What book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? Widely regarded as the bible of off-grid living, the Solar Living Sourcebook might be your best choice. With more than 600,000 copies in print worldwide, it is the most comprehensive resource available for anyone interested in lessening their environmental footprint and increasing their energy independence.
This 14th edition of the sourcebook is the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living and alternative transportation, written by experts with decades of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This fully revised and updated edition includes brand new sections on permaculture and urban homesteading, and completely rewritten chapters on solar technology, sustainable transportation and relocalization. It also boasts greatly expanded material on:
You’ll also find maps, wiring diagrams, formulas, charts, electrical code, solar sizing worksheets and much more.
Whether you're a layperson or a professional, novice or longtime aficionado, the Sourcebook puts the latest research and information at your fingertips … everything you need to know to make sustainable living a reality.
The United States is in steep decline. Plagued by runaway debt, a shrinking economy, and environmental catastrophes to rival Chernobyl, the U.S. has been retracing the trajectory of the Soviet Union in the early 1980s toward national bankruptcy and political dissolution. By comparing a collapse that has run its course to one that is now unfolding, Orlov holds a unique lens up to America's present and future.
As Orlov's predictions continue to come true, his writing continues to gain mainstream acceptance. This revised and updated edition of Reinventing Collapse examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for the events that are unfolding here.
Orlov gives no quarter to prophets of doom and gloom, finding plenty of room for optimism, if only we focus our efforts on personal and cultural transformation instead of trying to perpetuate an impossible status quo. This challenging yet inspiring and surprisingly upbeat work is a must-read for anyone concerned about peak oil, the environment, geopolitics, international relations, and life in a resource-constrained world.
Jeremy Shere's natural curiosity and serious research come together in an entertaining and informative guide to where renewable energy has been, where it is today, and where it's heading.
Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the productivity and profitability of agriculture in North America. More variable weather, drought and flooding create the most obvious damage, but hot summer nights, warmer winters, longer growing seasons and other environmental changes have more subtle but far-reaching effects on plant and livestock growth and development.
Resilient Agriculture recognizes the critical role that sustainable agriculture will play in the coming decades and beyond. The latest science on climate risk, resilience and climate change adaptation is blended with the personal experience of farmers and ranchers to explore:
The climate change challenge is real, and it is here now. To enjoy the sustained production of food, fiber and fuel well into the 21st century, we must begin now to make changes that will enhance the adaptive capacity and resilience of North American agriculture. The rich knowledge base presented in Resilient Agriculture is poised to serve as the cornerstone of an evolving, climate-ready food system.
In Revolution on the Range, Courtney White challenges that truism, heralding stories from a new American West where cattle and conservation go hand in hand. He argues that ranchers and environmentalists have more in common than they've typically admitted: a love of wildlife, a deep respect for nature, and a strong allergic reaction to suburbanization. The real conflict has not been over ethics, but approaches. Today, a new brand of ranching is bridging the divide by mimicking nature while still turning a profit.
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A lifelong environmentalist, Tim Matson groped to find out which was the more ecological choice — cremation or burial? What would happen to his body at the funeral home? What if he decided to donate his organs? Humor became his defense against his own squeamishness. Round-trip to Deadsville is a fable for our times, equally funny and probing.
In the '60s it was called the "back to the land" movement, and in Helen and Scott Nearing's day, it was "living the good life." Whatever the term, North Americans have always yearned for a simpler way. But how do you accomplish that today?
Blending inspiration with practical how-to's, Rural Renaissance, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living, captures the American dream of country living for contemporary times. Journey with the authors and experience their lessons, laughter and love for the land as they trade the urban concrete maze for a five-acre organic farm and bed and breakfast in southwestern Wisconsin. Rural living today is a lot more than farming. It's about a creative, nature-based and more self-sufficient lifestyle that combines a love of squash, solar energy, skinny dipping and serendipity.
Among the many topics explored in Rural Renaissance include:
An authentic tale of a couple whose pioneering spirit and connection to the land reaches out to both the local and global community to make their dream come true, Rural Renaissance will appeal to a wide range of Cultural Creatives, free agents, conservation entrepreneurs and both arm-chair and real-life homesteaders regardless of where they live.
About the Contributors: Lisa Kivirist is an innkeeper, organic farmer and copartner in a marketing consulting company. A former advertising agency fast-tracker, she and her partner are nationally recognized innovative young leaders in the growing rural renaissance movement who have been featured for their contemporary approach to homesteading, conservation and green living in a variety of media. Lisa is the author of Kiss Off Corporate America (Andrews McMeel, 1998).
John Ivanko is an innkeeper, organic farmer and copartner in a marketing consulting company. A former advertising agency fast-tracker, he and his partner are nationally recognized innovative young leaders in the growing rural renaissance movement who have been featured for their contemporary approach to homesteading, conservation and green living in a variety of media. John is also an award-winning photographer and author of and a travel book and several children's photobooks.
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David Kline came upon a sleeping woodchuck one summer day as he walked the land near his farm. In a gesture that speaks eloquently of Kline's relationship with the natural world, he scratched the animal gently with his walking stick, and the sleeping creature arched its back with pleasure at the attention.
Like its title, this collection of essays on nature, farming, animals, insects, and other topics bespeaks the gentle demeanor and appreciation for nature that shape the author's descriptions of the world around him. Whether sharing his fondness for watching clouds while he rests his horses or for planting flowers in his favorite spot in the woods, David Kline offers a view of life that few of us take time to experience. Scratching the Woodchuck resounds with knowledge, reverence and a joyful spirit, and to follow Kline's explorations of the landscape and animals around his farm is to sense and come to share his respect for and unity with the earth.
Over the past two centuries we have witnessed a wholesale replacement of most of the previous methods of conducting both business and daily life with new, technologically advanced, more efficient methods.
What exactly is progressive or efficient about this new arrangement is hardly ever examined in depth. If the new ways of doing things are so much better, then we must all be leading relaxed, stress-free, enjoyable lives with plenty of free time to devote to art and leisure activities. But a more careful look at these changes shows us that many of these advances are not weighing favorably in a harm/benefit comparison. The harm to the environment, society, and even to our own personalities, on an individual level, is plain to see, but is brushed off with hollow claims about efficiency and progress.
Shrinking the Technosphere guides readers through the process of bringing technology down to a manageable number of carefully chosen, essential, well-understood and controllable elements. It is about regaining the freedom to use technology for our own benefit, and is critical reading for all who seek to get back to a point where technologies assist us, not control us.
Pollution isn't just an abstract, distant problem seen in belching smokestacks and contaminated waterways; it's also personal. Some of the most dangerous pollutants come from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces, products such as shampoos and toothpastes, carpets and children's toys.
To prove this point, leading environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie conducted their own research by ingesting and inhaling a host of things that are part of our everyday lives. Using their own bodies as the reference point to tell the story of pollution in our modern world, they expose the miscreant corporate giants who manufacture the toxins, the weak-kneed government officials who let it happen, and the effects on people and families across the globe. Slow Death by Rubber Duck, the book that resulted from their experience, exposes the extent to which we are poisoned every day of our lives.
Grescoe profiles public transportation here and abroad, highlighting the people and ideas that may help undo the damage that car-centric planning has done to our cities and create convenient, affordable, and sustainable urban transportation—and better city living—for all.
This is a book of ideas and action, but it is also a chronicle of personal experience. Readers follow White as he travels the country and world: from Kansas to Los Angeles, New York City, Italy, France, Yellowstone and New England. Along the way he recounts stories of Amish farmers in Ohio, cattle ranchers in the Southwest, creek restorationists in New Mexico, local food entrepreneurs in Arizona and carbon pioneers in Australia. Their stories inform and entertain, but they also reveal encouraging and hopeful answers to anguished questions about our collective future, including issues of sustainability, climate change mitigation, resilience, land health, collaborative conservation, ecological restoration, and regenerative agriculture.
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Caroline McInnes is tired of being used for her money and her father’s influence, so she flees her hometown of Cleveland to claim free land in Nebraska. Her first taste of Nebraska, however, comes with consequences, when a snowstorm nearly ruins her plans. While riding out the storm, Caroline meets cattle rancher Henry Riley, and when desperate times call for desperate measures, Henry quickly proposes a solution. With no other choice, Caroline accepts, and the two agree that they can make things work. As friendship blooms between them, Caroline fears that Henry may be falling in love with her, which she claims she doesn’t want. With help from her neighbors and friends, Caroline learns what it’s like to be a frontier woman, and realizes she likes it — and that she, too, has feelings for Henry. When Henry discovers that Caroline has been lying to him, she’ll do whatever it takes to prove that she loves him.
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Just reading the word "subsidies" may cause people's eyes to glaze over. We don't think it affects us directly, so we tune out. But it turns out that this complicated-sounding issue has an enormous impact on all of us. The Big Handout is about bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health, and foreign policies. And it's a story about just one thing-subsidies. A subsidy is a grant by the government to a private business that is deemed advantageous to the public. Cotton, wheat, corn, soy, and oil are the most subsidized commodities in the United States. In this eye-opening book, New York Times best-selling author Thomas Kostigen explores government policies that cost taxpayers $200 billion per year, over $1,500 per household. In some cases we pay more for subsidized goods than we'd pay in a free market-and, in the most shocking abuses of the subsidy system, we pay for goods that aren't even produced.
The Big Handout exposes how artificial pricing hurts us and people worldwide, from our waistlines and pocketbooks to our health. By revealing just how toxic America's subsidy system has become, for everyone, The Big Handout is a wake-up call that empowers readers to effect change.
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?
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As mayors and city councilors seek solutions to climate change, existing policies and legislation can stand in the way of effective change.
The Carbon Charter is the first book to describe the municipal bylaws required to abate climate change and create sustainable communities. It provides city councilors with a cut-and-paste set of green bylaws and policies of best practices culled from environmentally advanced communities around the world. They can be taken straight out of the book, placed into a council agenda with minimum modification, and voted on.
The Carbon Charter provides city councilors with the ammunition they need to implement and accelerate sustainability initiatives quickly. The book describes bylaws that are applicable throughout the world, with the emphasis on examples that are beneficial to temperate climates such as the U.S. and Canada. It also proposes innovative new bylaws that are found nowhere else. This highly accessible, comprehensive handbook includes:
This book will appeal to city councilors and mayors, municipal planners, architects, and engineers worldwide.
An EcoNest is not just a home … it is a breathtakingly beautiful structure that nurtures health and embraces ecology. This unique approach to construction combines light straw clay, timber framing, earthen floors, natural plasters and other natural techniques with the principles of building biology to create a handcrafted living sanctuary. By bringing together time-honored traditions and modern innovations, owners of EcoNests enjoy living spaces that reflect the best of both worlds.
The EcoNest Home is an in-depth exploration of the benefits of choosing this technique over conventional alternatives, combined with a complete practical guide for prospective designers and builders. Authors Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert Laporte draw on their own extensive experience to provide:
The most comprehensive, North American resource on light straw clay construction, written by its leading proponents, The EcoNest Home is a must-read for anyone considering building their own healthy, affordable, environmentally friendly, natural home.
It’s said that the greenest building is the one that’s already built, because so much energy is embodied in the existing structure.
With greater public awareness of the need for energy independence, the issue of how we can make our existing homes more resource-efficient is becoming ever more critical. Residential buildings make up a large fraction of our energy needs, largely due to heating and air-conditioning. So it’s no longer enough to simply do the small stuff, like switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, or turning down the thermostat at night.
In The Greened House Effect, author Jeff Wilson brings his twenty-five years of construction experience and hands-on knowledge of home building to bear on making our current houses cleaner, greener, more comfortable, and healthier. Think of a deep energy retrofit (DER) as a “whole home makeover”—one that represents a significant investment, but that saves money from the get-go by capturing the energy you “drop on the ground” every month, every year, through inefficiency, poor design, or simply living in a typical older home. This isn’t a book about freezing in the dark, but a solution that allows us to live more comfortably while making a positive impact in the world.
“We can’t buy our way out of the current and impending crises with the latest and greatest high-tech. We can’t buy our way out of it by simply replacing our old stuff with newer, “greener” stuff. That approach only assures that we will continue to experience the vicious circle of energy waste and dependence. I would argue, though, that we can save our way out of these problems,” writes Wilson.
Using his own family’s retrofit of their 1942 home as a prime example, Wilson weaves a readable narrative at a practical, hammer-and-nail level. He presents the solutions to our building and energy problems, making them seem possible for average homeowners and small contractors by offering the right balance of information, skills, financing strategies, and materials.
Technical information is presented in sidebars and graphs, and numerous color photos illustrate the process, including:
Wilson’s building experience, along with his lifelong passion for energy issues, all come together to form an inspirational, can-do approach to making our community, our nation, and our world a better place—one home at a time.