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)