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)

Recent books on sustainability and the environment

Two ‘how-to’ books on permaculture begin this post, and we end with a book about the heroes working today to mitigate climate change, to secure a sustainable future for us and for our children.

Syndetics book coverThe permaculture promise : what permaculture is and how it can help us reverse climate change, build a more resilient future on Earth, and revitalize our communities / Jono Neiger ; foreword by Toby Hemenway.
“Permaculture is a design system that offers practical ideas for how humans can simultaneously provide for ourselves and regenerate the natural world. Here are 22 ways that permaculture can help us achieve that goal, brought to life through profiles of people and communities who are already taking the permaculture path. This groundbreaking approach moves beyond sustainability, connecting all the systems of human life, including gardening, housing, transportation, energy, and how we structure our communities.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverThe permaculture transition manual : a comprehensive guide to resilient living / Ross Mars ; foreword by Rob Hopkins.
“Caught between climate change and a fossil fuel-driven economy that demands ever more growth, the world faces a great transition–by design or disaster–away from fossil fuels to a less energy intensive future. …For the first time, the power of permaculture design has been brought to bear on the great transition problem. In the process, acclaimed permaculture teacher and designer Ross Mars has distilled his considerable knowledge into the ultimate resource for resilient living. The Permaculture Transition Manual is packed with information on permaculture design principles, soil building, nutrient-dense food growing, including top plant and tree selections for all climatic zones…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNatural designs : contemporary organic upcycling : 20 DIY designer projects / Aurelie Drouet.
“…Nature has always been a source of inspiration for designers, and this book offers readers the chance to create furniture and everyday objects with raw materials from mineral to plant. Enjoy a walk in the woods, or beachcomb by sea to unleash your imagination and bring a little nature into your home. From cork hanging lights, a slate desk to a natural wool pouffe and a birch coat stand, discover simple and elegant ideas that you can make yourself. There’s no need to be an experienced handyman to realize these original designs: this book presents 20 creations with step-by-step photos, plans and technical tips.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeagan eating : the lure of a healthy, sustainable seafood + vegan diet / Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey.
“In this first-of-its-kind seagan guidebook, you’ll find all the tips and tools you need to jumpstart your healthy, delicious plant-and seafood-based diet- – More than 66 simple, decadent, oil-free seagan and vegan recipes – including three weeks of menus – A buying guide to the healthiest, most sustainable seafood – Must-have kitchen staples, plus recipe hacks to make prep fast and easy – Advice for navigating today’s confusing food trends, like GMOs, organic versus nonorganic, tricky ingredient labels, and ‘superfoods'” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from Amazon.comGrown & gathered / by Matt & Lentil.
“In Grown & Gathered, Matt and Lentil Pubrick’s first book, they tell you all that they know about growing, gathering, nurturing and cooking your own food. The first part of the book is Matt and Lentil’s guide to producing your own food. The information, advice and projects can be used whether you have a 3-acre block or a courtyard with planter boxes. The Grow chapter shows you how to grow vegetables and fruit in whatever space you have, using the most earth-friendly practices; Gather explains how to forage for things like mushrooms, native greens and wild fruits; Nurture provides guidance on raising your own animals, from chickens and bees to cows. The second part of the book features over 100 delicious, nourishing and creative wholefood recipes. There’s a host of staples, everything from how to prepare and sprout grains in a traditional way, to making and maintain a sourdough culture, and techniques and recipes for preserving and pickling.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrugal innovation : how to do better with less / Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu ; [foreword by Paul Polman].
“With an estimated trillion-dollar global market for sustainable products, and with potentially huge cost savings to be gained, frugal innovation is revolutionising business and reshaping management thinking. Based on the authors’ six key principles of frugal innovation, and packed with targeted advice and recommendations for business functions such as R&D, operations, HR and sales, Frugal Innovation is a masterclass in the art of doing more with less.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiving on one acre or less : how to produce all the fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs your family needs / Sally Morgan.
“You don’t need a huge parcel of land to start your own mini-farm and live more self-sufficiently. With an acre, or even a half-acre, you can juggle a job, family, and still grow fruit and veg and even have some chickens, pigs or sheep. Morgan takes the reader through the basics of a starting your own homestead, including planning and setting up, growing your own fruit and vegetables, keeping chickens, pigs and sheep– all while making use of sustainable and organic principles. This inspirational book is perfect for anyone who aspires to take control of their food supply, or who wants to do more with the land they’ve got.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA beekeeper’s year : setting up and managing backyard hives / Janet Luke.
A Beekeeper’s Year follows the progress of three novice beekeepers with three different types of hive, as they navigate their way through their first year of beekeeping. Follow their journey as they set up and manage their Top Bar, Warr#65533; and Flow hives – from obtaining bees to inspecting their hives, extracting honey and closing down the hive for the winter. A Beekeeper’s Year is an ideal introduction to backyard beekeeping, with everything you need to know about what equipment is required, managing your hives, keeping your bees healthy and pest and disease control. It is packed with stunning yet practical photographs to help you understand these fascinating creatures that are essential to the production of our food.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProtecting the planet : environmental champions from conservation to climate change / Budd Titlow & Mariah Tinger.
“Climate change is often associated with predictions of dire calamities. But in the past, heroic individuals have stepped forward to meet even the most ominous ecological challenges. This book tells an inspirational story–a story both of pioneering environmentalists who raised our collective consciousness regarding nature’s value and heroes of today who are working to secure a sustainable future. The authors begin with the mounting evidence for climate change as seen in rising carbon dioxide levels, higher global temperatures, melting ice sheets, and sea level rise. They conclude with a set of actionable strategies, demonstrating that there are good reasons to hope that we can achieve a sustainable lifestyle, protect our planet as our home, and ensure the future for our children.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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

You can find the Dominion Post daily on PressReader free via our website here

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)