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Bees at the Library!

They are here! You probably read about our new resident bees up on the rooftop of the Central Library.

Dompost article

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Here are a few “behind the scenes” photos we took as we brought the bees in. The bees arrived in the boot of a car, tightly strapped and wrapped, making their way up the library rooftop on library trolleys… They are library bees after all!
(Click on images to enlarge)

UnloadingBW

The hives were secured to pallets we had installed some weeks before. Their little doorways were opened.

Arrival of the bees Arrival of the bees

It was very exciting to watch the first bee come out of the mysterious wooden boxes we had been peering at!

Arrival of the bees

As Cenna was watching her brood anxiously, more or more bees came out and discovered their new environment.

Arrival of the bees

Arrival of the bees Arrival of the bees
Some bees landed on our shoulders as if to say hi.

Arrival of the bees
The weather wasn’t great but everything went well and we came back to very active and happy bees a few days later.  After months of preparations, we could finally celebrate the arrival of our new residents!
Arrival of the bees

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Our first book this time is in two parts – the Mega City set of problems, and the second part a Garden City set of solutions. This is followed by the Bridget Williams Books published text Three cities, by Rod Oram.

Syndetics book coverGarden city, mega city : rethinking cities for the age of global warming / Patrick Bingham-Hall, WOHA Architects.
“In the age of global warming, the relentless growth of mega cities is destroying our planet, and that concerns all of us… Garden city, mega city illustrates the depressing realities of life in the mega cities, and documents the ill-advised planning decisions that created such blighted environments. But it also proposes a way to escape what currently appears to be an inevitable fate, one of terminal dysfunction. Mega cities have been re-imagined as 21st century garden cities… dense and vertical, yet sociable and sustainable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThree cities : seeking hope in the Anthropocene / Rod Oram.
“Orthodox is obsolete; conventional is kaput. We thought we knew how we make economics, politics, technology and nature work for us. But increasingly, they are failing to run by the rules and systems we’ve honed over recent decades… Pioneers around the world are seeking new values, systems and technologies. Thus equipped we might achieve the unprecedented, speed, scale and complexity of change we need to meet the immense challenges of the twenty-first century…” (Adapted from publisher)

Syndetics book coverThe ultimate guide to natural farming and sustainable living : permaculture for beginners / written and illustrated by Nicole Faires.
“A beautiful, comprehensive guide to going green and living sustainably. Permaculture is an important but often misunderstood method of growing food and building homes in a manner that works with nature, rather than against it, to create beautiful, healthy, and useful gardens. Blending ecology, organic agriculture, green home design, appropriate technology, and biology can be confusing and overwhelming, but The Ultimate Guide to Natural Farming and Sustainable Living simplifies this vast field for practical application.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe good dirt / Xanthe White.
“Improving soil health for more successful gardening. In The Good Dirt, landscape designer Xanthe White goes beneath the surface to reveal the secrets to successful gardening. As the title suggests, this book is all about the soil we find in our garden and more particularly how we can maximize its growing potential. If you’ve ever wondered why some plants thrive in one location but struggle in your own backyard you’ll be likely to find explanations in the soil below…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sustainable cookbook.
“Learn to buy, cook & eat sustainably with our collection of environmentally-conscious recipes & tips – discover sustainable storage methods, how to buy in season, minimise your kitchen wastage & make better ethical & organic shopping choices.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverWild things, wild places : adventurous tales of wildlife and conservation on planet Earth / Jane Alexander.
“In Wild Things, Wild Places, Jane Alexander movingly, with a clear eye and a knowing, keen grasp of the issues and on what is being done in conservation and the worlds of science to help the planet’s most endangered species to stay alive and thrive, writes of her steady and fervent immersion into the worlds of wildlife conservation, of her coming to know the scientists throughout the world–to her, the prophets in the wilderness–who are steeped in this work, of her travels with them–and on her own–to the most remote and forbidding areas of the world as they try to save many species, including ourselves.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

beesThe bee friendly garden : easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow / Doug Purdie.
“A grower’s handbook to attracting bees and other beneficial insects.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMissed information : better information for a wealthier, fairer, and more sustainable world / David Sarokin and Jay Schulkin.
“In Missed Information, David Sarokin and Jay Schulkin explore information — not information technology, but information itself — as a central part of our lives and institutions. They show that providing better information and better access to it improves the quality of our decisions and makes for a more vibrant participatory society. The authors examine the opacity of corporate annual reports, the impenetrability of government secrets, and emerging techniques of “information foraging.” The information imbalance of power can be reconfigured, they argue, with greater and more meaningful transparency from government and corporations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScience and the city : the mechanics behind the metropolis / Laurie Winkless.
“…Winkless spends more time on the future in which cities must deal with overpopulation, global warming, and resource exhaustion. Tirelessly curious, she turns up an array of dazzling developments in the works, including driverless cars, pollution-free sources of locally generated energy, and an advanced “Internet of Things” in which every device anticipates personal needs.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

From permaculture to cohousing and small space gardening, lots of tips to keep your sustainable life style going well! And some reasons for others to take it up…

Syndetics book coverCreating cohousing : building sustainable communities / Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett.
“Cohousing offers unparalleled opportunities for building a better life. Whether urban, suburban or rural; senior or intergenerational; retrofit or new, Creating Cohousing shows how these distinctive communities can foster cooperation and a sense of belonging, use resources more efficiently, and make everything form gardening to childcare to socializing simpler and more enjoyable.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverNanotecture / Rebecca Roke.
“The most wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive book on small-scale architecture ever published. An inspiring, surprising and fun collection of 300 works of small-scale architecture including demountable, portable, transportable and inflatable structures as well as pavilions, installations, sheds, cabins, pods, capsules and tree houses.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA world to live in : an ecologist’s vision for a plundered planet / George M. Woodwell.
“A century of industrial development is the briefest of moments in the half billion years of the earth’s evolution. And yet our current era has brought greater changes to the earth than any period in human history. The biosphere, the globe’s life-giving envelope of air and climate, has been changed irreparably… The earth is a living system, Woodwell explains, and its stability is threatened by human disruption…” (adapted from (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe birth of the Anthropocene / Jeremy Davies.
“The world faces an environmental crisis unprecedented in human history. Carbon dioxide levels have reached heights not seen for three million years, and the greatest mass extinction since the time of the dinosaurs appears to be underway. Such far-reaching changes suggest something remarkable: the beginning of a new geological epoch. It has been called the Anthropocene… Linking new developments in earth science to the insights of world historians, Jeremy Davies shows that as the Anthropocene epoch begins, politics and geology have become inextricably entwined.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ultimate guide to natural farming and sustainable living : permaculture for beginners / written and illustrated by Nicole Faires.
“…Permaculture is an important but often misunderstood method of growing food and building homes in a manner that works with nature, rather than against it, to create beautiful, healthy, and useful gardens. Blending ecology, organic agriculture, green home design, appropriate technology, and biology can be confusing and overwhelming, but The Ultimate Guide to Natural Farming and Sustainable Living simplifies this vast field for practical application. This is a hands-on guide…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTipping point for planet earth : how close are we to the edge? / Anthony D. Barnosky and Elizabeth A. Hadly.
“Four people are born every second of every day. Conservative estimates suggest that there will be 10 billion people on Earth by 2050. That is billions more than the natural resources of our planet can sustain without big changes in how we use and manage them. So what happens when vast population growth endangers the world’s food supplies? Or our water? Our energy needs, climate, or environment? Or the planet’s biodiversity? What happens if some or all of these become critical at once? Just what is our future? …We still have the chance to avoid the tipping point and to make the future better…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe city grower : design, create & manage a small food-growing plot / Matt Franks ; photography by Rachel Warne.
“Think you don’t have the time or space to grow your own food? Think again. The City Grower shows you how to find spaces suitable for growing no matter their size, and gives you the skills to grow around a busy lifestyle in a simple, five-step process: the plot, the build, planting, maintenance and harvest… With great tips on up-cycling of discarded materials, keeping pests at bay with household items, when to grow which veg and where, plus how to use your smartphone for maximum yield, this is the perfect book for any aspiring city grower…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetreat from a rising sea : hard decisions in an age of climate change / Orrin H. Pilkey, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, Keith C. Pilkey.
“Melting ice sheets and warming oceans are causing the seas to rise. By the end of this century, hundreds of millions of people living at low elevations along coasts will be forced to retreat to higher and safer ground. Because of sea-level rise, major storms will inundate areas farther inland and will lay waste to critical infrastructure, such as water-treatment and energy facilities, creating vast, irreversible pollution by decimating landfills and toxic-waste sites.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTreading on thin air : atmospheric physics, forensic meteorology, and climate change : how weather shapes our everyday lives / Elizabeth Austin, Ph. D.
“In Treading on Thin Air, Dr. Elizabeth Austin, a world-renowned atmospheric physicist, reveals how the climate is intimately tied to our daily lives. The effects and impacts of weather on humans, society and the planet are changing with the times. Dr. Austin will demystify climate change, revealing what is really happening with our climate and why, whether it is El Nino, tornadoes, floods or hurricanes.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Our books this time are a diverse mix, from oil, gardening, London, tiny houses, to Thailand’s sufficiency thinking.

Syndetics book coverTiny houses built with recycled materials : inspiration for constructing tiny homes using salvaged and reclaimed supplies / Ryan Mitchell.
“The tiny house movement is a big trend with a very small footprint. Extremely small houses, with less than 1,000 square feet of space, are environmentally friendly, less expensive than typical homes, and often movable… Ryan Mitchell, author of The Tiny Life blog, shows you how to repurpose everyday items to create your new home, including shipping containers, salvaged barn wood, and reclaimed shingles. Featuring profiles on tiny house owners with photographs and floor plans of the homes, Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is a unique book perfect for your biggest DIY project yet!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe urban wildlife gardener : how to attract birds, bees, butterflies, and more / Emma Hardy.
“If you would like to attract wildlife to your garden, you need to learn which plants to grow, how to provide nesting areas, when to prune shrubs or mow the grass and when to leave well alone, how to deal with weeds, how to create a pond for tadpoles and frogs, and more. The choice of plants is important, including shrubs which provide berries as food for birds, tall plants to attract bees and dragonflies, and night-scented plants to attract moths and bats. Discover how to turn a pile of logs into a home for ladybugs and other insects, how to plant a hedge to provide cover for small mammals, and how to make simple birdhouses and feeders…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverContamiNation : my quest to survive in a toxic world / McKay Jenkins.
“An investigation into the dangers of the chemicals present in our daily lives, along with practical advice for reducing these toxins in our bodies and homes, from acclaimed journalist McKay Jenkins.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverTwo percent solutions for the planet : 50 low-cost, low-tech, nature-based practices for combatting hunger, drought, and climate change / Courtney White.
Two Percent Solutions for the Planet profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality. White expands what he calls the “regenerative toolbox,” to include holistic grazing, edible forests, biochar, weed-eating livestock, food co-ops, keyline plowing, restoration agriculture, bioenergy, aquaponics, animal power, Farm Hack, bees, bears, wildlife corridors, rainwater harvesting, native seeds, and various other projects from across the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Australia.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCan a city be sustainable? / Gary Gardner, Tom Prugh, and Michael Renner.
“Cities are the world’s future. Today, more than half of the global population–3.7 billion people–are urban dwellers, and that number is expected to double by 2050. There is no question that cities are growing; the only debate is over how they will grow. Will we invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities? …Success stories come from places as diverse as Ahmedabad, India; Freiburg, Germany; and Shanghai, China. In many cases, local people are acting to improve their cities, even when national efforts are stalled…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSufficiency thinking : Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world / editors, Gayle C. Avery, Harald Bergsteiner.
“The Thai model of sufficiency thinking aims to transform the mindset of a whole population to achieve the seemingly impossible: enriching everyone’s lives in a truly sustainable way. Innovative management practices developed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand have been applied across Thailand in agriculture, education, business, government, and community organizations for over two decades. In this book, chapters written by eminent Thai scholars explain sufficiency thinking and review its implementation in different sectors including community development, business, agriculture, health care, schools, and even in prisons.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThirst for power : energy, water and human survival / Michael E. Webber.
“…Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. This farsighted book offers a new, holistic way of thinking about energy and water–a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure the continuing sustainability of both” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSlow burn city : London in the twenty-first century / Rowan Moore.
“…The city must change, of course, but Moore explains why it should do so with a ‘slow burn’, through the interplay of private investment, public good and legislative action. Fiercely intelligent, thought-provoking, lucidly written and often outrageously and uncomfortably funny, Slow Burn City is packed with fascinating stories about the physical fabric of London in the twenty-first century. But by seeing this fabric as the theatre of social and cultural struggles, Moore connects the political and architectural decisions of London’s enfeebled and reactive government with the built environment that affects its inhabitants’ everyday lives.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe oracle of oil : a maverick geologist’s quest for a sustainable future / Mason Inman.
“In 1956, geologist and Shell Oil researcher Marion King Hubbert delivered a speech that has shaped world energy debates ever since…: U.S. oil production would peak by 1970 and decline steadily thereafter… In a deeply researched narrative that mines Hubbert’s papers and correspondence for the first time, award-winning journalist Mason Inman rescues the story of a man who shocked the scientific community with his eccentric brilliance…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGarden revolution : how our landscapes can be a source of environmental change / Larry Weaner, Thomas Christopher.
“This lushly-photographed reference is an important moment in horticulture that will be embraced by anyone looking for a better, smarter way to garden. Instead of picking the wrong plant and then constantly tilling, weeding, irrigating, and fertilizing, Weaner advocates for choosing plants that are adapted to the soil and climate of a specific site and letting them naturally evolve over time. Allowing the plants to find their own niches, to spread their seed around until they find the microclimate and spot that suits them best, creates a landscape that is vibrant, dynamic, and gorgeous year after year.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books on Sustainability and the environment

This issue has a variety of resource books including an econest home, practiculture, sustainable gardening, natural homekeeping and new art projects which show respect for the environment.
A wide range of topics for those who wish to lead a sustainable life!

Syndetics book coverThe energy-freedom home : how to wipe out electricity and gas bills in nine steps / Beyond Zero Emissions.
“The average Australian household spends over $2,000 a year on gas and electricity bills. Now, not only can you reduce those bills, but you can even wipe them out, while making your home more comfortable. …There is already a quiet revolution under way as renewable energy and energy efficiency transform the way we generate and use electricity and gas. Over 1.4 million households in Australia now have rooftop solar – and, as a result, the costs of solar energy have plummeted, making it more accessible for the average home-owner. …The Energy-Freedom Home explains nine steps that can be taken – in any order – to become more energy efficient.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall house living / Catherine Foster.
“Smart, space-efficient houses are becoming the way of the future. Small House Living showcases an inspiring collection of homes measuring less than 90m2 from around New Zealand. Family homes, baches and apartments are included in the line-up; all of them demonstrating ingenious ways to reduce space and cut costs within a design-enriched environment. Small House Living is a book in tune with the current preoccupation with creating affordable housing solutions. Anyone interested in living well with less will find inspiration in the compact yet highly considered homes featured.” (Syndetics summary)

An interesting book from last year:
Syndetics book coverThe compost-powered water heater : how to heat your water, greenhouse, or building with only compost / Gaelan Brown.
“Here is a revolutionary approach for heating rooms and generating hot water. Author and compost-heat-recovery specialist Gaelan Brown has worked with engineers and compost scientists for years to refine methods of composting that can heat greenhouses, barns, buildings, and hot water, all without combustion.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverFood for thought : changing the world one bite at a time / Vanessa Kimbell ; photography by Laura Edwards.
“Inspired by ethically sourced, sustainable ingredients available from the average supermarket, Vanessa shows how what you cook can make a real difference to those who produce it and to the environment. Recipes are simple, unfussy and easy to cook at home – making everyday classics ethical and sustainable – with chapters focusing on Basics, Getting Ahead in the Kitchen, Simple Suppers, Feeding Children, Leisurely Weekend Food and Special Occasions. Let Vanessa inspire you to adapt the way you cook and change the world one delicious bite at a time.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNatural processes in textile art : from rust dyeing to found objects / Alice Fox.
“Bring the rhythms of nature into your craft! More and more textile artists are using natural processes in their work, from dyeing with rust to incorporating found and scavenged items. This is the first book dedicated to this popular topic, with advice on how to work creatively with what’s close at hand. Bury your embroidery to give it a patina, make sun prints with found objects, and do “beachcombing weaving.” These projects, along with examples from the best contemporary artists, show respect for the environment, and capture a strong sense of place, calm, and contentment.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hands-on home : a seasonal guide to cooking, preserving & natural homekeeping / Erica Strauss ; photographs by Charity Burggraaf ; illustrations and lettering by Kate Bingaman-Burt.
“Create the DIY home you’ve always wanted with over 100 recipes, tips, and inspirational ideas from blogger Erica Strauss ( Northwest Edible Life ). Covering everything from cooking, canning and preserving to making your own nontoxic home and personal care products, this fresh take on modern homemaking wil help you make the most of your time, effort, and energy in the kitchen and beyond…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWill Bonsall’s essential guide to radical, self-reliant gardening / Will Bonsall.
“In Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don’t always make sense ecologically, and vice versa… For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs, Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture–not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA year of practiculture / Rohan Anderson.
“Rohan Anderson left his desk job in the city for the richer pleasures of living a simpler life on the land. Over the years he has developed his own principle of practical living. Practiculture is a lifestyle choice. It’s about direct involvement in the day to day elements of living, and at the heart of it, the rewarding choice to grow, hunt and forage beautiful, healthy, sustainable food.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe end of doom : environmental renewal in the twenty-first century / Ronald Bailey.
“In Ecoscam, Ronald Bailey strongly countered environmentalist alarmism, using facts to demonstrate just how wildly overstated many claims of impending ecological doom really were. Now, twenty years later, he is back to assess the future of humanity and the global biosphere. Bailey finds, contrary to popular belief, that many present ecological trends are quite positive. Including: Falling cancer incidence rates in the US, the likelihood of a declining world population by mid-century, the abundant return of agricultural land to nature. Global warming is a problem, but the cost of clean energy could soon fall below that of fossil fuels. In The End of Doom, Bailey avoids polemics and offers a balanced, fact-based and ultimately hopeful perspective on our current environmental situation.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe econest home : designing & building a light straw clay house / Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert LaPorte.
“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 clay straw, timber framing, earthen floors, natural plasters, and other natural techniques with the principles of Building Biology to create a handcrafted living sanctuary. 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…” (Syndetics summary)

Sustainability and the Environment

Attempting to live a sustainable life-style? Our selection this time includes Homesteading, Foodscaping, using renewable energy, composting, foraging and also finding art supplies from the natural world. Something for everyone!

Syndetics book coverHomesteading : a backyard guide to growing your own food, canning, keeping chickens, generating your own energy, crafting, herbal medicine, and more / edited by Abigail R. Gehring.
“Who doesn’t want to shrink their carbon footprint, save money, and eat homegrown food whenever possible? Even readers who are very much on the grid will embrace this large, fully illustrated guide on the basics of living the good, clean life. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or even the wilderness, there is plenty you can do to improve your life from a green perspective. Got sunlight? Start container gardening. With a few plants, fresh tomato sauce is a real option with your own homegrown fresh tomatoes. Reduce electricity use by eating dinner by candlelight (using homemade candles, of course). Learn to use rainwater to augment water supplies. Make your own soap and hand lotion. Consider keeping chickens for the eggs…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe garden forager / Adele Nozedar ; illustrated by Lizzie Harper.
“In high-end restaurants and in the home, more and more cooks have discovered the joy of using natural, foraged ingredients. But, what few realise is that you don’t necessarily have to go rootling in hedgerows or woodlands to find them. Many of our own gardens contain an abundance of edible and medicinal plants, grown mainly for their ornamental appearance. Most gardeners are completely unaware that what they have actually planted is a rather exotic kitchen garden. The Garden Forager explores over 40 of the most popular garden plants that have edible, medicinal or even cosmetic potential, accompanied by recipes, remedies, and interesting facts, and illustrated throughout in exquisite watercolours by Lizzie Harper. This beautifully illustrated book redefines how we look at our gardens and unleashes the unknown potential of everyday plants – making it a must-have for anyone interested in gardening, cooking, or foraging.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFoodscaping : practical and innovative ways to create an edible landscape / Charlie Nardozzi.
“…Foodscaping is what it sounds like – a combination of landscaping and food… Incorporating food-bearing plants as hedgerows and barriers or in small spaces, containers, window boxes and many more ideas allow you to expand the types of plants you can use and even extend your growing season! For example, blueberry bushes provide not just fruit, but also wonderful fall color. Arbors and pergolas are perfect supports for edible plants and even simplify harvest. Squash and cabbage have attractive, interesting leaf textures, so they can be a part of the ornamental garden. Foodscaping also goes beyond mere plant selection. The basics of gardening, planting, pruning, dealing with pests, watering, feeding, and harvesting are all covered in detail, ensuring your success in creating a beautiful, edible landscape for your home.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe organic artist : Make your own paint, paper, pens, pigments, prints, and more from nature / Nick Neddo.
“”It’s time to go back to basics! If you’re interested in art, but find that it’s becoming an increasingly expensive hobby, The Organic Artist is just the book for you! It encourages us all to return to those days when art was made with all-natural materials, such as charcoal and birch bark. Immersing you in the natural world, The Organic Artist seeks to inspire creativity by connecting you to your organic roots. In addition to offering a wide variety of suggestions for using nature as supplies for art, this book also introduces the concepts of awareness and perception that are foundational to the creative process. Readers will refine drawing skills, as well as increase their appreciation for the visual arts and the natural landscape. Some of the projects and skills covered include the following: making paper and wild ink, working with soapstone, clay, wood, and rawhide, printmaking and stenciling, natural pigments and dyes, camouflage and body painting, and nature journaling”– Provided by publisher.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe renewable energy home handbook : insulation & energy saving, living off-grid, biomass heating, wind turbines, solar electric PV generation, solar water heating, heat pumps, & more– / Lindsay Porter.
The Renewable Energy Home Handbook is biased towards the practical, and covers the installation of all leading types of alternative domestic energy sources – from ground- and air-source heat pumps, PV solar electricity generation and solar water heating, to bio-mass domestic heating systems and wind turbines. Discussing the pros and cons of each technology, it also provides you with a clear overview of what’s genuinely required and the benefits to be gained from each system. The author, Lindsay Porter, is best known for his books on motor vehicle technology, making car mechanics and body repairs easy to understand and carry out. But alternative energy and conservation have long been a passion for him and his wife, Shan, so this manual is very much a labour of love. Here, Lindsay applies his commitment to making difficult subjects easy for everyone to understand to the money-saving – planet-saving – systems we can apply to our homes.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHomemakers : a domestic handbook for the digital generation / Brit Morin.
“…Over the past three generations, the rules of homemaking and our very notions of what a homemaker is and does have radically changed. We are still a nation of makers, but we are crafting and creating beyond the home, in both the analog and digital worlds. And in the next ten years, “making” and “homemaking” will evolve further. Tomorrow’s women will find themselves actually manufacturing everything from decor to clothing, from right inside their homes. In Homemakers, Brit Morin, founder of the wildly popular lifestyle brand and website Brit + Co., reimagines homemaking for the twenty-first century. While today’s generation thrives in the virtual world, they like to work and create in the physical world…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCompost city : practical composting know-how for small-space living / Rebecca Louie.
“Millions of city dwellers want the real dirt on composting. Whether they’re staunch environmentalists or urbanites touting green as the new black, folks who compost are the latest force joining backyard chickeners, balcony beekeepers, and community gardeners in helping cities get down to earth. Packed with research, expert testimonies, and a healthy dose of humor, Compost City gives us essential strategies on composting in small, shared, diversely crowded spaces… From hobbyists in studio apartments to activists on rooftop farms, Compost City serves the millions of curious, adventurous, and/or eco-minded people who care about going green but feel limited by their limited space.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening on a shoestring : 100 ways to creative a garden on a budget / Alex Mitchell ; photography by Sarah Cuttle.
“In our increasingly busy and chaotic world, more and more of us are turning to gardening as a way to create a pleasant space to be in. However, as we continue to tighten our purse strings, the cost can make the pastime a source of further stress rather than one of pleasure. Alex Mitchell’s Gardening on a Shoestring is full of inventive ways to achieve the garden you want on a budget, whether you are creating one from scratch or improving what you already have. Packed with money-saving tips, it combines classic gardening skills with simple, creative ideas. Sometimes it’s about going back to the old ways of doing things, techniques in danger of being forgotten; other times it’s about adapting to the new, saving money on equipment by making your own from inexpensive materials or knowing how to get bargains from nurseries and garden centres. So learn how to prune before you panic buy, grow food for peanuts, create pots for a pittance, propagate plants for nothing and make your own plant feed from weeds – all for next to nothing.” (from Amazon.co.uk)

Recent books about Sustainability and the Environment

This time we feature a book about David Oien, who decided to stand up to corporate agribusiness by growing organic lentils, and who now leads a group of farmers who have formed the successful “Timeless Natural Food”.
Other topics covered in this issue are; sustainable housing; designed landscapes; developing an ecosystem, whatever size, to live in; naturally bug-free gardening and what happened when the author “threw it all in for a peaceful life in the country…”

Syndetics book coverSustainable : houses with small footprints / Avi Friedman.
“…Sustainable presents forty-five houses that demonstrate how architects have implemented sustainable design concepts around the world. These projects show us what time-tested vernacular design principles–including local materials, natural ventilation strategies, and earth shelter construction–can teach us, as well as how the latest cutting-edge technologies–such as indoor farming and “living walls” made of plant material–can make truly sustainable design possible. The variety and ingenuity of the projects featured here make Sustainable a uniquely coherent and authoritative volume on sustainable residential design.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe water-wise home : how to conserve, capture, and reuse water in your home and landscape / Laura Allen.
“…environmental science expert Allen has crafted a user-friendly guidebook that covers every angle of home water use and plumbing. In addition to steering readers through the basics of setting up composting toilets and rainwater catchment systems, the author also covers the installation of a piping system that makes invaluable use of greywater; that is, water from showers, sinks and washing machines that would otherwise go down the drain. Allen shows how greywater diversion can irrigate plants and trees, and she provides critical advice on appeasing skeptical neighbors and health authorities.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe age of sustainable development / Jeffrey D. Sachs ; foreword by Ban Ki-Moon.
“Sachs… surveys the great dilemma facing civilization: how to ensure broadly inclusive economic growth, especially in the poorest countries, without destroying the natural environment and deranging the climate on which survival depends. Deploying clear, straightforward prose and a wealth of statistics … he follows the threads of this knotty problem from their scientific and economic roots to their potential solutions in new technologies and a mix of market dynamics and vigorous government action. Sachs balances alarming forecasts with signs of progress, giving brief, even-handed rundowns of policy prescriptions such as carbon taxes, foreign aid to help Africa escape its “poverty trap,” and reforms of America’s hideously expensive private health-care system.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLentil underground : renegade farmers and the future of food in America / Liz Carlisle.
“Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness launched a campaign to push small grain farmers to modernize or perish – ‘Get big or get out.’ But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand. When he dropped out of grad school to return to his family’s 280-acre farm, Oien became the first in his conservative Montana country to seed his fields with a radically different crop: organic lentils… Today, David Oien leads a thriving movement of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand name Timeless Natural Food, this ‘lentil underground’ has grown into a million-dollar enterprise that sells to hundreds of independent natural food stores and a host of renowned restaurants.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLandscape and urban design for health and well-being : using healing, sensory and therapeutic gardens / Gayle Souter-Brown.
“…Gayle Souter-Brown explores the social, economic and environmental benefits of developing greenspace for health and well-being. She examines the evidence behind the positive effects of designed landscapes, and explains effective methods and approaches which can be put into practice by those seeking to reduce costs and add value through outdoor spaces. Using principles from sensory, therapeutic and healing gardens, Souter-Brown focuses on landscape’s ability to affect health, education and economic outcomes…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDirty chick : adventures of an unlikely farmer / Antonia Murphy.
“…Sitting in traffic on your morning commute, with a day of staring at a screen and answering emails ahead of you, you catch yourself wondering: what if I threw it all in for a peaceful life in the country? Antonia Murphy knows the feeling – and she did something about it. Swapping deadlines for feeding times, traffic jams for homemade cheese, Antonia transplanted her husband and children to a small farm in rural New Zealand. But it turns out that collecting your own organic eggs isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe nourishing homestead : one back-to-the land family’s plan for cultivating soil, skills, and spirit / Ben Hewitt with Penny Hewitt.
“…The Nourishing Homestead tells the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another. The Hewitts offer practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food on a small plot of land, and think about your farm, homestead, or home as an ecosystem. …what they have gleaned is readily transferable to any place — whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres, or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe naturally bug-free garden : controlling pest insects without chemicals / Anna Hess.
“…the Naturally Bug-Free Garden will show you how to bring your garden ecosystem into balance so that beneficial insects and larger animals do the work of pest control for you. Anna Hess has had seven years of experience growing all of her family’s vegetables. Here, she sums up all of her knowledge and expertise, teaching you many hands-on pest-control techniques, such as succession planting, choosing resistant plant varieties, and shielding plants with row covers…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent Sustainability and Environment books

A book on DiY WiFi features this time: “It brings to life an Australian version of WiFi”.

Syndetics book coverSustainability : the basics / Peter Jacques.
“Sustainability is concerned with the issues around the ongoing and mutual preservation of both society and the environment. It is a widely used term and supposed goal for many governments but it is also easily misunderstood. Sustainability: The Basics offers an accessible and interdisciplinary introduction to the concept, and discusses key questions such as: How do we decide who or what should be sustained? What lessons can we learn from the collapse of previous civilizations? Sustainability studies is in a position to ask some of the most interesting questions about human purpose, identity, modernity, ethics, and the nature of “progress”.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarvesting Space for a greener Earth / Greg Matloff, C. Bangs, Les Johnson.
“What was our planet like in years past? How has our civilization affected Earth and its ecology? Harvesting Space for a Greener Planet, the Second Edition of Paradise Regained: The Regreening of the Earth, begins by discussing these questions, and then generates a scenario for the restoration of Earth. It introduces new and innovative ideas on how we could use the Solar System and its resources for terrestrial benefit… Not only will the solutions offered here avert a crisis, they will also provide the basis for continued technological and societal progress.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDiY WiFi : re-imagining connectivity / Katrina Jungnickel.
“Who makes WiFi? Why do different makers matter? What do barbeques and backyards have to do with the internet? This book explores how WiFi is made from the ground up, or in this case from the backyard out. Forged around barbeques, made of found, adapted and off-the-shelf materials and installed in ordinary domestic spaces, this book documents the collective work of individuals committed to making ‘Ournet not the internet’. Drawing on rich ethnographic material, Jungnickel’s research on community WiFi networking provides an overdue account of the innovative digital cultures and practices of ordinary people making extra-ordinary things.” (from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSustainability : a history / Jeremy L. Caradonna.
“The word is nearly ubiquitous: at the grocery store we shop for “sustainable foods” that were produced from “sustainable agriculture”; groups ranging from small advocacy organizations to city and state governments to the United Nations tout “sustainable development” as a strategy for local and global stability; and woe betide the city-dweller who doesn’t aim for a “sustainable lifestyle.” Seeming to have come out of nowhere to dominate the discussion-from permaculture to renewable energy to the local food movement-the ideas that underlie and define sustainability can be traced back several centuries.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe self-sufficient home : how to provide for your family and prepare for the unexpected / Nancy Hoffman.
“Whether you’re looking to lead a healthier life, protect the environment, or save money, The Self-Sufficient Home will show you have to transition from your current lifestyle to a self-sufficient one with in-depth advice that you can start using right now. You’ll not only improve your day-to-day life with these basic living skills, but you will also prepare yourself for any disaster that might arise in your area. Complete with detailed instructions for living more simply, this book teaches you everything you need to know about building a self-sufficient home…” (adapted from book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe compost-powered water heater : how to heat your water, greenhouse, or building with only compost / Gaelan Brown.
“Here is a revolutionary approach for heating rooms and generating hot water. The author has worked with engineers and compost scientists to refine methods of composting that can heat greenhouses, barns, buildings, and hot water, all without combustion.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle house in the suburbs : backyard farming and home skills for self-sufficient living / Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin.
“Gardens, goats and chickens in the suburbs? Absolutely! The easy to follow advice in this book will show you everything you need to know to enjoy an abundant, independent life on food and products grown in your own backyard.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverA place in the sun : green living and the solar home / Stephen Snyder ; introduction by John Hix.
“Green living meets good design in this luxuriously illustrated volume. These environmentally responsible, perfectly designed solar-powered houses will inspire readers to see their homes as places that can blend sustainability and beauty. The book vividly demonstrates that living green does not have to mean sacrificing comfort and living with less. In truth, it is living with so much more-peace of mind, better health, and the elegance of sustainable design that maximizes natural lighting, natural ventilation, and natural textures and materials and puts an emphasis on craftsmanship.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

You can now reserve our Power Meters!

Elto EMA1 Power Mate Lite

Our POWER METERS  have proven quite successful and due to popular demand, they can now be reserved. So, you don’t have to leave it to chance anymore and hope that one will be available when you come and visit the Central library. Wherever you are in Wellington, you can reserve your own unit to be delivered to your nearest branch.

Just click here !

Just like a book or a DVD, you can take one of our power meters home and test your appliances to get a better picture of what your big power users are.

They cost $5.00 to borrow for 10 days.

Here are copies of the instructions for your reference:

ELTO EMA1:

Elto EMA1 Power Meter Instructions

For more details, see the  User-Friendly Guide

POWER-MATE LITE:

Power-Mate Lite Quick-Start

Power-Mate Lite Full Instructions

powermeters_carousel

Sustainability and the Environment – Recent picks for September

New books this month include: making your own green cleaning products, New Zealand’s sanctuaries that are saving native creatures from extinction, and a book explaining about solar power being the best solution to our energy needs, and why we should embrace solar technology.

Syndetics book coverThe wastewater gardener : preserving the planet one flush at a time! / Mark Nelson ; foreword by Tony Juniper. “Part wake-up call, part memoir, this book is a humorous look at innovative ways for dealing with human waste that respect the water cycle-a wastewater garden is a trademarked method for using water-tolerant plants to process sewage as part of a septic system. Ecosystem engineer and researcher Nelson describes his career in detail, starting with desert farming in New Mexico and two years in the sustainability experiment of Biosphere 2. ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClean green : it won’t cost the earth! / Caroline Leslie. “Written in a fun, factual and easy-to-follow manner, Clean Green will not only teach you how to become more eco~friendly and chemical~aware, it will also help you to gain a great sense of achievement, contribution and satisfaction along the way. A fantastic, handy and practical guide that every home should have! Inside you’ll learn: exactly which toxic chemicals are in your “conventional” cleaners and what they are doing to you and your family’s health; why cleaning GREEN is better for you, your home and the environment; how to save $$$ by buying green cleaning ingredients and products; the “GREEN 14″ – 14 key ingredients to achieving your Green Cleaning status; and practical, eco-friendly tips and hints to maintain a thoroughly green home and lifestyle.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGroundbreaking food gardens : 73 plans that will change the way you grow your garden / Niki Jabbour. “Vegetable gardens can be designed for flavor AND fun! Niki Jabbour, author of the best-selling The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, has collected 73 plans for novel and inspiring food gardens from her favorite superstar gardeners. You’ll find a garden that provides salad greens 52 weeks a year, another that supplies your favorite cocktail ingredients, one that you plant on a balcony, one that encourages pollinators, one that grows 24 kinds of chile peppers, and dozens more. Each plan is fully illustrated and includes a profile of the contributor, the story behind the design, and a plant list.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoisoned planet : how constant exposure to man-made chemicals is putting your life at risk / Julian Cribb. “Man-made chemicals are creating a silent epidemic. Our children are sicker; cancer, obesity, allergies and mental health issues are on the rise in adults; and, frighteningly, we may be less intelligent than previous generations. A poisoned planet is the price we are paying for our lifestyles, but Julian Cribb shows we have the tools to clean it up and create a healthier, safer future for us all.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParadise saved : the remarkable story of New Zealand’s wildlife sanctuaries and how they are stemming the tide of extinction / David Buter, Tony Lindsay & Janet Hunt. “”Tells the gripping story of how we are turning back the tide of extinction. It is a celebration of pioneering science and a national survey of the sanctuaries, little and big, that are protecting native species and reintroducing them to areas where they had once been extinct. It covers over 130 sanctuaries, with up to date information on where to find them, how to visit and how to do your part”–Back cover.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShrewdunnit : the nature files / Conor Mark Jameson. “”Conor Mark Jameson has spent most of his life exploring the natural environment and communicating his enthusiasm for it to family, friends and, more recently, readers of a range of newspapers and magazines. Shrewdunnit brings together the best of these dispatches, alongside unpublished essays, in a poetic and evocative journal that inspires and delights. Jameson’s prose is fresh and in places irreverent, with a hint of mischief and a dash of wit. From his back door to the peaks of New Zealand and the swamp forests of the Peruvian Amazon, he carries on the biogumentary style he perfected in his earlier books showing – never telling – how to bring nature and conservation home.”–Cover.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe burning answer : a user’s guide to the solar revolution / Keith Barnham. “Our civilisation faces a choice. In three generations we have consumed half the oil produced by photosynthesis over eight million generations. With threats from global warming, oil depletion and nuclear disaster, we are running out of options. Solar power, as Keith Barnham explains, is the solution. In THE BURNING ANSWER he uncovers the connections between physics and politics that have resulted in our dependence on a high-carbon lifestyle. Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 led to the atomic bomb and the widespread use of nuclear energy. In a fascinating tour of recent scientific history, Keith Barnham reveals Einstein’s other, less famous equation, which provides the basis for solar technology. Some countries have harnessed this for their energy needs, and it is not too late for us to do the same.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdventures in the Anthropocene : a journey to the heart of the planet we made / Gaia Vince. “Our planet is said to be crossing a geological boundary – from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. Gaia Vince decided to quit her job at science journal Nature , and travel the world at the start of this new age to explore what these changes really mean… She found ordinary people solving severe crises in ingenious, effective ways. Take the retired railway worker who’s building artificial glaciers in the Himalayas, for example, or the Peruvian painting mountains white to retain snowfall…” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverEating wildly : foraging for life, love and the perfect meal / Ava Chin. “Chin, who writes the “Wild Edibles” column for the New York Times, goes looking for love, blackberries, and wild garlic in this wildly uneven, yet warmly exhilarating memoir. Trekking through Central Park and other urban beaten paths and backyards, Chin leads us on a journey of discovery as she searches for the tender shoots poking through cement cracks and hardy wild plants resisting winter’s bite.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMatt’s kitchen garden cookbook / Matt Moran ; photography by Rob Palmer. “With his characteristic light touch and elegant flavour combinations, it’s easy to see why Matt Moran is one of Australia’s most successful chefs. Here, he shares his passion for Australian produce and his admiration and appreciation of gardeners, whether they be commercial, hobby or student.” (Syndetics summary)


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