In an era when incomprehensibly complex issues like Peak Oil and Climate Change dominate headlines, practical solutions at a local level can seem somehow inadequate.
In response, Lyle Estill's Small Is Possible introduces us to "hometown security," with this chronicle of a community-powered response to resource depletion in a fickle global economy. True stories, springing from the soils of Chatham County, N.C., offer a positive counter balance to the bleakness of our age.
This is the story of how one small southern U.S. town found actual solutions to actual problems. Unwilling to rely on government and wary of large corporations, these residents discovered it is possible for a community to feed itself, fuel itself, heal itself and govern itself.
This book is filled with newspaper columns, blog entries, letters and essays that have appeared on the margins of small town economies. Tough subjects are handled with humor and finesse. Compelling stories of successful small businesses from the grocery co-op to the biodiesel co-op describe a town and its people on a genuine quest for sustainability.
Everyone interested in sustainability, local economy, small business and whole foods will be inspired by the success stories in this book.
Author: Lyle Estill
A remarkable cast of characters inhabit the pages of this book. Meet Tim Toben, who developed a high rise with the lowest energy consumption of any building in the southeastern United States, was foreclosed upon, and lost millions in the process. Gary Phillips held the line against real estate developers in Chatham County and was run out of office for his efforts. Elaine Chiosso has been protecting her watershed by fighting on behalf of the Haw River for 28 years.
Unflinchingly honest and compulsively readable, Small Stories, Big Changes provides an intimate look at the personal experience of being a pioneer in the sustainability movement, laying bare the emotional, spiritual and financial impact of a life lived in the service of change. Activist, farmer, publisher, philosopher or entrepreneur; each writer has a unique personal tale to tell.
Small Stories, Big Changes is a book written by ordinary people doing extraordinary things; whose lives have been transformed by their willingness to commit themselves unreservedly to the creation of a better world. Empowering, hopeful and inspiring, this rich tapestry of voices from the vanguard of societal change is a must-read for anyone dreaming of a brighter future and seeking a counterbalance to a canon of work that is laced with doom and gloom.
Author: Lyle Estill
America's once-vibrant small-to-midsize cities-Syracuse, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass.; Akron, Ohio; Flint, Mich.; Rockford, Ill.; and others-increasingly resemble urban wastelands. Gutted by deindustrialization, outsourcing and middle-class flight, disproportionately devastated by metro freeway systems that laid waste to the urban fabric and displaced the working poor, and struggling with pockets of poverty reminiscent of postcolonial squalor, small industrial cities have become invisible to a public distracted by the Wall Street (big city) versus Main Street (small town) matchup. These cities would seem to be part of America's past, not its future. And yet, journalist and historian Catherine Tumber argues in this provocative book, America's gritty Rust Belt cities could play a central role in a greener, low-carbon, relocalized future.
As we wean ourselves from fossil fuels and realize the environmental costs of suburban sprawl, we will see that 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.
Tumber, who has spent much of her life in Rust Belt cities, traveled to 25 cities in the Northeast and Midwest-from Buffalo, N.Y., to Peoria, Ill., to Detroit to Rochester, N.Y.-interviewing planners, city officials and activists, and weaving their stories into this exploration of small-scale urbanism. Smaller cities can be a critical part of a sustainable future and a productive green economy. Small, Gritty, and Green will help us develop the moral and political imagination we need to realize this.
Author: Catherine Tumber
Has the threat of urban terrorism, debacles such as the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or just the general hassle of city life got you thinking about moving to the country? Good idea, but before you pull up stakes, here's a chance to learn about some of the realities of rural living that you might never have faced in your city or suburban home. Ragnar Benson grew up on a farm and has lived in the sticks for decades, and he has helped dozens of transplants settle into their new homes in the country. Now he has gathered his advice into this handy familiarization manual to introduce you to some of the issues you need to know about life in rural communities. Get an informed head start on the adventure, independence and tranquility of a new life in rural America.
Author: Ragnar Benson
Author and researcher Linda Masterson knows what it's like to flee a wall of flames in the middle of night, with just minutes to escape with her life and very little else. Her home in northern Colorado burned to the ground in the Crystal Fire in 2011. Now she's sifted through information, resources and expert advice from across the country to put together a practical handbook and personal pocket guide for homeowners who want to be better prepared if disaster strikes.
Author: Linda Masterson
An experienced street paramedic gives a detailed crash course in the administration of emergency care under the most life-threatening conditions. Tactical Medicine is an excellent introduction to providing critical medical care when lives hang in the balance — both yours and your patients'. Learn the three stages of tactical medicine; the vital priorities of administering first aid under fire; the realities of setting up an efficient triage system; the must-have equipment and supplies for a tactical medical kit; the best methods for transporting your gear while on the scene; the differences between law enforcement and military field care; and much more. Whether you are a medic assigned to a SWAT team or military unit, an EMT thinking of entering police work or just someone who is interested in this dynamic field of medicine, you will benefit from this book.
Author: Ian McDevitt
The Backyard Cow covers everything you need to know, from selecting the right breed to understanding your cow’s behavior; providing shelter, health care, and daily maintenance; grooming; milking; and making cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products from your milk.
Author: Sue Ann Weaver
Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?
The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Author Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy.
Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, The Biochar Solution describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes. Biochar and carbon farming can reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system; bring new life to desert landscapes; filter and purify drinking water; and help build carbon-negative homes, communities and nations.
Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.
Author: Albert K. Bates
For a growing number of people, simplicity has been a path to experience the joy in life, to cherish its richness and vitality. It strips away the burdens of our daily lives so that we are left with exhilaration, spirit and fullness. These people are finding that less -- less work, less rushing, less debt -- is more -- more time with family and friends, more time with community, more time with nature, and more time to develop a meaningful and compelling spirituality.
In The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life, author Cecile Andrews helps you discover and create the good life for yourself. She is renowned for her workshops on voluntary simplicity and her seminars on creating simplicity circles, where people explore their own life stories and share information and knowledge, helping one another develop lives of simplicity and satisfaction. The circles do not only give people the tools to change, but they also fill unmet needs for community and intimacy and the desire to search for truth in the company of kindred spirits.
Author: Cecile Andrews
The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm describes not only the history of the D Acres project, but its evolving principles and practices that are rooted in the land, its inhabitants and the joy inherent in collective empowerment.
For almost 20 years, D Acres of New Hampshire has challenged and expanded the common definition of a farm. As an educational center that researches, applies and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming, D Acres serves more than just a single function to its community. By turns it is a hostel for travelers to northern New England, a training center for everything from metalworking and woodworking to cob building and seasonal cooking, a gathering place for music, poetry, joke-telling and potluck meals, and much more.
While this book provides a wide spectrum of practical information on the physical systems designed into a community-scale homestead, author Josh Trought also reviews the economics and organizational particulars that D Acres has experimented with over the years.
The D Acres model envisions a way to devise a sustainable future by building a localized economy that provides more than seasonal produce, a handful of eggs and green appliances. With the goal of perennial viability for humanity within their ecosystem, D Acres is attempting an approach to sustainability that encompasses practical, spiritual and ethical components. In short: They are trying to create a rural community ecology that evolves in perpetuity.
No other book contains such a wealth of innovative ideas and ways to make your farm or homestead not only more sustainable, but more inclusive of, and beneficial to, the larger community. Readers will find information on such subjects as:
Emphasizing collaboration, cooperation and mutualism, this book promises to inspire a new generation of growers, builders, educators, artists and dreamers who are seeking new and practical ways to address today’s problems on a community scale.
Author: Josh Trought
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment and enhance your comfort, but how do you decide which improvements are the most beneficial and cost-effective? Completely revised to incorporate the latest developments in green technology, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings is the definitive resource for consumers who want to better their home's performance while reducing their energy bills.
Well-organized and highly readable, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings begins with an overview of the relationships between energy use, economics and the environment. Updated and expanded chapters focus on specific aspects of any home, such as heating and cooling, ventilation, electronics, lighting, cooking and laundry, and provide helpful explanations for each, including:
This comprehensive resource is packed with tips on improving existing equipment and guidance for when and why to invest in new purchases, as well as a reminder to check local government and utilities for purchase or retrofit grants or incentives. It is a must-read for anyone concerned about reducing both their energy bills and their environmental impact.
Author: J Amann, A Wilson, K Ackerly
Long embraced by corporations that are driven only by the desire for profit, industrial agriculture wastes precious resources and spews millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year, exacerbating climate change and threatening the very earth and water on which we depend. However, this dominant system, from which Americans obtain most of their food, is being supplanted by a new paradigm.
The Emergent Agriculture is a collection of 14 thematic essays on sustainability viewed through the lens of farming. Arguing that industrial food production is incompatible with the realities of nature, science and ethics, this lyrical narrative makes the case for a locally based food system that is:
A revolution in food production is underway. Written from the vantage point of an ecologist who is also a farmer, The Emergent Agriculture is essential reading for anyone interested in food security and the potential for growing local economies. It’s food for thought about the future of food.
Author: Gary Kippel
In the Summer of Love in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, a charismatic young hippie by the name of Stephen Gaskin launched "Monday Night Class" - a weekly event which drew together an eclectic mix of truth-seekers and flower children. Soon the class became a caravan, and after touring the country this colorful crew decided to seek a plot of land and found a commune based on their shared values. Thus was born The Farm in Summertown, Tenn.
The Farm Then and Now presents the story of a group that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to intentional community and creating a model for sustainable living. Just as the Monday Night Classes taught students to open their hearts and minds, The Farm continues as a school of change, demonstrating ways to operate collectively in terms of:
For humans to survive as a species, we must re-learn the skills needed to work together; the lessons of The Farm can be applied in any community or organization. The Farm Then and Now addresses both the successes and shortcomings of this unique ongoing social experiment, showing how what was once the largest commune in the world has evolved into an exceptional example of living lightly on the earth.
Author: Douglas Stevenson
There has never been a better time to make and sell great cheese. People worldwide are consuming more high-quality, handmade cheese than ever before. The number of artisan cheesemakers has doubled in recent years, and many of the industry's newcomers are "farmstead" producers — those who work only with the milk of their own animals. More than ever before, the people who choose to become farmer-cheesemakers need access to the knowledge of established cheese artisans who can help them build their dream.
Few career choices lead to such extremes of labor, emotion and monetary challenge. In The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, respected cheesemaker, instructor and speaker Gianaclis Caldwell walks would-be producers through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions they will face when considering a career in this burgeoning cottage industry. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as:
Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers' experiences, Caldwell brings to life the story of creating a successful cheesemaking business in a practical, organized manner. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in becoming a licensed artisan cheesemaker, The Farmstead Creamery Advisor will also appeal to the many small and hobby-farm owners who already have milking animals and who wish to improve their home dairy practices and facilities.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Gianaclis Caldwell
Passive is the new green. Passive Houses, well-insulated and virtually airtight buildings, can decrease home heating consumption by an astounding 90 percent, making them not only an attractive choice for current and prospective homeowners, but also the right choice for a sustainable future. The Greenest Home showcases 18 of the world's most attractive Passive Houses by forward-thinking architects such as Bernheimer Architecture, Olson Kundig Architects and Onion Flats, among many others. Each case study consists of a detailed project description, plans and photographs. Including a mix of new construction and retrofit projects built in a variety of site conditions, The Greenest Home is an inspiring sourcebook for architects and prospective homeowners, as well as a useful tool for students and builders alike.
Author: Julie Torres Moskovitz
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On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg in south central Kansas. In the desperate days immediately after the catastrophe, town leaders-including the ex-cop mayor, the city manager, and an environmentalist from Colorado - launched a program to rebuild Greensburg green. Just like the name of the town. Before the tornado, Greensburg was slowly dying, a village about to be buried in the Great Plains. Now it is a mecca for eco-tourists. Author Robert Fraga taught math for 20 years in Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Later he taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin and Baker University in Kansas. His two books on mathematics are entitled Calculus Problems for a New Century and War Stories from Applied Math. He and his wife Jean Grant, parents of two grown children, live in Lawrence, Kan., and the Dordogne region of France.
Author: Robert Fraga
As the movement to eat what is grown locally gains momentum, there is an increasing awareness of how best to incorporate this philosophy into our everyday lives. We can grow our own food and buy food grown locally at food cooperatives and markets, but what happens when we eat out? There are a number of chefs around the country dedicated to using only the freshest, locally grown ingredients in all the dishes they prepare and serve. This book takes the reader on a private tour of outstanding chefs of the Long Island area and their gardens. Each profile reflects the chef's personal style, cultural background, desire for healthy, just-picked ingredients, and gardening philosophy. Recipes, plant lists, garden layouts, and color photos are included.
Author: Leeann Lavin
In the How-To Guide to Building With Straw Bales (Load Bearing) DVD, you'll discover how this form of construction uses the bales themselves as the structural element of the home.