Tag Archives: #environment

Climate Change: What can be done at home? Six Books that show us how we can help

Sometimes the idea of making small changes at home to help the environment can feel so small and insignificant that we begin to wonder if they really are helping. Good news. We have found six amazing books that show that your small changes really do make a big difference. What’s even better, is that they each outline a number of new and inventive ways we can change our behaviour for lasting impact.

Net Zero: How We Stop Causing Climate Change by Dieter Helm

What can we really do about the climate emergency? The inconvenient truth is that we are causing the climate crisis with our carbon intensive lifestyles and that fixing, or even just slowing, it will affect all of us. But it can be done. In Net Zero the economist Professor Dieter Helm addresses the action we would all need to take, whether personal, local, national or global, if we really wanted to stop causing climate change. Net Zero is Professor Dieter Helm’s measured, balanced view of how we stop causing climate change by adopting a net zero strategy of reducing carbon emissions and increasing carbon absorption. It is a rational look at why the past 30 years efforts has failed and why and how the next 30 years can succeed. It is a vital book for anyone who hears the clamour of Extinction Rebellion and other ecological activists, but wonders what they can actually do.

How to Garden the Low-carbon Way: The steps you can take to help combat climate change by Sally Nex

Keen on starting your own garden but unsure about your environmental impact? This guide will give you practical advice on which soil to use, plants that are best for absorbing carbon dioxide, low-carbon fertilisers, and cutting out single-use plastic. What’s more, this garden book is completely backed by scientific research! Explore the benefits of no-dig gardening, how to use fewer plants, using hedges instead of fences and how to grow shrubs that support wildlife.

This is a fantastic gardening book with a simple, step-by-step guide to either learn about gardening or to reference as your garden grows. You’ll quickly become acquainted with the benefits of growing a garden that positively contributes to the environment. Plus, you’ll have all the fun rewards a gardening hobby has to offer.

Things You Can Do: How to Fight Climate Change and Reduce Waste by
Eduardo Garcia

Award-winning climate journalist Eduardo Garcia offers a deeply researched and user-friendly guide to the things we can do every day to fight climate change. Based on his popular New York Times column “One Thing You Can Do,” this fully illustrated book proposes simple solutions for an overwhelming problem. No lectures here, just accessible and inspiring ideas to slash emissions and waste in our daily lives. In each chapter, Garcia digs into the issue, explaining how everyday choices lead to carbon emissions, then delivers a wealth of things you can do to make a positive impact. Things You Can Do is the book for people who want to know and do more to save the planet.

Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World by Josh Tickell

Kiss the Ground explains an incredible truth: 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. This richly visual look at the impact of an under-appreciated but essential resource, the very ground that feeds us, features fascinating and accessible interviews with celebrity chefs, ranchers, farmers, and top scientists. Kiss the Ground teaches you how to become an agent in humanity’s single most important and time-sensitive mission: reverse climate change and effectively save the world-all through the choices you make in how and what to eat.

Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly household by Christine Liu

Sustainable Home is an oldie but a goodie. It is an inspirational and practical guidebook to maintaining a more environmentally friendly household. Sustainability enthusiast and zero-waste advocate Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – the living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – offering tips, tricks and 17 step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether it is by making your own toothpowder, growing your own herb garden or up-cycling old pieces of furniture, there are numerous ways – both big and small – to make a difference.

Remodelista – The Low-Impact Home: A Sourcebook for Stylish, Eco-Conscious
Living
by Margot Guralnick and Fan Winston

Low-impact living is about making thoughtful, eco-friendly choices in your home. But being sustainable doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. That’s where Remodelista comes in. In this comprehensive guide, they decode the secrets to creating a home that’s good for the planet – and totally liveable. First, the team invites readers on in-depth tours of the living quarters of a dozen homeowners who have interpreted this ethos in myriad ways: an Australian architect’s state-of-the-art family home, a rental apartment in Brooklyn outfitted with materials salvaged from the neighbourhood, and even a farmhouse in England made of hemp. Then they take us room by room to dissect the most impactful swaps we can make for a healthier home, from a gentler laundry routine courtesy of the Celsious sisters to chef David Tanis’s low-tech approach to cooking. There are simple DIY projects to encourage you to reuse and repurpose rather than buy new, plus the ‘Vintage 75’ – a roundup of everyday household goods that are easy to find used, and are typically better made and more affordable than their brand-new counterparts. And, of course, there’s remodelling advice for all budgets and scopes: whether you’re looking to choose healthy paint, swap out your rug, upgrade your windows, or overhaul your whole place. It all adds up to an eco-conscious approach that’s about living not only responsibly but also with joy and style. This book is so new, it’s not even out yet. Fear not, you can click through the hyperlinks to pre-order it. 

Enjoy!

Climate Change Crusaders, the voices challenging the way we treat our world 

Climate Change is not a new issue, nor is it going to fix itself without our education, action and attention. There are a number of individuals and groups that have been trying to get society’s attention to take action for years. Some have made an impact quickly and have roused us to protest, change our behaviour and expect more from each other. Today we’re sharing six books tackling this topic in very different ways, one shows how their family has been impacted, another teaches us how to discuss this important topic and others outline how the world will look should we choose to ignore it.

How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley

Why is it so hard to talk about climate change? While scientists double down on the shocking figures, we still find ourselves unable to discuss climate change meaningfully among friends and neighbours or even to grapple with it ourselves. The key to progress on climate change is in the psychology of human attitudes and our ability to change. Whether you’re already alarmed and engaged with the issue, concerned but disengaged, a passive skeptic or an active denier, understanding our emotional reactions to climate change – why it makes us anxious, fearful, angry or detached – is critical to coping on an individual level and convincing each other to act. This book is about understanding why people who aren’t like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands – millions – of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change by Nathaniel Rich 

By 1979, we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change; what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we also had the very real opportunity to stop it. Obviously, we failed. Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking account of that failure and how tantalisingly close we came to signing binding treaties that would have saved us all before the fossil fuels industry and politicians committed to anti-scientific denialism, is already a journalistic blockbuster, a full issue of the New York Times Magazine that has earned favourable comparisons to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and John Hersey’s Hiroshima. In the book Losing Earth, Rich provides more of the context for what did, and didn’t, happen in the 1980s and, more important, is able to carry the story fully into the present day and wrestle with what those past failures mean for us today. It is not just an agonising revelation of historical missed opportunities, but a clear-eyed and eloquent assessment of how we got to now, and what we can and must do before it is truly too late.

Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial by Peter Stott 

Hot Air is the shocking inside story of the fight to halt climate change over the past twenty-five years by a world-renowned scientist, Peter Stott. Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised? Here, for the first time, climate scientist Peter Stott reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Hot Air is the urgent story of how the science was developed, how it has been repeatedly sabotaged and why humanity hasn’t a second to spare in the fight to halt climate change.

Climate: Powerful Voices, Inspiring Ideas by Christina Limpert

With climate change at the forefront of current discussion, Words of change in Climate offers a curated collection of thought-provoking quotes and passages from the writings and speeches of activists in the environmental community, with a focus on diverse and previously unheard voices.

Compiled by social scientist and researcher Christina Limpert, this collection of stirring words is intended to enlighten, to prompt change, to provide encouragement, and to deepen readers’ conviction. Celebrating activism, focusing on solutions, and avoiding apathy and pessimism, this book is call to action. The back matter includes a brief bio for each person quoted to provide context for their life and work.

Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution by Andrew Joyner

From a #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator, and the creator of The Pink Hat, comes a timely picture book about a young girl’s mission to inspire others to help the planet. Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet… by organising volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to making composting bins, to hosting a clothing swap and more! Here is an uplifting picture book that is an important reminder that no change is too small, and no person is too young, to make a difference. With simple text and lively illustrations, Andrew Joyner has given young children a timely story about activism, community, and hope.

In a few weeks we will be sharing more books on how to talk to children about climate change so be sure to check back again for more titles.

Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis by Malena Ernman, Greta Thunberg, Beata Ernman, Svante Thunberg

The profoundly moving story of how love, courage and determination brought Greta Thunberg’s family back from the brink. This is the story of a happy family whose life suddenly fell apart, never to be the same again. Of two devoted parents plunged into a waking nightmare as their eleven-year-old daughter Greta stopped speaking and eating, and her younger sister struggled to cope. They desperately searched for answers, and began to see how their children’s suffering reached far beyond medical diagnoses. This crisis was not theirs alone: they were burned-out people on a burned-out planet. And so they decided to act. Our House is on Fire shows how, amid forces that tried to silence them, one family found ways to strengthen, heal, and gain courage from the love they had for each other and for the living world. It is a parable of hope and determination in an emergency that affects us all.

You can read other titles by Greta Thunberg here.

Next week on the blog we’ll be sharing six books offering suggestions as to what changes we can do at home to aid the future of the planet. 

Enjoy!

Books to Help you Live Sustainably at Home

What does sustainability mean to you?  Most people are aware that sustainability is important, but may struggle to decide how to incorporate sustainable practices into their lives.  This week Team Booko has brought together lots of ideas on how to get started.  Many of these ideas only require small changes – such as ditching plastic straws, or walking instead of driving short distances.  Others are fun and creative, encouraging us to try making / cooking / upcycling.  These books also show that sustainability are interlinked with mindfulness and decluttering – meaning that it is not only good for our environment, but good for our health and our wallets too!

A Life Less Throwaway: the Lost Art of Buying for Life by Tara Button

Tara Button was a work-hard, spend-hard advertising executive when she realised that her shopping habits – meant to make her happy – was having the opposite effect.  So she started to fight back against the current culture of planned obsolescence – the idea that products should have a limited (ie short) lifespan – and instead, started a movement that celebrates products that are made to last.  A Life Less Throwaway explains the concept of “mindful curation”, with plenty of tips and strategies to help us only buy things that fit the purpose, that we love and that can last a lifetime.

Simple Acts to Save our Planet: 500 Ways to Make a Difference by Michelle Neff

If you want to live in a more sustainable and environmentally responsible way, but don’t know where to start, then this book is for you.  Michelle Neff has created a bumper book of “Simple Acts of Kindess” for our planet. Many of the ideas look at how to reduce waste, bolster animal and insect populations and lower energy consumption.  These Simple Acts show us that even the tiniest change to our lifestyle – such as BYO coffee cups and shopping bags, and buying items with minimal packaging – can have a lasting positive impact on the environment. What’s more, many of these ideas – such as eating less processed food, and using meat and veg scraps to make stock – can also benefit our own health.

Upcycle: Turn Everyday Objects into Home Decor by Sonia Lucano

Upcycle is a fun, contemporary project book that shows you how to turn some everyday items into home furnishings.   Sonia Lucarno has chosen starting materials that are available cheaply or for free, such as old dishes, glass jars, bedsheets and wooden pallets.  Learn how to turn cotton sheets into a tote bag, wooden pallet into a coffee table, or glass jars into terrariums.  There are detailed instructions including lists of materials.  Start salvaging these bits and pieces from the waste stream and turn them into chic, functional pieces for your home.

Perfect Imperfect: the Beauty of Accident, Age & Patina by Karen McCartney, Sharyn Cairns and Glen Proebstel

Perfect Imperfect is a sumptuous coffee table book with a subtle environmental message – by celebrating the beauty of age and imperfection (some may call it “character”), it encourages us to purchase thoughtfully rather than frequently, to value curation rather than consumption.  Perfect Imperfect puts a modern spin on the age-old Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, bringing together contemporary design with well-worn objects.  The stunning interiors feature a mix of comfort, design and thoughtful beauty, and are selected from homes, hotels, shops and studios around the world.

Low Tox Life: a Handbook for a Healthy You and a Happy Planet by Alexx Stuart

Alexx Stuart has distilled the learnings from her own quest for a Low Tox Life into a guide to help you live with better health and less stress.  Alexx Stuart was fighting chronic inflammation when she realised that our hyper-industrialised society was contributing to her ill-health.  She started to pay closer attention to product labels, and reducing the use of synthetic fragrances, disposable plastics and processed foods, and has seen a dramatic improvement in her physical and mental health.  Organised into four intuitive sections of Body, Home Food and Mind, Low Tox Life is a guide that encourages us to make more informed choices about the food we eat, and the things we surround ourselves with – and highlights that better choices can benefit both ourselves and our environment.

100 Things to Recycle and Make by Fiona Hayes

It’s never too young to help children understand the importance of sustainability, and what better way to do it than through a fun activity such as crafting.  Fiona Hayes, author of the popular Crafty Makes series, has chosen 100 of her favourite projects for crafting with recycled materials.  Ideas range from the decorative to the practical, including toys, stationery, decorations and storage.  The projects are helpfully arranged by the main starting material, eg cardboard tubes, egg cartons, paper plates and materials from nature, and include step-by-step instructions.  100 Things to Recycle and Make is a great sourcebook for anyone who spends time with children!

Unravelling the climate change debate

11 years ago, Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth burst into our consciousness, raising climate change awareness everywhere, promising to be the tipping point towards greater environmental protection.  Fast forward to today, and what seemed like a simple scientific observation has morphed into a bitter political dispute that stifles action.  As the issues surrounding climate change become more complex and emotive, how do we separate the facts from the manipulation?  These books can help you analyse, unravel and understand the complexities of climate change:

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore

An Inconvenient Sequel is a timely update, released 11 years after the influential An Inconvenient Truth.  In these intervening years, a string of extreme weather events – Hurricane Sandy, heat waves, melting polar ice – have caused huge damage, while action has stalled as climate change becomes mired in political controversy.  Hot off the press, An Inconvenient Sequel focusses on possible solutions, particularly around the use of clean energy, and also reflects on the consequences of President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

 

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph Romm

If you want a concise, readable introduction to the issues and consequences of climate change, then this book is for you.  Writing in a Q&A style, Joseph Romm, a physicist and former US Energy Department official, explores key points including basic theory, projected impacts, politics and policies, and possible solutions.  A particularly powerful section explores how climate change will impact everyday decisions for ordinary people, including where to retire, what to study, how to invest, and necessary changes to our diet.

 

 

Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman

Eyes Wide Open aims to help teens critically assess the issues and arguments surrounding environmentalism.  Paul Fleischman draws on history, psychology, sociology and economics to explain the origins of key environmental issues including population, energy and climate.  He also tries to explain why different reactions to these issues exist.  A particularly useful feature is its guide on “How to Weigh Information”.  Eyes Wide Open is valuable for readers of any age who want to cut through emotive writing, and develop their own informed views.

Don’t Even Think About it: Why our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall

Most people accept that climate change is real, yet do nothing to stop it.  Don’t Even Think About It suggests that this has an evolutionary origin – human brains are hard-wired to prioritise immediate dangers over future dangers; and they tend to interpret new knowledge through existing frameworks, increasing the likelihood of confirmation bias.  George Marshall interviewed psychologists, evangelicals, activists and conservative politicians in this entertaining yet thought-provoking study on the psychology behind the climate change debate.

On a Farther Shore: the Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder

The effect of pesticides on wildlife may seem unrelated to climate change, but our current awareness of the environment is arguably influenced by Rachel Carson’s work. Her seminal book, Silent Spring, inspired the modern environmental movement, and influenced legislative changes and the founding of the EPA.  Rachel Carson was a skilled nature writer who combined lyrical prose with extensive research to make science understandable and compelling.  On a Farther Shore is an engrossing biography that places Rachel Carson’s life and work within the context of the politics and culture of the mid-20th Century.

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

If you don’t normally read non-fiction, there is a growing list of novels to help you visualise the world post-climate change.  The latest novel from SciFi master Kim Stanley Robinson imagines life in New York in 2140 – a sort of “ Super Venice” partially-submerged due to climate change. New York 2140 creates a vivid world packed with details of economics, politics, and the minutiae of life; it is not grim, but offers a critique of capitalism’s role in climate change.

Earth Day: a catalyst for change

April 22 is Earth Day, the event when we tackle the challenges that face us as carers of our planet. However while raising awareness and promoting participation in community and environmental actions, Earth Day is also a catalyst for change.

Many people — from children to the elderly — are inspired by Earth Day and become lifelong fighters for our planet, said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network.

“Millions of people in dozens of different countries will become lifelong environmentalists this and every Earth Day. Hundreds of thousands will be children – our planet’s future,” she said.

More than one billion people throughout 192 countries celebrate Earth Day. These people aren’t special, they’re the same as you and me, yet they are environmental heroes and their stories are well suited to Earth Day. Here are three examples.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:plasticOne Plastic Bag — Miranda Paul

One Plastic Bag is the true story of Isatou Ceesay, the “Queen of Recycling” in the western African country of The Gambia. As a young girl, Isatou noticed how quickly plastic bags had multiplied in her local environment, choking gardens, roads and waterways. The plastic collected water, becoming a haven for deadly mosquitoes that carried disease. Isatou and her friends solved the problem by crafting the plastic into wallets, purses and other items for sale, transforming their local communities in the process.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:cleanComing clean — Ian Kiernan

Famous yachtsman, builder and author, Ian became aware of the amount of rubbish dumped in the world’s oceans while competing in yacht races. Beginning in his hometown of Sydney, Ian started organising teams of people to clean up the mess. His determination and leadership has now seen the Clean Up campaign go international.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:ChapterChapter One — Thankyou

Daniel Flynn and his colleagues in the Thankyou. team have set up a remarkable charity, the story of which is documented in the book Chapter One. The book tells the story of the Thankyou social enterprise which has achieved enormous success by providing an alternative in such products as snack bars, bottled water, cereals, soaps and sanitisers. Funds raised from sales go towards charitable causes and consumers can track the impact of their purchases through a unique code on each product.

These are just three examples of ordinary folk who have become true leaders, true activists for our planet. Through their books, we can see how they continue to change the society in which we live.  Why not use these people as examples of how you can make a difference this Earth Day and beyond?

The best reads on sustainable living

Taking meaningful steps to reduce our environmental footprint has been top of mind for me over the last few years.  As for how that translates into action, it tends to get overridden by the rush of our lives.  I’ll never be the Felicity Kendall character from ‘The Good Life‘ and raise chickens and goats but I can focus on buying better-produced products and minimise product packaging.

The World Wildlife Foundation have provided an ecological footprint calculator which measures your carbon footprint and also includes steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment.

Here are our picks for inspiring books about sustainable living (including an E-Book).

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Ecoman by Malcolm Rands

The story of how Malcolm Rands, an organic gardener and hippy from Northland, built the pioneering global brand ecostore. Malcolm Rands started ecostore from New Zealand’s first permaculture eco-village with his wife Melanie in 1993. They sourced local manufacturers to make a range of organic gardening; home cleaning and body care products for the then mail-order business in the dug-out basement of their home. Twenty years on and Malcolm has developed ecostore into a multi-million dollar business.

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

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Tim Flannery takes the reader on a journey through history and around the globe as he describes the diversity of the world’s ecosystems and reveals how the earth’s climate has changed, causing devastating changes in the weather, from hurricanes to heatwaves.

 

 

 

 

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein

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In this groundbreaking book, Klein debunks the myths we have been fed about climate change such as that it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels.  Klein challenges these assumptions and clearly articulates the relationship between free-market capitalism, the fossil fuel industry and global warming.  Winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, Observer Book of the Year and New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of the Year.

 

 

Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made by Gaia Vince

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Gaia Vince writes of us entering a new Geological epoch: The Age of Man or Anthropocene.  The changes made by humans over the past few decades have changed the world beyond anything it has seen in its 4.5 billion years.  The impacts of this are that people are finding ingenious ways to solve ongoing crises, such as the retired railway worker who’s building artificial glaciers in the Himalayas.   Winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2015.

 

 

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas

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The title of Lynas’s book, ‘Six Degrees’, refers to the terrifying possibility that average temperatures will rise by up to six degrees within the next hundred years. This is the first time we have had a reliable picture of how the collapse of our civilisation will unfold unless urgent action is taken.  Most vitally, Lynas’s book serves to highlight the fact that the world of 2100 doesn’t have to be one of horror and chaos. With a little foresight, some intelligent strategic planning, and a reasonable dose of good luck, we can at least halt the catastrophic trend into which we have fallen – but the time to act is now.

Homesteading: how a self-reliant outlook is shaping the future of small-scale agriculture

In the early 70s, President Richard Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz called for American farmers to “get big or get out”. This signified the end of New Deal-style rural assistance programs and ushered in the start of big agriculture in the United States.

However while agribusiness has since become dominant, the love of independent, small-scale farming has never died. The trend in recent decades towards homesteading, or self sufficiency on a small acreage, has borne this out.

Homesteading can mean a number of things to different people, though independence is always the key.

  • Organic food. Producing food the old-fashioned way: organic and unprocessed. Traditional food preservation practices may also be incorporated.
  • Sustainability. Economically viable and environmentally sound, a sustainable small farm is the aim of most homesteaders.
  • Renewable energy. Many homesteaders look to produce much of their energy through clean, renewable energy to reduce their reliance on electricity grids.
  • Philosophy/lifestyle. Like Walt Whitman, many homesteaders return to the land for health, philosophical and environmental benefits.

Homesteading in the US has grown from a fringe movement to one where self sufficiency and growing foods the traditional way has become a viable, even profitable, concern for many people.

The movement can be traced to pioneers such as UK author John Seymour whose work “The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency” has inspired many to return to the land.

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Many homesteaders follow the design principles of permaculture as outlined in David Holmgren’s Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.

 

Other publications such as Ron Macher’s “Making your small farm profitable” have concentrated on the profitability and availability of credit for small farms and homesteads.

 

Whether the aim is to grow organic food, disconnect from the grid or a retreat from city life, homesteading has proved a viable alternative to reliance on supermarkets, big power companies and big city living.