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)