Recent books on sustainability and the environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whanake Taiao: Rongoā Māori

Puanga kai rau. ka hua ai ngā pua, koia ko puanga. =
an abundance of food at puanga, when the blossoms become fruit, that is puanga.

orions-matariki
Matariki ahunga nui

Nau mai, haere mai ki tō tātou whare : welcome to a free talk at Wellington Central Library

Matariki-22-june-s
Fred Allen : Matariki Celebration of Rongoā Māori and Native Plant Remedies

Date: Wednesday 22 June
Time: 12.30 pm
Place: Central Library Second Floor, near newspapers – (the library book sale is taking place Ground fFoor).

FredallenFred Allen will present his thoughts on Rongoā Māori and native plant remedies within traditional and contemporary paradigms, and subsequent contemporary medicinal developments.
Fred Allen is a Rongoā Māori practitioner, New Zealand native herbal medicinal product manufacturer and specialist New Zealand native plant horticulturist. Fred has participated in the NZ Health and Wellness Industry for over 30 years and has invested in development of personal specialist expertise in native flora, NZ biodiversity, ethno-botany, phytochemistry and therapeutics of NZ endemic and indigenous herbal medicine.  He identifies and separates his work within both Māori and Western paradigms. He was invited by the South Korean Government to represent New Zealand at the World Traditional Medicine Expo during 2011.

Fred is of Te Atiawa descent, his rohe is Te Whanganui-a-Tara, and he is Managing Director of www.kiwiplants.co.nz and www.kiwiherbs.com

Whanake Taiao: urban agriculture and beekeeping

This is the third week of our Whanake Taiao series of talks about Environmental Sustainability, held here at Wellington Central Library to celebrate Matariki. This week’s talk is all about bees and fruit trees!

orions-matariki

Sarah Adams and Cenna Lloyd :  urban agriculture and beekeeping.
Sarah Adams describes the growing of fruit trees within our city boundaries:  there is further information  on the WCC website. Cenna Lloyd  will describe beekeeping tips for the city, and there is more info available on how to Bee Friendly in Wellington here.

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Bus stop in Khandallah portraying the Bee Friendly city

Urban agriculture and beekeeping talk at WCL:

Date:  this Wednesday 15 June

Time:   12.30 pm

Place:  Second Floor, Central Library  (near newspapers).

Come along and learn!

 

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

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

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

Syndetics book coverTwo percent solutions for the planet : 50 low-cost, low-tech, nature-based practices for combatting hunger, drought, and climate change / Courtney White ; a Quivira Coalition project.
Two Percent Solutions for the Planet profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality. The “two percent” refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work done. As White explained in Grass, Soil, Hope, a highly efficient carbon cycle captures, stores, releases, and recaptures biochemical energy, mitigating climate change, increasing water storage capacities in soil, and making green plants grow. …a wide variety of innovative ideas and methods that put carbon back into the soil have been field-tested and proven to be practical and profitable. They’re mostly low-tech, too, relying on natural resources such as sunlight, green plants, animals, compost, beavers, creeks, and more…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New books on Sustainability and the environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syndetics book coverThe econest home : designing & building a light straw clay house / Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert LaPorte.
“An EcoNest is not just a home–it is a breathtakingly beautiful structure that nurtures health and embraces ecology. This unique approach to construction combines light clay straw, timber framing, earthen floors, natural plasters, and other natural techniques with the principles of Building Biology to create a handcrafted living sanctuary. The EcoNest Home is an in-depth exploration of the benefits of choosing this technique over conventional alternatives, combined with a complete practical guide for prospective designers and builders…” (Syndetics summary)

Sustainability and the Environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent books about Sustainability and the Environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Sustainability and Environment books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can now reserve our Power Meters!

Elto EMA1 Power Mate Lite

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

Just click here !

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

They cost $5.00 to borrow for 10 days.

Here are copies of the instructions for your reference:

ELTO EMA1:

Elto EMA1 Power Meter Instructions

For more details, see the  User-Friendly Guide

POWER-MATE LITE:

Power-Mate Lite Quick-Start

Power-Mate Lite Full Instructions

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Sustainability and the Environment – Recent picks for September

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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