Recent books on Sustainability and the Environment

The Benevolent Bee book cover

Nurturing a village, the Natural Home, and Building the Cycling City head up our interesting line-up of books for this edition!

Image from BWBMountains to sea : solving New Zealand’s freshwater crisis / edited by Mike Joy.
“The state of New Zealand’s freshwater has become an urgent public issue in recent years. From across the political spectrum, concern is growing about the pollution of New Zealand’s rivers and streams. We all know they need fixing. But how do we do it? In Mountains to Sea, leading ecologist Mike Joy teams up with thinkers from all walks of life to consider how we can solve New Zealand’s freshwater crisis. The book covers a wide range of topics, including food production, public health, economics and Maori narratives of water. Mountains to Sea offers new perspectives on this intractable problem.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe village : grown & gathered / by Matt & Lentil.
“A comprehensive chapter with practical advice on setting up a natural garden to feed your village will help you get the basics right: the importance of soil and sun, garden design, planting guides and projects, and natural pest control. The Village is about nurturing and being nurtured, by growing, cooking and eating together – whether it’s dropping a loaf of bread around to a neighbour, or spending an afternoon making a big batch of pickles with your mates. It is about food, but beyond food. It is for everyone who wants to embrace the fullness of life in all its mess, for everyone who wants to connect. Because we all deserve it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe natural home : tips, ideas & recipes for a sustainable life / Wendyl Nissen ; photography by Emily Hlaváč Green.
“Wendyl Nissen shares her approach to living a balanced and sustainable life based on an old-fashioned model of growing and cooking your own food, avoiding artificial products and doing your best to avoid letting unnecessary chemical cocktails into your life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMicro living : 40 innovative tiny houses equipped for full-time living, in 400 square feet or less / by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen.
“For everyone who’s ever dreamed of simplifying their life and downsizing their home, Micro Living offers an insider’s look at what tiny house living is really like. Best-selling author and tiny house enthusiast Derek “Deek” Diedricksen profiles 40 tiny — but practical — houses that are equipped for full-time living, all in 400 square feet or less. With tips on what to consider before you build, along with framing plans for a prototype small cabin, Micro Living is the perfect starter handbook for both dreamers and doers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Building the cycling city : the Dutch blueprint for urban vitality / Bruntlett, Melissa
Building the Cycling City examines the triumphs and challenges of the Dutch while also presenting stories of North American cities already implementing lessons from across the Atlantic. Discover how Dutch cities inspired Atlanta to look at its transit-bike connection in a new way and showed Seattle how to teach its residents to realize the freedom of biking, along with other encouraging examples.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Smart homes and communities : fostering sustainable architecture / Friedman, Avi
“Avi Friedman, PhD, is a Professor of Architecture at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he directs the Affordable Homes Research Group. He is also a practicing architect specializing in sustainable residential design and is known internationally for his housing innovation, in particular for The Grow Home and The Next Home, which were built in several countries. In the year 2000, he was selected by Wallpaper magazine as one of 10 people from around the world most likely to change the way we live in the new millennium.” (Book jacket)

The benevolent bee : capture the bounty of the hive through science, history, home remedies and craft / Bruneau, Stephanie
“Get the buzz on bees, honey, hive behavior, and all the things you can make with bee products in The Benevolent Bee. Beekeeper, herbalist, and artist Stephanie Bruneau explores six amazing products of the honeybee hive–honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, and bee venom. Learn how to make a salve for burns and a cough syrup from raw honey; how to make a tincture, an infused oil, and a mouthwash from propolis, the anti-bacterial “bee glue” that lines the inside of the hive; and much more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Movable architecture
“Focusing on the requirement for energy-efficient sustainable architecture with a small carbon footprint, this book explores the many ways in which containers can be renovated to create housing and more. With environmentally friendly design, low associated costs and ease of mobility, containers could be a great future contributor to the development of low-carbon architecture. In addition to the case studies, design guidelines are supplied alongside information regarding the relevant construction standards for container buildings, making this book both inspirational and a practical source of resources for designers and architects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Milkwood : real skills for down-to-earth living / Bradley, Kirsten
“Get started living a homegrown life with the hugely popular Aussie permaculture educators, Milkwood.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSmarter homes : how technology has changed your home life / Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino.
“This book presents the opportunities in the homespace that will come from understanding the history and multiple players that have contributed to the development of the home in general. You’ll start by breaking down the historical, societal and political context for the changes in focus of that ‘smartness’ from affordability, efficiency, convenience to recently experimentation. The second half of the book then reviews what current developments tell us about what our homes will look like in the next 10 years through the lens of spaces, services, appliances and behaviours in our homes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sustainability and Environment Recent Picks

Turning the Tide book cover

A new NZ book called Eco Home heads the list this time. It is ‘packed with practical and accessible information’ (book jacket), and is very well illustrated with beautiful pictures of NZ homes.

Eco home : smart ideas for sustainable New Zealand homes / Williams, Melinda
“Presents the modern home by moving from room to room, to look at structural materials, furnishings and general life hacks to improve your personal green-star rating. As well as the living spaces (kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, office, living area, utility rooms and outdoor areas) it also looks at the wider issues – why make an eco home at all? Also covered are: principles of sustainable building, choosing a property, building a team of professionals, foundations and floors, the structure and the shell.” (Catalogue)

The honey factory : inside the ingenious world of bees / Tautz, Jürgen
“Bee hives might look like seething anarchy at first glance, but bees know exactly what they are doing. The universe of the beehive is an intricately organised, delicately balanced ecosystem. From the mighty queen to the lowliest worker bees, each bee plays its part in the whole. The Honey Factory plunges the reader into the invisible life of a bee colony and reveals the secrets of this fascinating world. How do worker bees come to a collective decision? What does the honey bees’ waggling dance communicate? What provokes the sexual excesses of the young queen bee? And why is the precious relationship between humans and bees a matter of species survival?” (Catalogue (adapted))

Waste not : make a big difference by throwing away less / Rhoads, Erin
“What if it were possible to live a modern life with less waste? That’s where Erin Rhoads, aka The Rogue Ginger, comes in. Erin knows that small changes can have a big impact. In Waste Not she shares everything she’s learnt from her own funny, inspiring–and far-from-perfect–journey to living with less waste. Including genuinely accessible and easy tips, this book is perfect for both the novice and the eco-aware.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Raise happy chickens : how to raise healthy chickens and other poultry in your outdoor space / Roberts, Victoria
Raise Happy Chickens is a quickly accessible but authoritative guide, suitable for total beginners, that provides all the information you need to start keeping your own chickens. Telling you which breed of bird lays best and providing useful guidance on housing, equipment and the necessities of day-to-day care, it meets all the needs of anyone who dreams of a garden full of happy, clucking birds. It also goes beyond just chickens to other types of poultry, and gives advice and practical guidelines on housing, with full explanation of key areas like welfare, behavior, and diet.” (Catalogue)

Small is necessary : shared living on a shared planet / Nelson, Anitra
“Amidst crisis and fragmentation, the need for sociable, practical and sustainable housing is manifest. For centuries now, economists and governments have been relentlessly focused on growth. Bigger is always better, it seems.
But on a planet of finite resources, something has to give. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With Small Is Necessary, Anitra Nelson show how shared living can help us solve a wide range of the social, economic, and sustainability challenges that we face today. Detailing a number of innovative approaches to shared living, she reveals a new way to think about our place in the world, one that is outward-looking, culturally rich, and ecologically sustainable.” (Catalogue)

Wilding : the return of nature to a British farm / Tree, Isabella
“Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp in West Sussex was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself. In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’ and what it reveals of the ways in which we might regain that wilder, richer country. It shows how rewilding works across Europe; that it has multiple benefits for the land; that it can generate economic activity and employment; how it can benefit both nature and us – and that all of this can happen astonishingly quickly.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Buzz : the nature and necessity of bees / Hanson, Thor
“Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part, unseen… In Buzz,the award-winning author of Feathers and The Triumph of Seeds takes us on a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young. From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They’ve given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing.” (Catalogue)

How to grow & eat your own super foods / Dickinson, Becky
“In an age of clean eating and fad diets, the term super food has become synonymous with inflated prices and overstated claims about the disease-fighting, anti-aging, life-enhancing powers of certain foods. This lively, engaging book weeds out the hype and unearths the secrets of what makes a food a super food. Discover a wide array of fruits and vegetables all with their own super qualities, and learn how to sow and plant them yourself, free from chemicals and full of goodness.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Turning the tide on plastic : how humanity (and you) can make our globe clean again / Siegle, Lucy
“Enough plastic is thrown away every year to circle the world 4 times. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans each year. 300 million tonnes of new plastic is produced every year. An estimated 15-51 trillion pieces of plastic now litter the world’s oceans. 38.5 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK. A million plastic bottles are used per minute around the world. 500 million plastic straws are used per year. Without big action, at the current rate, pieces of plastic will outnumber fish in the ocean by 2050. That is the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Planting for honeybees : the grower’s guide to creating a buzz / Lewis, Sarah Wyndham
“Our gardens would be unrecognizable without the gentle buzz of the humble honeybee. Yet in recent years bee populations have suffered from th loss of green spaces and need our help. Planting for Honeybees is a charmingly illustrated, practical guide on how to help attract these delightful pollinators – whether you only have a city window ledge or a whole country garden.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Nurture book cover

A history of the world in seven cheap things leads our books this time. We also have books on living with nature, farm and rural life, and a guide to giving up plastic for good.

Syndetics book coverCreate & maintain your own smallholding : a guide to sustainable self-sufficiency / Liz Wright ; foreword by Rosemary Champion.
“Learn how to set up your own smallholding, grow your own fruit and vegetables, rear chickens, pigs, lambs and other livestock to help you create a sustainable, organic lifestyle. This excellent new guide brings the heart of the land to your table, with advice on where to buy, how to maintain and create a long term plan for an organic lifestyle.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cheesemaking workshop : handmade cheeses and the beautiful meals they create / Lyndall Dykes.
“With practical, hands-on instructions and guided step‑by‑step photographs, advice and tips, The Cheesemaking Workshop demystifies the cheesemaking process turning it into a fun, accessible and economical new skill for every home cook. As you commence cheesemaking, you will find each step has photographic illustration as well as an explanation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNurture : notes and recipes from Daylesford Farm / Carole Bamford.
“More than 40 years ago, Carole Bamford began a journey towards a more conscious way of life. What began as a desire to make a small difference to the health and future of our planet has grown into an organic business that has won over 100 national and international awards for sustainability and excellence. From a small herd of cows and a farm shop, Daylesford has blossomed into a hugely successful collection of interlinking endeavors that communicate and practice Lady Bamford’s personal vision for a healthier mind, body, and planet.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA place in the country : a guide to creating your patch of rural paradise / Chris Ferreira.
“This is a no-nonsense guide to choosing, establishing and sustaining your patch of rural paradise in Australia and New Zealand. Chris Ferreira brings years of experience, a wealth of knowledge and a great sense of humour to these tasks, covering everything you need to know if you have, or plan to have, a hobby farm. Supplemented with photos, illustrations and checklists, A Place in the Country is essential reading for the rural land owner.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreen utopias : environmental hope before and after nature / Lisa Garforth.
“Environmentalism has relentlessly warned about the dire consequences of abusing and exploiting the planet’s natural resources, imagining future wastelands of ecological depletion and social chaos. But it has also generated rich new ideas about how humans might live better with nature. Green Utopias explores these ideas of environmental hope in the post-war period, from the environmental crisis to the end of nature.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The natural home : simple, pure cleaning solutions and recipes for a healthy house / Louet, Isabelle
“With The Natural Home, you’ll discover how to clean everything in your house the healthy way with just a few inexpensive, easy-to-find products using tried and true cleaning methods that have been around for centuries. Organized by product and location in the home, the book includes an in-depth explanation of natural products like vinegar, lemon, and baking soda which can be used to clean most areas in your home. Also included are recipes for cleaning products you can make on your own that will help disinfect, whiten, deodorize and remove even the toughest stains in bathrooms, kitchen, carpets, and clothing.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverFarming Meat Goats: Breeding, Production and Marketing.
“Goat meat is growing in popularity in Australia and is also an important export industry. It offers many opportunities for large- and small-scale farmers who need to diversify or seek alternative enterprises. Farming Meat Goats provides producers with comprehensive and practical information on all aspects of the goat meat industry. It covers selecting and preparing a property, choosing breeding stock, breeding, health care and nutrition, drought feeding, condition scoring and marketing.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

How to give up plastic : a guide to saving the world, one plastic bottle at a time / McCallum, Will
“Plastic pollution is the environmental scourge of our age. And it is everywhere. Up to 12.7 million tonnes of it enter the ocean every year. That’s almost a rubbish truck every minute. Hundreds of thousands of animals die every year because of it and there could be more plastic in the fish in the ocean by 2050. So what can we do? Will McCallum has been leading Greenpeace’s campaign against plastic and now he shares all that he has learned to help you make a difference. This expert and accessible guide covers all ground, from the easy wins such as using a keep cup for your morning coffee, to the lesser-known hacks like using a wash bag in your washing machine to catch harmful plastic microfibres. But it will also help you be part of something bigger, explaining how to lobby successfully for impactful legislation, and how to pressure big corporations to make changes on a global scale.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A History of the World in 7 Cheap Things book coverA history of the world in seven cheap things : a guide to capitalism, nature, and the future of the planet / Patel, Raj
“Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. In A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analyzing today’s planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding–and reclaiming–the planet in the turbulent twenty-first century.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Farmlife : from farm to table and new country culture
“Fresh eggs. Grandmother’s pickling jars. Backyard orchards. Return to the good life with this inspiring volume. From farm-fresh eggs and herb gardens that enrich home cooked meals to beekeeping to aid in the pollination of small crops, there’s a lifestyle that exists in harmony with our environments. These locales reveal and embrace the many layers of this way of life. Whether autumnal foraging for mushrooms or learning the different flavors of varying apple varietals or enjoying the fresh spring leaves of kale and spinach, Farmlife is a cornucopia of inspiration for living more intentionally and more interactively with our surroundings.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A zero waste life in thirty days / Vandyke, Anita
“In her thirty-day challenge, Anita provides you with the rules, tips and tricks you need to eliminate plastic and live a cleaner, kinder life. This practical book is a call to action with a fresh ‘can do’ approach. Over thirty days you will learn how to make sustainable, ethical choices when it comes to shopping, eating, travel, beauty and so much more. Small changes can make a big difference, and by following these easy, creative steps we can all do more to save our world. These are the inside tips of a waste warrior and former engineer, whose life has changed from excess to eco-luxe. Isn’t that what we all want – a life of happiness, a life of luxury, a life that isn’t wasted?” (Adapted from catalogue)

New non-fiction books on our shelves

New Power

This time, the focus is on the environment, from people and places to animals and agriculture, plus loads more in-between.

Syndetics book coverGround work : writings on people and places / edited by Tim Dee.
“We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the ruinous activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to live in the ruins that we have made? This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, here and abroad, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a rented house in a 50-acre walled estate in Camberley, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock,’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.'” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment:
“The Summer of 2016 revealed a crisis in Britain’s political, economic and media elite. Once successful leaders were dropping everywhere. These multiple crises at the top are no coincidence. It’s a structural problem that has developed over decades. The central theme of the book is that: the British elite has lost control. They can earn more than ever before and their decisions have powerful consequences that are widely felt. They are highly skilled when it comes to pursuing their own self-interests. But, they are also rather less able to exert control or predict the consequences of their actions. What is best for them can often be bad for their organisation, their employees or publics. These failings have an increasingly devastating effect on society and the wider public.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe animals among us : the new science of anthrozoology / John Bradshaw.
“Keeping pets is expensive, time-consuming, and seemingly irrational – so why do so many of us have an animal in our lives? Pet-keeping is much more than just a simple pastime. As John Bradshaw reveals in this highly original new work, our connection with animals is one of the very things that makes us human. …Bradshaw reveals how animals have always been an integral part of our lives- indeed, they have shaped the evolution of our minds and our bodies. Now, as increasing numbers of species are under threat, John Bradshaw warns us that if we lose the animals among us, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“The past is another country, the old saying goes. The same might be said of the future. But which country? For Europeans and Americans today, the answer is Russia. Today’s Russia is an oligarchy propped up by illusions and repression. But it also represents the fulfilment of tendencies already present in the West. And if Moscow’s drive to dissolve Western states and values succeeds, this could become our reality too. In this visionary work of contemporary history, Timothy Snyder shows how Russia works within the West to destroy the West…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)`

Syndetics book coverYou all grow up and leave me : a memoir of teenage obsession / Piper Weiss.
“Piper Weiss was fourteen years old when her middle-aged tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, one of New York City’s most prestigious private instructors, killed himself after a failed attempt to kidnap one of his teenage students. In the aftermath, authorities discovered that this well-known figure among the Upper East Side tennis crowd was actually a frightening child predator who had built a secret torture chamber–a “Cabin of Horrors”–in his secluded rental in the Adirondacks. Before the shocking scandal broke, Piper had been thrilled to be one of “Gary’s Girls.” As reporters swarmed her private community in the wake of Wilensky’s death, Piper learned that her mentor was a predator with a sordid history of child stalking and sexual fetish. But why did she still feel protective of Gary, and why was she disappointed that he hadn’t chosen her…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarth at risk : natural capital and the quest for sustainability / Claude Henry and Laurence Tubiana.
“This book maps out the necessary transition to sustainability, detailing the innovations in science and technology, along with law, institutional design, and economics, that can and must be put to use to avert environmental catastrophe… Though formidable obstacles remain to the realization of this significant transition, Henry and Tubiana present the case for collective initiatives and change that build momentum for implementation and action.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaving Planet Earth : why agriculture and industry must be part of the solution / Dr Duncan A. Rouch ; Dr David F. Smith ; Professor Andrew S. Ball.
“Planet Earth is a minuscule part of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and the only place where we humans can practically live. We all know this, but why are we so slow to fix the major environmental issues which are degrading the quality of life on this one planet? Here Dr Duncan Rouch, Dr David Smith and Professor Andrew Ball answer this question, with an exciting novel response that digs down to explain how we got to this impasse. They also discuss a clear innovative forward strategy, based on a new inclusive definition of environments, that brings in agriculture and industrial companies as key stakeholders for conserving the environment.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHigh-speed empire : Chinese expansion and the future of Southeast Asia / Will Doig.
“Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore; and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of $1 trillion and, reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries. Journalist Will Doig traveled to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to chronicle the dramatic transformations taking place — and to find out whether ordinary people have a voice in this moment of economic, political, and cultural collision.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew power : how it’s changing the 21st century – and why you need to know / Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms.
“For most of human history the rules of power were clear: power was something to be seized, and then jealously guarded. Under this ‘Old Power’ we lived in a world of rulers and subjects. Now, we all sense that something has changed. From #MeToo to Harvey Weinstein; Corbyn to Trump; from YouTube sensations to darker phenomena such as the emergence of ISIS – in our new hyper-connected world, ideas and movements can spread and flourish with astonishing force and speed. In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest story of our age and trace how New Power is the key to understanding where we are and will prosper in the 21st Century.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe coal truth : the fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy / David Ritter.
“Since 2012, the fight to stop the opening of the vast Galilee coal basin has emerged as an iconic pivot of the Australian climate and environment movement. The Coal Truth: the fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy provides a timely and colourful contribution to one of the most important struggles in our national history – over the future of the coal industry. Written by an environmental insider with an eye on the world his daughters will inherit, The Coal Truth is told with wit and verve, drawing in other specialist voices to bring to life the contours of a contest that the people of Australia can’t afford to lose.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRainforest: Dispatches From Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines [hardback]
“Rainforests are the lungs of our planet – regulators of the earth’s temperature and weather. They are also home to 50 per cent of the world’s animals and plants – which for centuries have been the source of many of our key medicines. And yet we’ve all heard of their systematic destruction… But this is the full story you’ve never heard: an in depth, wide-ranging, first-hand narrative that not only looks at the state of the world’s tropical rainforests today and the implications arising from their continuing decline, but also at what is being done, and can be done in future, to protect the forests and the 1.6 billion people that depend upon them…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond Manapouri : 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand / Catherine Knight.
Beyond Manapouri is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand why, in spite of the legislation and institutions put in place to improve the stewardship of our environment, we’re now facing more urgent environmental issues than ever before. In this richly illustrated and engagingly written history, Knight also identifies the cultural shifts that will need to take place if we are to live up to the ‘clean, green’ image we have constructed for ourselves in New Zealand.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books on sustainability and the environment

Low-Cost Living

Self-sufficiency and mindful purchasing highlight our choices for this month. Also featured is A Life Less Throwaway, a title focused on ‘mindful curation’ — encouraging you to carefully choose the items you bring into your life and celebrating what lasts.

Syndetics book coverRetroSuburbia: The downshifter’s guide to a resilient future [paperback]
“This 500 page manual shows how Australians can downshift and retrofit their homes, gardens, communities and, above all, themselves to be more self-organised, sustainable and resilient into an uncertain future. It promises a challenging but exciting mix of satisfying work, a more meaningful way of living and hope for the next generation.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMeet the Frugalwoods : achieving financial independence through simple living / Elizabeth Willard Thames.
“In 2014, Liz Thames and her husband, Nate, were conventional young urban professionals working nine-to-five jobs. But the rat race had worn them down, and they dreamed of becoming modern-day homesteaders in rural Vermont. Determined to retire as early as possible in order to start living each day–as opposed to wishing time away working for the weekends–they enacted a plan to save as much money as they could. In less than three years, Liz and Nate reached their goal. Today they are financially independent and living out their dream with their young daughters on a sixty-six acre homestead in the woods of Vermont.” (adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverDangerous years : climate change, the long emergency, and the way forward / David W. Orr.
“A leading environmental thinker takes a hard look at the obstacles and possibilities on the long road to sustainability. This gripping, deeply thoughtful book considers future of civilization in the light of what we know about climate change and related threats. David Orr, an award-winning, internationally recognized leader in the field of sustainability and environmental education, pulls no punches: even with the Paris Agreement of 2015, Earth systems will not reach a new equilibrium for centuries. The transition, he writes, is beginning from the bottom up in communities and neighborhoods.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaising and keeping dairy goats : a practical guide / Katie Normet.
“A city kid, Katie Normet’s fascination for large animals led her to study animal sciences at university. Today, she and her family run river’s Edge Goat Dairy where Katie oversees a herd of some 75 goats that produce more than 50,000 liters of milk a year. Much of this milk is transformed into delicious yogurt, cheese, soaps and moisturizing creams, which Normet sells at local markets. Raising and Keeping Dairy Goats is Normet’s account of the daily challenges and rewards of life as a goat farmer. She explores all the big-picture issues in goat husbandry, including purchasing, housing, feeding, breeding, kidding, milking, and diseases. There are also chapters on cheese making and soap making with tips and recipes.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSelf-sufficiency handbook : your complete guide to a self-sufficient home, garden, and kitchen / Alan and Gill Bridgewater.
“Worried about ever-rising fuel bills and longing for the day when you can be off-grid and independent? Anxious about the quality of the food you eat and planning to go organic? Yearning to get back to the way it was but don’t know where to start? This book will show you how to achieve the eco-friendly good life. The authors cover the ecological gamut from geothermal heating to crop rotation to soap making. They answer important questions like how much land is really needed to be self-sufficient, whether or not to depend entirely on natural forms of energy, and which farm animals will best meet your needs.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA life less throwaway : the lost art of buying for life / Tara Button.
“Now more than ever, we live in a society where we covet new and shiny things. Not only has consumption risen dramatically over the last 60 years, but we are damaging the environment at the same time. That is why buying quality and why Tara Button’s Buy Me Once brand has such popular appeal. Tara Button has become a champion of a lifestyle called ‘mindful curation’ – a way of living in which we carefully choose each object in our lives, making sure we have the best, most classic, most pleasing and longest lasting – kettles, desks, pots & pans, scissors, coats and dresses, instead of surrounding ourselves with throwaway stuff and appliances with built-in obsolescence. Tara advocates a life that celebrates what lasts, what is classic and what really suits a person.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrow something different to eat / Matthew Biggs.
“Discover more than 50 out-of-the-ordinary edibles, from cucamelons to strawberry popcorn, in this seed-to-plate guide that inspires you to cultivate amazing new fruit and vegetable crops. Whether you’re a beginner and determined to make the most of limited space with a truly unique and heirloom harvest, or a seasoned grower looking to spice up your cooking with gourmet flavors, the step-by-step instructions give you the confidence to grow some unusually tasty crops…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChange here now : permaculture solutions for personal and community transformation / Adam Brock ; with illustrations by Holly White.
“Drawing from ecology, sociology, community economics, social justice, and indigenous practices the world over, Adam Brock presents proven solutions for building resilient and empowered communities. This book provides strategies for organizers, activists, nonprofit directors, social entrepreneurs, or anyone looking for meaning in a chaotic world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFood Is the Solution : What to Eat to Save the World–80+ Recipes for a Greener Planet and a Healthier You
“What we eat will determine what kind of world we live in and what kind of world we live on — and Matthew Prescott proves that meat-heavy diets are destroying the planet. Imagine a world in which we are all healthier. Imagine a world where the air is clean, forests dense, water pure, and animal life healthy. That world is a happier world, a better world — and the delectable plant-based foods Prescott shows us how to prepare in Food Is the Solution will help us create it.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLow-cost living / John Harrison.
“You really don’t need a lot of money to enjoy the good life. This book offers practical ways to save money and energy and make better uses of your resources. When economic conditions are tough, we all need to watch our spending. John Harrison’s simple, tried and tested methods will help you to enjoy a better standard of living while saving money and helping the environment. Discover the benefits of growing your own fruit and vegetables, raising chickens, making butter, cheese and bread, and brewing your own beer. Save energy, save on your bills. Harvest food for free and avoid waste. Play the supermarkets at their own game and get the best deals. See how to recycle, re-use, make do and mend. Find out if solar power is right for you and whether wind power makes domestic sense.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClimate-Wise Landscaping : Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future
“Based on decades of experience, this book is packed with simple, practical steps anyone can take to beautify any landscape or garden, while helping protect the planet and the species that call it home. Topics include: Working actively to shrink our carbon footprint through mindful landscaping and gardening. Creating cleaner air and water. Increasing physical comfort during hotter seasons. Supporting birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHealthy home healthy family : is where you live, affecting your health? : an essential guide for every home / Nicole Bijlsma.
“In the past 30 years, new cancer diagnoses have almost tripled, hospital admissions for life-threatening allergic reactions have increased fourfold, breast cancer has doubled, male sperm count has halved, the age of puberty is declining, dementia has become synonymous with old age, and learning and behavioural disorders in children have skyrocketed. Could these conditions be linked to our homes? YES! Healthy Home Healthy Family is a beautifully designed full colour, hard copy book that explores how industry keeps toxic products in the marketplace, and why the exposure standards for chemicals and electromagnetic fields are not adequate to protect your family.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPractical beekeeping in New Zealand / Andrew Matheson and Murray Reid.
Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand appeals to those interested in apiculture and deciding whether to keep bees, while horticulturalists and farmers find it of particular interest for crop pollination. Given New Zealand’s reputation in world beekeeping the book has also been keenly sought after by beekeepers overseas. Four editions of the book have been published since 1984, including comprehensive updates to include the latest information and developments, particularly on new approaches to beekeeping now the parasitic varroa mite has become established in New Zealand and changed the face of beekeeping forever.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books on Sustainability and the environment featuring homesteading tips and tricks

Image from Syndetics

A wide range of books for the homesteader and for all those passionate about our environment.

Syndetics book coverThe living jigsaw : the secret life in your garden / Val Bourne ; with a foreword by Chris Packham and photography by Marianne Majerus.
“Val Bourne’s garden is living proof that cultivating a healthy ecosystem – what she calls her ‘living jigsaw’ – really can produce a beautiful and productive garden. By encouraging a wide diversity of birds, animals, insects, and even slugs, your garden will find a natural balance that will allow plants to shrug off problems before they become entrenched… Val’s personal, inspirational and practical approach offers tried-and-tested techniques, with beautifully illustrated, proven results.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStorey’s guide to raising dairy goats : breed selection, feeding, fencing, health care, dairying, marketing / Jerry Belanger & Sara Thomson Bredesen.
“This best-selling handbook is packed with detailed information on housing, feeding, and fencing dairy goats. It’s been the trusted resource on the topic for farmers and homesteaders since it was originally published in 1975, and the new edition — completely updated and redesigned — makes Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats more comprehensive and accessible than ever. In-depth sections explain every aspect of milking, including necessary equipment, proper hand-milking techniques, and handling and storing the milk. New color illustrations show each stage of kidding, and substantial chapters on dairy goat health and breeding include the most up-to-date research and practices.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere honeybees thrive : stories from the field / Heather Swan.
“Through a lyrical combination of creative nonfiction and visual imagery, Where Honeybees Thrive tells the stories of the beekeepers, farmers, artists, entomologists, ecologists, and other advocates working to stem the damage and reverse course for this critical pollinator. Using her own quest for understanding as a starting point, Swan highlights the innovative projects and strategies these groups employ. Her mosaic approach to engaging with the environment not only reveals the incredibly complex political ecology in which bees live–which includes human and nonhuman actors alike–but also suggests ways of comprehending and tackling a host of other conflicts between postindustrial society and the natural world…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe community resilience reader : essential resources for an era of upheaval / edited by Daniel Lerch.
The Community Resilience Reader combines a fresh look at the challenges humanity faces in the 21st century, the essential tools of resilience science, and the wisdom of activists, scholars, and analysts working with community issues on the ground. It shows that resilience is a process, not a goal; how resilience requires learning to adapt but also preparing to transform; and that resilience starts and ends with the people living in a community…. building strength and resilience at the community level is not only crucial, but possible.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World [hardback]
“Discover the hidden power soil has to reverse climate change, and how a regenerative farming diet not only delivers us better health and wellness, but also rebuilds our most precious resource–the very ground that feeds us… by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, we can reverse global warming, harvest healthy, abundant food, and eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies, and ultimately our planet…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall house living Australia / Catherine Foster.
Small House Living Australia features 21 small, inspiring Australian homes. Some are clever additions onto tight urban sites- others are tranquil weekenders in deep countryside – what all have in common is a shared belief that good architectural design principles make even the smallest of architectural and ecological footprints possible. With land ever more expensive, growing environmental pressures and an increasing number of small households, architects and designers are responding with great ingenuity to produce both practical and cost-effective buildings, and all the while never sacrificing the most essential of human needs – a beautiful home…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCall of the Reed Warbler : a new agriculture, a new earth / Charles Massy.
“…It is a story of how a grassroots revolution – a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help turn climate change around, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone – from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health – Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. He shows – through evocative stories – how innovative farmers are finding a new way and interweaves his own local landscape, its seasons and biological richness…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn inconvenient sequel : truth to power : your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice, and help solve the climate crisis / Al Gore.
“Vice President Gore, an environmental hero and a leading expert in climate change, brings together cutting-edge research from top scientists around the world; approximately 200 photographs and illustrations to visually articulate the subject matter; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming… Where Gore’s first documentary and book took us through the technical aspects of climate change, the second documentary is a gripping, narrative journey that leaves you filled with hope and the urge to take action immediately. This book captures that same essence and is a must-have for everyone who cares deeply about our planet.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChanging energy : the transition to a sustainable future / John H. Perkins.
“Human societies around the globe have received immense benefits from uses of coal, oil, gas, and uranium sources, yet we must now rebuild our energy economies to rely on renewable sources and use them efficiently. The imperative for a fourth energy transition comes from dangers related to climate change, geopolitical tensions, documented health and environmental effects, and long-term depletion of today’s sources. Changing Energy envisions a viable post-fossil fuel economy and identifies the barriers to be overcome.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA new garden ethic : cultivating defiant compassion for an uncertain future / Benjamin Vogt.
“…Author Benjamin Vogt addresses why we need a new garden ethic, and why we urgently need wildness in our daily lives — lives sequestered in buildings surrounded by monocultures of lawn and concrete that significantly harm our physical and mental health. He examines the psychological issues around climate change and mass extinction as a way to understand how we are short circuiting our response to global crises, especially by not growing native plants in our gardens. Simply put, environmentalism is not political, it’s social justice for all species marginalized today and for those facing extinction tomorrow…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOutskirts : living life on the edge of the green belt / John Grinrod ; [illustrations by Eleanor Crow].
“Green belts are part of the landscape and psyche of post-war Britain, but have led to conflicts at every level of society – between conservationists and developers, town and country, politicians and people, nimbys and the forces of progress. …John discovers strange hidden places, from nuclear bunkers to buried landfill sites, and along the way meets planners, protestors, foresters and residents whose passions for and against the green belt tell a fascinating tale of Britain today…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Get the buzz on bees & the environment with these new books

Once again, bees are the most popular topic in our sustainability and the environment post this month!

Syndetics book coverAdvanced top bar beekeeping : next steps for the thinking beekeeper / Christy Hemenway.
“Bee populations are plummeting worldwide. Colony Collapse Disorder poses a serious threat to many plants which rely on bees for pollination, including a significant proportion of our food crops. Top bar hives are based on the concept of understanding and working with bees’ natural systems, enabling top bar beekeepers to produce honey and natural wax while helping bees thrive now and in the years ahead…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild foods : looking back 60,000 years for clues to our future survival / Vic Cherikoff.
“Are the foods we source from supermarkets or even growers’ markets really providing the nutritional requirements we need to maintain good health? ‘Wild foods’ explores the consequences of eating a modern diet sprayed with pesticides and lacking in essential dietary fibre, protein and micro-nutrients. You will find how wild foods can help correct the imbalance and strengthen our health … Illustrated with beautiful colour photographs, this is a must-have guide for those who want to live healthier lives.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe benevolent bee : capture the bounty of the hive through science, history, home remedies and craft / Stephanie Bruneau.
“A honeybee hive produces much more than honey; it also produces pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, and bee venom. And humans have found uses for all these products. The Benevolent Bee will describe how and why the bees make these products, how they’ve been used by humans throughout the ages, and how beekeepers harvest the products. It will also present simple do-it yourself recipes for using the products in health and wellness, body care, nutrition, and craft.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFolk fashion : understanding homemade clothes / Amy Twigger Holroyd.
“A dynamic resurgence in sewing and knitting is under way, with many people enjoying making and mending their own garments at home. However, stories abound of homemade clothes languishing at the back of the wardrobe. Amy Twigger Holroyd draws on ideas of fashion, culture and craft to explore makers’ lived experiences of creating and wearing homemade clothes in a society dominated by shop-bought garments. Using the innovative metaphor of fashion as common land, Folk Fashion investigates the complex relationship between making, well-being and sustainability…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSunlight and seaweed : an argument for how to feed, power and clean up the world / Tim Flannery.
“Acclaimed scientist Tim Flannery investigates exciting new technologies currently being developed to address our most pressing environmental threats in a book that presents a positive future for us and our planet. Climate change, food production and toxic pollution present huge challenges, but, as Flannery shows, we already have innovative, practical and inspiring solutions. Solar energy has, until now, been limited to supplying power only when the sun is shining. But new technology using concentrated sunlight to provide intense heat energy that can be effectively stored overcomes this problem, providing clean renewable power around the clock…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetters to a beekeeper / Steve Benbow, Alys Fowler.
“This the story of how, over the course of a year, Alys, the Guardian gardening writer, learns how to keep bees; and Steve, the urban beekeeper, learns how to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Part beautifully designed coffee-table book, part manifesto, this collection of engaging letters, emails, texts, recipes, notes and glorious photos creates a record of the trials, tribulations, rewards and joys of working with, rather than against, nature…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding with secondhand stuff : how to reclaim, repurpose, re-use & upcycle salvaged & leftover materials / Chris Peterson.
“From Craig’s List, your basement, and estate sales, you can salvage what you need to upcycle all kinds of cool things. You can build tables, install vintage hardwood floors and salvaged windows, mason reclaimed stone walls, and do much more using free or very inexpensive, high-quality, reconditioned materials. You’ll encounter opportunities to upcycle usable building materials everywhere. This second edition of the best-selling book includes new projects such as a pallet chair, pallet table, chalkboard message door, door-backed island, and a reclaimed window greenhouse.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawdown : the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming / edited by Paul Hawken.
“In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and activists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and methods are described here, ranging from clean energy to educating girls in the developing world to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path toward not just slowing the earth’s warming, but actually reaching drawdown.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Thinking globally and acting locally. These titles cover topics as big as: who’s going to steer the ship on global policy around our environment? There are perspectives from scientists, activists, and politicians as they tackle the big questions while others give inspiration about what you can do in your own home to have a positive impact. Will the issues we face as a planet be solved from the top or the bottom? Or both?

Syndetics book coverPositive energy homes : creating passive houses for better living / Robin Brimblecombe and Kara Rosemeier.
“Positive energy homes enable people to live healthy and comfortable lives with energy left over to share. Creating a house you love that produces surplus energy is surprisingly easy with a thorough understanding of how buildings work and careful attention to detail in construction. Positive Energy Homes provides home owners, architects, and builders with an understanding of the principles and technical details of building these houses. The Passive House standard, with its well-proven track record, forms the basis for creating positive energy homes.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHot, hungry planet : the fight to stop a global food crisis in the face of climate change / Lisa Palmer.
“Journalist Lisa Palmer has traveled the world for years documenting the cutting-edge innovations of people and organizations on the front lines of fighting the food gap. Hot, Hungry Planet focuses on three key concepts that support food security and resilience in a changing world: social, educational, and agricultural advances; land use and technical actions by farmers; and policy nudges that have the greatest potential for reducing adverse environmental impacts of agriculture while providing more food.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe food forest handbook : design and manage a home-scale perennial polyculture garden / by Darrell Frey & Michelle Czolba.
“A food forest is a productive landscape developed around a mix of trees and perennials. Rooted in permaculture principles, this integrated approach to gardening incorporates a variety of plants such as fruit and nut trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial herbs and vegetables… The Food Forest Handbook is a practical manual for the design and management of a home-scale perennial polyculture garden.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe seasons alter : how to save our planet in six acts / Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller.
“Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller tackle some of the thorniest questions facing mankind today: Is climate change real? Is climate change as urgent as the “scientists” make it out to be? How much of our current way of life should we sacrifice to help out a generation that won’t even be born for another hundred years? Who would pay for the enormous costs of making the planet “green?” What sort of global political arrangement would be needed for serious action?…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClimate of hope : how cities, businesses, and citizens can save the planet / Michael Bloomberg, Carl Pope.
“From Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former head of the Sierra Club Carl Pope comes a manifesto on how the benefits of taking action on climate change are concrete, immediate, and immense… In Climate of Hope, Bloomberg and Pope offer an optimistic look at the challenge of climate change, the solutions they believe hold the greatest promise, and the practical steps that are necessary to achieve them. Writing from their own experiences, and sharing their own stories from government, business, and advocacy, Bloomberg and Pope provide a road map for tackling the most complicated challenge the world has ever faced.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClient Earth / Martin Goodman and James Thornton ; with a foreword by Brian Eno.
“Who will stop the planet from committing ecological suicide? …Whoever, environmental laws need to be enforceable and enforced. Step forward a fresh breed of passionately purposeful environmental lawyers. They provide new rules to legislatures, see that they are enforced, and keep us informed. They tackle big business to ensure money flows into cultural change, because money is the grammar of business just as science is the grammar of nature. At the head of this new legal army stands James Thornton, who takes governments to court, and wins. And his client is the Earth.” –Publisher’s description, adapted. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe energy wise workplace : practical and cost-effective ideas for a sustainable and green workplace / Jeff Dondero.
“Although many people desire to do their part and play a role in the conservation of energy and resources at their workplace most think that it is harder to conserve at work due to circumstances beyond their control, and aren’t aware of how, which or in what ways they can contribute to change… The Energy Wise Workplace provides practical suggestions and innovative ways for increasing the environmental and technological aspects of an efficient office, as well as improving productivity and work environment to keep employees happy and healthy and at the same time saving money.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreywater, green landscape : how to install simple water-saving irrigation systems in your yard / Laura Allen.
“Keep your lawn and garden lush without wasting resources by capturing and recycling the greywater that drains from your sink, shower, and washing machine. This accessible and detailed guide walks you through each step of planning for and installing a variety of greywater systems, including laundry-to-landscape and branched drain gravity-fed systems. After identifying greywater sources in your home and estimating flow rate, you’ll learn to pinpoint where to redirect the wastewater for the greatest benefit. No matter which system you decide to build, you’ll have the information to construct it yourself or move forward with confidence to hire a professional.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverConfessions of a recovering environmentalist / Paul Kingsnorth.
“Paul Kingsnorth was once an activist, an ardent environmentalist. He fought against rampant development and the depredations of a corporate world that seemed hell-bent on ignoring a looming climate crisis in its relentless pursuit of profit. But as the environmental movement began to focus on ‘sustainability’ rather than the defence of wild places for their own sake and as global conditions worsened, he grew disenchanted with the movement that he once embraced. Provocative and urgent, iconoclastic and fearless, this ultimately hopeful book poses hard questions about how we have lived and should live.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo dig organic home & garden : grow, cook, use & store your harvest / Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty.
“No dig organic gardening saves time and work. It requires an annual dressing of compost to help accelerate the improvement in soil structure and leads to higher fertility and less weeds. No dig experts Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty, explain how to set up a no dig garden, including how to: * Make compost and enrich soil * Learn skills you need to sow and grow annual and perennial veg * Harvest and prepare food year round * Make natural cosmetics, cleaning products, and garden preparations.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

July Sustainable Living Series @ WCL

This July, together with Love Food Hate Waste, Boomerang BagsBirth Wise Wellington, NappyMojoKaicycle and the Sustainability Trust and in support of Plastic Free July, Wellington City Libraries will be hosting a series of educational talks around sustainable living.

Join us at Central, Karori and Newtown libraries as we discuss some small and easy changes that you can make to your everyday life to help reduce your waste to landfill, minimize your carbon footprint and help to protect the environment.

For the first talk in our Sustainable Living Series, join Wendy Bertholet, from the Wellington City Council Waste Minimization Team & Pip Cameron from Boomerang Bags for a lunchtime talk on Tuesday, 25th July at Wellington Central Library.

Wendy and Pip will be on the ground floor in the Young Adults area starting at 12 pm to talk about some simple ways to make changes to your lifestyle and reduce your waste to landfill, from making the most out of your food to reducing your use of plastic!

Wendy will be talking about the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign and will be sharing lots of winter tips and tricks on how to reduce your food waste! Check out the Love Food Hate Waste website and Facebook page for tonnes of info on storage, recipes and easy ways to reduce your food waste. You could also check out the Wellington City Council Rubbish & Recycling page for info as well.

Pip’s main area with Boomerang Bags is “Waste Diversion and Logistics” for Wellington and she helps to organize the Mt Vic and Aro Valley based volunteers group. She’s mainly interested in resourcefulness and efficient systems so the project can be self sustaining. Pip will be talking about easy ways to reduce the use of plastic and plastic bags. For more info, check out the Boomerang Bags website and Facebook page.

Also, take a look at the Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Tuesday Websites for other useful information on how to reduce your use of plastic and waste to landfill.

The second talk in our Sustainable Living Series will be with Shannon Unka, Owner and Operator of NappyMojo, Neonatal Nurse and Mum, at Karori Library after Baby Rock & Rhyme at 11:15 am on Thursday July 27th July.

Shannon will be there to talk about some small and easy changes that parents can make to help minimize waste and  bring sustainability into parenting. Come and have a chat about a range of things from wipes, breast pads and reusable sanitary products to lunch wraps, un-paper towels to cloth nappies and making it work in real life. To read a bit more about Shannon and NappyMojo, check out their website and Facebook page.

Courtesy of Birth Wise Wellington, there will be a giveaway of Sustainable Parenting Packs to help you make sustainable parenting choices and reduce the environmental impact you and your new family makes.

For more information about Birth Wise Wellington, their classes, meet ups and more resources for parents, take a look at their website and Facebook page. Also, check out their ‘Top 10 Tips for Sustainable Parenting‘ as well!

We also have a tonne of resources for parents and families on our Parenting page , including our monthly recent book picks, shelf help, educational information and resources and more!

If you can’t make it, don’t worry! Come along to Wadestown Library on Monday July 31st at 11:15 am right after pre-school Story Time Session, where Shannon will be giving this talk to another group!

Heading to the Newtown Farmers Market on a Saturday? Swing by the Newtown Library on July 29th July at 11 am for the 3rd talk in our Sustainable Living Series!

Join Sheldon Levet, one of the Kaicycle Facilitators, as he talks about composting and how easy it can be for individuals and communities to reduce their waste. With support from the Sustainability Trust, learn more about composting and different ways to reduce your waste. Sheldon will also be talking about the Kaicycle, what they do, their volunteers and the urban farm based in Newtown. Check out their website and Facebook page for more information.

Kaicycle and other community projects are supported by the Sustainability Trust, an organization working to help people in Wellington create warmer homes and reduce their impact on the environment. Laura-Kate Howells, the Sustainability Trust Educator will also be there on Saturday to talk briefly about what Sustainability Trust is up to! For more information about the Sustainability trust, take a look at their website and Facebook page and even better to get involved check out their ‘what’s on in your community’ page!

Other Resources 

Keep up to date with new books, magazines and online databases with our Environment and Sustainability popular topics page.

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Creatures are featured in this month’s blog! Especially Chickens and Bees… And a beautiful book of tiny shelters ends our selection.

Image from Amazon.comBackyard chickens : how to keep happy hens / Dave Ingham.
“A henkeeping companion to the bestselling Backyard Bees, covering everything you need to know about keeping chickens even in urban areas.” (Syndetics summary)
” Keeping a few hens was once only for rural dwellers with big yards – or inner-city hippies. Now it’s mainstream and an attractive proposition wherever you live. Fluffy little recycling units that eat weeds, bugs and scraps and turn them into organic eggs – what’s not to love? Chickens are great backyard pets for young and old – they’re a natural extension for everyone with a vegie patch, and for those who like eggs but are concerned about the welfare of commercial hens.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverGood soil : manure, compost and nourishment for your garden / Tina Råman, Ewa-Marie Rundquist, Justine Lagache.
“Maximise your garden, whatever you grow in it, with some Swedish expertise. Plants need nutrients to grow, flower and bear fruit, nutrients that can be found in offal, the sea, fire, rocks, rubbish and, of course, dung heaps. Tina Raman digs into every aspect of nurturing your soil, from chemistry and biology to history and philosophy, giving you practical advice, generous tips and above all masses of inspiration” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverMy zero-waste kitchen : easy ways to eat waste free / writer and editor, Ruth O’Rourke-Jones.
“Looking to live sustainably without overhauling your life? My Zero-Waste Kitchen shows you how to put the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – into practice in the kitchen. Discover the secrets of sustainability, including shopping wisely, which foods you can freeze, and how to turn your scraps into delicious dishes and snacks such as falafel, pesto, and even melt-in-the-mouth cake. Handy tips and tricks will help you live sustainably without making huge changes, and guide you to a sustainable kitchen, with advice on kitchen equipment, food storage, growing herbs, and meal-planning tips.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening with chickens : plans and plants for you and your hens / Lisa Steele.
“Welcome to a world where chickens and gardens coexist! Join Lisa Steele, chicken-keeper extraordinaire and founder of Fresh Eggs Daily, on a unique journey through the garden. Start by planning your garden and learning strategies and tips for keeping your plants safe while they grow. Plant with purpose, choosing from a dozen plans for theme gardens such as Orange Egg Yolks or Nesting Box Herbs. Or choose a design that’s filled with edibles – sharing the bounty with your family and your feathered friends. Then comes the fun part: enjoy the harvest, even let the chickens graze!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWelcome to the farm : how-to wisdom from the Elliott homestead / Shaye Elliott.
“Whether you want to dabble in the homesteading movement or immerse yourself completely in the do-it-yourself, back-to-basics lifestyle, Welcome to the Farm is a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to growing the very best food right in your own backyard. Shaye Elliott takes readers on a journey that teaches them how to harvest baskets full of organic produce, milk a dairy cow (and make butter), plant a homestead orchard, can jams and jellies, and even raise chickens and bees.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bee keeper’s field guide : a pocket guide to the health and care of bees / David Cramp.
“This guide is designed for beekeepers to carry with them and use in the apiary and out in the field. It is a diagnostic tool and an aide memoire for the hobbyist and for the professional beekeeper, who may know what to do but will at times need the information close to hand.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverDIY solar projects : small projects to whole-home systems : tap into the sun / Eric Smith and Philip Schmidt with Troy Wanek.
“Put the sun to work in your home with the new, expanded edition of the popular 2011 title DIY Solar Projects. Like the original, this edition offers small-scale, achievable solar projects that homeowners can build and install themselves. From cooking in solar ovens to mounting solar panels on your roof, this book teaches how to take advantage of solar energy.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe urban farmer / Justin Calverley & CERES (Center for Environmental Research and Strategies).
“Producing our own fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs and honey is perfectly possible in a suburban space, and this practical guide will help urban dwellers develop a more sustainable existence. With a deep knowledge of permaculture and organic gardening, horticultural expert Justin Calverley shows you how to establish a diverse urban farm, whether in your own backyard, a courtyard or even a balcony…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShallow-pit garden composting : the easy, no-smell, no-turning way to create organic compost for your garden / Caleb Warnock.
“With shallow pit composting, the compost doesn’t need to be turned, never smells and is ready in half the time of barrels or kits. Shallow-pit composting works with Mother Nature, letting her do the work.”—cover page 4.

Syndetics book coverMicro shelters : 59 creative cabins, tiny houses, tree houses, and other small structures / Derek “Deek” Diedricksen.
“If you dream of living in a tiny house, or creating a getaway in the backwoods or your backyard, you’ll love this gorgeous collection of creative and inspiring designs for cabins, forts, studios, and other microshelters.” (Syndetics summary)