Small cities offer many assets for sustainable living not shared by their big city or small town counterparts: population density (and the capacity for more); fertile, nearby farmland available for local agriculture, windmills and solar farms; and manufacturing infrastructure and workforce skill that can be repurposed for the production of renewable-energy technology.
CLEARANCE $9.50 A Nation of Farmers examines the limits and dangers of the globalized food system and shows how returning to the basics is our best hope. The book argues that we need to make self-provisioning, once the most ordinary of human activities, central to our lives. The results will be better food, better health, better security, and freedom from corporations that don’t have our interests at heart.
Small-scale home biodiesel production holds a singular attraction for the do-it-yourself enthusiast. While perhaps it can't save the world, this unique renewable fuel is economical, fun to make, better for the environment, and will help you reduce your dependence on Big Oil. And getting started is easier than you think.
Backyard Biodiesel is written by two recognized experts in the field of small-scale biofuels. This comprehensive hands-on, practical, DIY guide includes:
Making your own fuel is not only possible, it is rewarding. Designed to be accessible to everyone from readers with no prior technical expertise to alternative energy buffs, Backyard Biodiesel is a must-read for any aspiring brewer, packed with everything you need to get up and running quickly and safely.
This groundbreaking book, by former MOTHER EARTH NEWS Publisher and Editorial Director Bryan Welch, cuts through the pessimism and denial that pervade today's discussions of sustainability and invites readers to visualize a verdant and prosperous future for humanity and all the living things that share our planet. As a practical guide, it offers a process for making our current lifestyles more sustainable and inspires us to look beyond the immediate obstacles to nurture the "destination fixation" that stimulates all of humanity's greatest achievements.
In the lives and accomplishments of farmers, gardeners, inventors and entrepreneurs, Beautiful and Abundant finds a path toward a world vision we can proudly pass on to future generations – a vision that is aesthetically beautiful, economically abundant, ethically fair and irresistibly contagious.
Humanity is at a turning point. Only one species in the universe can recognize its own impact on its habitat, so far as we know, and we are that species. In the early years of the 21st century we face the definitive human challenge – sustaining our quality of life on this miraculous, but finite sphere we call Earth.
Tragically, a lot of human energy is being squandered in conflict over short-term environmental obstacles. People debate symptoms and solutions but societies persistently fail to offer positive incentives for change. To harness the full power of human imagination and community initiative we need a positive vision for humanity's future. We need a believable collective vision for the beautiful, abundant planet where our grandchildren will live.
Read what people are saying:
"Beauty is the new black. Abundance – for all! – is our North Star. Bryan Welch is a businessman who serves beauty, a rancher who champions interdependence, and a leader who recognizes the sweet spot we're looking for is at the nexus of self-reliance and sustainability." – Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, B Lab
"This is a book that invites us all to cut through the negativity of doomsday prophets and other 'progressive' thinkers. … Bryan Welch is a rare business leader who writes prose that is nuanced, eloquent and visionary. This luminous call to action will inspire you. … It happened to me." – Wanda Urbanska, author of The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life
About the author:
As a boy herding goats in rural New Mexico, Welch formed an intuition for the intricate and interdependent relationships among plants, animals and people. He's developed that intuition into the very model of a productive, balanced and sustainable life.
Before starting Ogden Publications (publishers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mother Earth Living, Utne Reader and other media brands) in 1996, Welch worked at newspapers in several states. He graduated from the University of Denver and holds a master's degree from Harvard University, where he studied media policy and management at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School.
Welch serves on the board of directors of the MPA (Association of Magazine Media), the Social Venture Network and the Down Home Ranch Foundation. He and his wife, Carolyn, raise grass-fed cattle, sheep, goats and free-range chickens at the farm they call Rancho Cappuccino, which they also share with donkeys, dogs and the rogue mule, Zero.
A critical analysis of public and private leadership, business and economic ethics, and civic life, this book concludes with a stirring blueprint for other communities facing similarly overwhelming opposition.
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.
Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes and political systems to learn what in t heir beliefs, histories, liturgies or current circumstances might suggest it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.
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.
A vivid, geeky travelogue of a journey to meet the inventors, engineers, and young scientists helping to give birth to the world's next scientific superpower—a nation built not on conquest, oil, or minerals, but on the scientific ingenuity of its people
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.
Renewable energy guru Brian F. Keane walks you through the cost-benefit trade-offs that come with the exciting new technologies and introduces you to the revolutionary clean-energy products on the horizon, making the ins and outs of renewable energy easily accessible. He shows what you can do on every level to seize the opportunity and profit from it.
Winds sweeping through the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United States. Nowhere is wind’s promise more palpable than in Cloud County, Kansas, where the soaring turbines of the Meridian Way Wind Farm are boosting incomes and bringing green jobs to a community that has, for decades, watched its children drift away. In Harvest the Wind, Philip Warburg brings readers face-to-face with the people behind the green economy–powered resurgence in Cloud County and communities like it across the United States. This corner of Kansas is the first stop on an odyssey that introduces readers to farmers, factory workers, biologists, and high-tech entrepreneurs—all players in a transformative industry that is taking hold across America and around the globe. In this illuminating book, Warburg reveals both the remarkable growth of a breakthrough technology and the formidable challenges it faces. He visits epicenters of anti-wind opposition as well as communities that have embraced wind farms as neighbors. He guides readers through an Iowa turbine assembly plant that is struggling to compete in a global marketplace dominated by European and Chinese manufacturers. And he looks at the thousands of miles that wind-generated power will need to travel to reach American consumers. Harvest the Wind is an earthly antidote to loftier treatises on global warming and green energy. By showing us how practical solutions are being implemented at the local level, Warburg offers an inspirational look at how we can all pursue a saner and more sustainable energy future—while at the same time investing in the nation’s infrastructure and jumpstarting its economy.
A behind-the-scenes look at the robustly competitive race to dominate the market for electric cars, the larger-than-life moguls behind them, and the changes that are transforming the auto industry.
In the 1980s, it was unimaginable that the home computer would become as common and easy to use as a toaster. Today, plug-in charging stations and smart grids seem like something still far off in the future. But by 2020, the auto industry will look very different from today’s field of troubled auto giants. The combination of technological breakthroughs and charging networks driven by global warming and peak oil makes it clear that revolutionary change in the auto industry is happening right now.
In High Voltage, Jim Motavalli captures this period of unprecedented change, documenting the evolution from internal combustion engines to electric power. Driven by the auto world’s ambitious and sometimes outlandish personalities, the book chronicles the race to dominate the market, focusing on big players like Tesla and Fisker, as well as a tiny start-up and a battery supplier. Flashing forward to the changes we’ll see in the coming years, High Voltage shows a not-so-distant future where we will live on a smart grid, our cars “fueling,” that is, charging, while we shop or sleep. The ramifications of these changes will be on a grander scale than most of us ever imagined—altering foreign policy, reducing trade deficits, and perhaps even ending global warming.
For many people, the word “industry” brings to mind images of sprawling factories belching toxic emissions in a blighted natural landscape. “Industrial” has become synonymous with pollution, human rights abuse, and corporate greed. In Industrial Evolution, Lyle Estill seeks to reclaim the term, with its original connotations of hard work, diligence and productivity, and to show how community-scale enterprise can create a vibrant, sustainable local economy. Industrial Evolution is a story of survival. It is about how the small group of committed entrepreneurs introduced in Small is Possible managed to keep their dream alive and thriving through the economic recession, emerging with a model of what a sustainable local economy might look like in a post carbon future. Compulsively readable and seasoned with light humor, this grassroots account demonstrates that ecological stewardship and enterprise at an appropriate scale can lay the foundation for abundance.
Industrial Evolution skips the doom and gloom and is all about solutions. By showing that it is possible to take the big out of industry, this book motivates people to work together in a meaningful way. Filled with inspirational tales of success, failure, perseverance, and real world experiences that anyone can relate to, Industrial Evolution is a must-read for activists, organizers, politicians, and anyone who cares about resilient communities.
Deeply researched, eloquently written, and perceptively humorous, Nature Wars expresses the need for organic reconnection with our natural ecosystem by offering a provocative look at how Americans created an inadvertent mess.
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.
We all know the proverb about teaching someone to fish, but if there are no fish left, knowing how to catch them won’t do you any good. And that’s the position businesses are in today. Resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. The cost of raw materials is rising dramatically. We are, simply put, running out of things to take and places to trash.
To survive in the long term, says Nadya Zhexembayeva, businesses need to make resource scarcity—the overfished ocean—their primary strategic consideration, not just a concern for their “green” division. Those managers who deeply understand and master this shift will be able to turn the new reality into a remarkable competitive advantage.
Overfished Ocean Strategy offers five essential principles for innovating in this new reality. Zhexembayeva shows how businesses have been finding new opportunities in what were once considered useless byproducts, discovering resource-conserving efficiencies up and down their value chain, transferring their expertise from physical products to services, and developing ways to rapidly try out and refine these new business models. A business owner herself, Zhexembayeva fills the book with examples of companies that are already successfully navigating the overfished ocean, from established corporations such as BMW, Microsoft and Puma to newcomers such as Lush, FLOOW2 and Sourcemap.
The linear, throwaway economy of today—in which we extract resources at one end, create products, and throw them away at the other—is rapidly coming to an end. A new economy is being born, one that takes this line and turns it into a circle. In every industry, creative minds are learning how to make money from reducing rather than expanding. Zhexembayeva shows how you can join them and avoid being left high and dry.
In an era of corporate greed, Bob Moore’s philosophy of putting people before profit is a shining example of what’s right about America. Instead of selling out to numerous bidders who would have made him a very wealthy man, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods gave the $100 million company to his employees.
Bob Moore’s gift on February 15, 2010 (his 81st birthday) gave hope to an American workforce rocked by a decade of CEOs behaving badly. The national media heralded the announcement as the “feel good story of the recession.” It was an example of a return to ethics in the workplace, but as the legions of fans of Bob’s whole grain natural products would argue, ethics and a sense of corporate responsibility didn’t “return” to Bob’s Red Mill, they never left.
Most 60-year-old men who saw their business destroyed in an arson fire might have quit or faded away into retirement. Not Bob. After his wooden flour mill burned to the ground in 1988, he considered the 17 employees who counted on him for their livelihood, and started over. He rebuilt, and flourished. He grew the company to become the nation’s leading manufacturer of whole grain natural foods.
Bob’s is an amazing story of overcoming challenges and making great comebacks. His wife, Charlee, was the inspiration to feed the family healthy natural foods, but it was a divine appointment with a random library book titled John Goffe’s Mill that began Bob’s love affair with the ancient art of milling, using stone wheels to slowly grind grains into nutritious whole wheat flours, cereals, and mixes. His unconventional thinking and passion for healthy living is an inspirational story for readers of all ages.
Concerns over climate change and energy depletion are increasing exponentially. Mainstream solutions still assume a panacea that will cure our climate ills without requiring any serious modification to our way of life.
Plan C explores the risks inherent in trying to continue our energy-intensive lifestyle. Using dirtier fossil fuels (Plan A) or switching to renewable energy sources (Plan B) allows people to remain complacent in the face of a potential global catastrophe. Dramatic lifestyle change is the only way to begin to create a sustainable, equitable world. The converging crises of Peak Oil, Climate Change and increasing inequity are presented in a clear, concise manner, as are the twin solutions of community (where cooperation replaces competition) and curtailment (deliberately reducing consumption of consumer goods).
Plan C shows how each person's individual choices can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. It offers specific strategies in the areas of food, transportation and housing. One chapter analyzes the decimation of the Cuban economy when the USSR stopped oil exports in 1990 and provides an inspiring vision for a low energy way of living.
Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner and sustainable lifestyle.