Tag Archives: #sustainability

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!

Creative Houses from Reclaimed Stuff

In this funny and inspiring talk, Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. It’s worth a watch, and will make you consider how, and what, materials you’ll choose to build with.

Booko’s Valentine’s special: If you love it, learn to repair it.

Love is certainly in the air this week with it being Valentine’s Day tomorrow. But the day of love doesn’t just have to be about showing your love for people, you are allowed to love your favourite things in your home too.

This week we want to show you that you can love your home and the treasures you have inside in it for years and years, and we have found the books that help you to do just that. Sometimes our belongings can become a little worn, or our love of them fades as they no longer look how we would like them to. Fear not, there is good news, you can change things with a little elbow grease. The books we have found help you to explore your inner eco warrior and DIY skills showing you how to recycle, reuse and repurpose the treasures we already have in our homes along with some fabulous titles that will help you love the planet too.

Sustainable Home by Christine Liu

The Sustainable Home 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 inside the living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all the while offering tips, tricks and 17 step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether its 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.

Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth

Many of us are already doing what we can to adopt a greener lifestyle. We recycle, try to reduce our waste and plastics, choose organic food when shopping, eat less meat and opt for environmentally friendly cleaning products. Yet we often wish we were doing more and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Live Green is a practical guide of 52 changes, one for each week of the year, you can make to your home and lifestyle to reduce your impact on the environment. Tackling all areas of your life from your cleaning routine, home furnishings, food shopping, fashion choices, natural beauty and Christmas, this book has all the ingredients to help you achieve a more sustainable year. From making your own eco-friendly cleaning products, buying vintage furniture, making your own moth repellent and improving your natural beauty regime to creating a capsule wardrobe and creating your own ethical Christmas decorations. Discover how to get the most out of life by living with intention. Live simply. Live Green.

The Nordic Home by John Arne Bjerknes

John Bjerknes is a partner and design director at Nordic – Office of Architecture and his writing conveys his vast experience within design, development, and planning of small and large-scale construction projects. Given its unique focus on organically integrating people with nature using sustainable techniques, Scandinavian design currently occupies an important position in the architectural and interior design worlds. Nordic Home captures this exciting trend by showcasing 45 case studies exemplifying the best of Nordic architecture and interiors. It is a seriously beautiful book with inspiring interiors. 

The Art of the Natural Home by Rebecca Sullivan 

This book is perfect for those interested in sustainability, natural products and mindfulness. It’s all about taking the time to create your own homemade products, from face masks to floor polish and from medicinal honey to massage oil. Taking inspiration from her grandmother’s generation, Rebecca Sullivan has put together this thoughtful and appealing manual to caring for yourself and your home. Traditional methods are resurrected or updated to suit the modern home, using simple, natural ingredients. The first part of the book is dedicated to the Home, and covers cleaning products for every room, ideas for pickles and preserves, and tips on everything from natural laundry treatments to how to grow your own cocktail garden. The second part covers Health and Beauty, and includes bath salts, make up, serums, perfumes and even beard oil, as well as healing remedies such as burn salves and herbal teas. This inspiring guide is a must for anyone interested in living a simpler, more purposeful life.

A Family Guide to Waste Free Living by Lauren Carter

Tackle our ever-growing waste problem with all the information, advice, budget-friendly recipes and projects you’ll need to start reducing waste in your life. A Family Guide to Waste-free Living makes it simple and sustainable for families to eliminate waste in the home, at work and out in the world. This is a practical and inspiring resource for anyone wanting to live more sustainably. When it comes to waste-free living, Lauren and Oberon Carter really know their stuff. In 2015, they decided to get serious about minimising their ecological footprint, successfully reducing their energy consumption by more than 60 per cent and transitioning to living completely waste and recycling free. They have written this fantastic guide to help and encourage other families do the same. A Family Guide to Waste-free Living provides a roadmap for anyone wanting to reduce their waste. It is packed with information and offers practical and achievable solutions for eliminating waste in the home, at work and in the world. Inside you’ll find simple activities for the whole family instructions on building waste-free kits for around the house and out and about. You’ll also find a plan for creating change by advocating to government and business. Tackle our ever-growing waste problem with all the information, advice, budget-friendly recipes and projects you’ll need to start reducing waste in your life.

Waste Not by Erin Rhoads

‘We need to talk about waste. Shrink-wrapped veggies, disposable coffee cups, clothes and electronics designed to be upgraded every year: we are surrounded by stuff that we often use once and then throw away. Each year Australian households produce enough rubbish to fill a three-bedroom home, including thousands of dollars worth of food and an ever-increasing amount of plastic, which takes hundreds of years to break down and often ends up in our oceans or our food chain. But what to do about such a huge problem? Is it just the price we pay for the conveniences of modern life? What if it were possible to have it both ways – to live a modern life with less waste? That’s where Erin Rhoads, aka The Rogue Ginger, comes in. Erin went from eating plastic-packaged takeaway while shopping online for fast fashion, to becoming one of Australia’s most popular eco-bloggers. Erin knows that small changes can have a big impact. In Waste Not she shares everything she’s learnt from her own funny, inspiring – and far-from-perfect – journey to living with less waste.

Enjoy!

To Eliminate Waste We Need To Rediscover Thrift

When you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. In this fascinating Ted Talk Andrew Dent shares exciting examples of thrift – the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don’t have to purchase anything new.

A forgotten space-aged technology could change how we grow food.

We’re heading for a world population of 10 billion people but what will we all eat? Lisa Dyson has rediscovered an idea developed by NASA in the 1960s for deep-space travel, and it could be a key to reinventing how we grow food.

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?

How sustainable living taps into ancient wisdom

Sustainable living is defined as a lifestyle that reduces the impact on the Earth’s resources. However look a little closer and you’ll see the term, along with others such as self sufficiency, homesteading and organic food, are just new tags for traditional, common sense methods of living – the way our grandparents lived and largely fed themselves.

One increasingly popular part of sustainable living — growing organic food — is well documented by the following authors using this wisdom. They show how growing pesticide-free fruit and vegetables is not only possible but easy in small homes and apartments using the knowledge handed down by previous generations.

Indira Naidoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author, food activist and television personality Indira Naidoo has demonstrated this in her book The Edible Balcony and the recently released follow up The Edible City.

Both books examine how urban spaces can be transformed into productive, sustainable areas for the growing of organic vegetables. The author takes us into her world, first on her Sydney unit balcony, then to the city itself, to show how real sustainability and organic living can be achieved on a small scale and change lives for the better.

 

Linda Woodrow

https-::booko.us:9785150461124420150630:PermacultureSmall-scale organic living is very much the focus of Linda Woodrow’s The Permaculture Home Garden. The author combines traditional common sense with the science of permaculture to show how people can transform their gardens into sustainable food gardens.

Packed with advice, encouragement, diagrams and inspiration, The Permaculture Home Garden shows how easy it is to reduce your carbon footprint while producing stunning organic fruit and vegetables for the kitchen table.

Individual know how, organic living and sustainability are the key themes running through these books. Though they vary in style and scope, all three show the importance of collective knowledge and wisdom in sustainable living.

The power of environmentally conscious people thinking of the future of the planet by taking inspiration from the past.

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).

https-:covers.booko.info:300:ecoman

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

https-:covers.booko.info:300:weather

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

https-:covers.booko.info:300:everything

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

https-:covers.booko.info:300:anthro

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

https-:covers.booko.info:300:planet

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.

https-::booko.us:9785150461124420150630:Seymour

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.