and air—all associated with agriculture from its beginnings—foretell a population with its natural fertility greatly destroyed.
In this eloquent and timely volume, Jackson argues we must look to nature itself to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. The natural ecosystems will tell us, if we listen, what should happen to the future of food.
Author: Wes Jackson
Cooler Smarter is based on an in-depth, two-year study by the experts at The Union of Concerned Scientists. While other green guides suggest an array of tips, Cooler Smarter offers proven strategies to cut carbon, with chapters on transportation, home energy use, diet, personal consumption, as well as how best to influence your workplace, your community, and elected officials.
Author: Union of Concerned Scientists
A compelling book about the water crisis facing the West, grounded in history and important for residents as well as readers nationwide. This narrative weaves together the stories of human folly and grandiose endeavor that shaped the states and reveal the background of the critical economic and political issue that is how water is used and misused today.
Author: Stephen Grace
Ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan has lived with the Tohono O'odham, long known as the Papagos, observing the delicate balance between these people and their environment. Bringing O'odham voices to the page at every turn, he writes elegantly of how they husband scant water supplies, grow crops, and utilize wild edible foods.
Author: Gary Nabhan
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If you can only read and reference one green thing, make it this book: an easily comprehensible, clearly presented source for green living. Everything you need to know is right here at your fingertips. Unlike a lot of other overwhelming green guides on the market, this is green decision making in bite-sized pieces. With choose it/lose it comparisons throughout, now it's simple to figure out it’s worth switching to a green detergent, what kind of plastic your sports bottle is made of, or which fish is safest to eat. Rather than spending time trying to figure out how best to go green, use this book and devote that time to making the difference.
About the Author:
Mindy Pennybacker was editor-in-chief of THE GREEN GUIDE for over a decade, as well as co-founder of the affiliated website. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Sierra and The Nation, among others. This book grew out of her long-standing commitment to answering readers' questions about green living.
Author: Mindy Pennybacker
In EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé — a giant in the environmental movement — confronts accepted wisdom of environmentalism. Drawing on the latest research from anthropology to neuroscience and her own field experience, she argues that the biggest challenge to human survival isn’t our fossil fuel dependency, melting glaciers or other calamities. Rather, it’s our faulty way of thinking about these environmental crises that robs us of power. Lappé dismantles seven common “thought traps”— from limits to growth to the failings of democracy — that believe what we now know about nature, including our own, and offers contrasting “thought leaps” that reveal our hidden power. Like her Diet for a Small Planet classic, EcoMind is challenging, controversial and empowering.
Author: Frances Moore Lappe
America's average farmer is 60 years old. When young people can't get in, old people can't get out. Approaching a watershed moment, our culture desperately needs a generational transfer of millions of farm acres facing abandonment, development or amalgamation into ever-larger holdings. Based on his decades of experience with interns and multigenerational partnerships at Polyface Farm, farmer and author Joel Salatin digs deep into the problems and solutions surrounding this land- and knowledge-transfer crisis. Fields of Farmers empowers aspiring young farmers, midlife farmers and nonfarming landlords to build regenerative, profitable agricultural enterprises.
Author: Joel Salatin
It's not often that someone stumbles into entrepreneurship and ends up reviving a community and starting a national economic-reform movement. But that’s what happened when, in 1983, Judy Wicks founded the White Dog Café on the first floor of her house on a row of Victorian brownstones in West Philadelphia. After helping to save her block from demolition, Judy grew what began as a tiny muffin shop into a 200-seat restaurant—one of the first to feature local, organic, and humane food. The restaurant blossomed into a regional hub for community, and a national powerhouse for modeling socially responsible business.
Good Morning, Beautiful Business is a memoir about the evolution of an entrepreneur who would not only change her neighborhood, but would also change her world—helping communities far and wide create local living economies that value people and place as much as commerce and that make communities not just interesting and diverse and prosperous, but also resilient.
Wicks recounts a girlhood coming of age in the sixties, a stint working in an Alaska Eskimo village in the seventies, her experience cofounding the first Free People's store (now well known as Urban Outfitters), her accidental entry into the world of restauranteering, the emergence of the celebrated White Dog Café, and her eventual role as an international leader and speaker in the local-living-economies movement.
Her memoir traces the roots of her career—exploring what it takes to marry social change and commerce, and do business differently. Passionate, fun, and inspirational, Good Morning, Beautiful Business explores the way women, and men, can follow both mind and heart, do what’s right, and do well by doing good.
Author: Judy Wicks
This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress and economic instability?
The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals. Soil scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet's soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible?
Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil, we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.
Author: Courtney White
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