Recent books on sustainability and the environment, featuring foraging: and the raising of chickens.

There are lots of ideas to get your teeth into this month, some of them literally!

Syndetics book coverNew eco homes / Manel Gutiérrez.
New Eco Homes features twenty-two sustainable homes from around the globe that showcase the newest innovations in environmentally minded home design. Inside you’ll find the latest design strategies such as various ways to use natural light and ventilation to reduce energy consumption, new methods to integrate home construction into the surrounding landscape, and the numerous recycled and green construction materials that are available today. Specific topics covered include climate regulation, drainage systems, and regional planning. Accompanying each project is a series of colorful photographs, floor plans, and detailed drawings that illustrate sustainable features… Whether you’re an architect, a designer, or a homeowner looking for new ways to update your home to make it more eco-friendly, this inspiring book is the perfect resource for creating a welcoming and sustainable home.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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 ; a Quivira Coalition project.
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. The “two percent” refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work done. As White explained in Grass, Soil, Hope, a highly efficient carbon cycle captures, stores, releases, and recaptures biochemical energy, mitigating climate change, increasing water storage capacities in soil, and making green plants grow. …a wide variety of innovative ideas and methods that put carbon back into the soil have been field-tested and proven to be practical and profitable. They’re mostly low-tech, too, relying on natural resources such as sunlight, green plants, animals, compost, beavers, creeks, and more…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to thrive in the next economy : designing tomorrow’s world today / John Thackara.
“John Thackara has spent a lifetime roving the globe in search of design that serves human needs in a sustainable way. He believes that in our eagerness to find technological solutions to the big challenges faced by the human race, we have all too often ignored the astonishing creativity generated when people work together and in harmony with the world around them. Drawing on an inspiring range of examples, from a temple-led water management system in Bali that dates back hundreds of years to an innovative e-bike collective in Vienna, Thackara shows that below the radar of the mainstream media there are global communities creating a replacement economy from the ground up… Ultimately optimistic, Thackara believes that through a huge variety of quiet, piecemeal changes of thought and action, we are coming to a tipping point: the end of one civilization but the beginning of another.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding a better nest : living lightly at home and in the world / Evelyn Searle Hess.
“For fifteen years, Evelyn Hess and her husband David lived in a tent and trailer, without electricity or running water, on twenty acres of wild land in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. When they decided to build a house – a real house at last – they knew it would have to respect the lessons of simple living that they learned in their camping life… Green building and sustainable design are popular buzzwords, but to Hess, sustainable building is not a simple matter of buying and installing the latest recycled flooring products. It is also about cooperative work: working together in employment, in research, in activism, and in life. Hess is concerned with her local watershed, but also with the widening income gap, disappearing species, and peak resources… As Hess and her husband age, the questions of how to live responsibly arise with greater frequency and urgency. With unfailing wit and humor, she looks for answers in such places as neuroscience, Buddhism, and her ancestral legacy…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover365 nature : projects to connect you with nature every day / Anna Carlile.
365 Nature reveals the ways we can weave creativity, the environment and ‘wild’ fun into our everyday lives through 80 inspiring projects and activities, from sprouting your own seeds and building a birdhouse, to fashioning a dreamcatcher or making your own herbal teas. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions make total immersion in nature simple. Make a kite and go fly it; weave your own basket; mix natural body creams; or just be a child again – make a mess, get dirt under your fingernails, smell the rain… 365 Nature is your ticket to unhurried, unstructured, unencumbered connection with nature. So throw open the doors and let the great outdoors in!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBig world, small planet : abundance within planetary boundaries / Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum ; with Peter Miller.
Big World, Small Planet probes the urgent predicament of our times: how is it possible to create a positive future for both humanity and Earth? We have entered the Anthropocene–the era of massive human impacts on the planet–and the actions of over seven billion residents threaten to destabilize Earth’s natural systems… the authors combine the latest science with compelling storytelling and amazing photography to create a new narrative for humanity’s future. Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum… contend that we have unprecedented opportunities to navigate a “good Anthropocene.” …With eloquence and profound optimism, Rockström and Klum envision a future of abundance within planetary boundaries–a revolutionary future that is at once necessary, possible, and sustainable for coming generations.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRooftop garden design / edited by David Fletcher.
“…Green roofs – the ultimate in sustainable building practices – continue to generate enormous interest and enthusiasm among architects, landscape designers, and urban planners. This richly illustrated book provides a comprehensive guide to contemporary trends in rooftop garden design, and provides definitive theory and design industry knowledge. …The designers provide details on the benefits of their rooftop gardens, offering readers profound inspiration and informative reviews of the work, design considerations, operation and maintenance…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaising chickens for dummies / by Kimberly Willis with Rob Ludlow.
“This new edition of Raising Chickens For Dummies provides the most up-to-date, thorough information on the many aspects of keeping chickens in your backyard. Inside, you’ll find hands-on, easy-to-follow instructions on choosing and purchasing chickens, constructing housing for your birds, feeding your chickens for optimal health, combating laying issues, controlling pests and predators, optimizing egg production, and much more…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe thrifty forager / Alys Fowler ; photography by Simon Wheeler.
“Alys Fowler takes a fresh look at foraging, encouraging you to look closer to home, from the weeds in your garden to the trees in your street, rather than the fields and hedgerows of the countryside. Alys showcases her favourite edibles with a plant directory packed with useful information – photographic identification, plant description and tips on how to grow and how to eat it (including recipes such as fruit leathers and chutney) – that will give you the confidence to identify plants yourself. The book also features innovative ideas for eating your local landscape, from community gardens in Todmorden, UK to Edimental (edible ornamentals) gardens in Norway – this is a fastgrowing, global phenomenon that is fun, environmentally friendly and thrifty!” (Syndetics summary)