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Bigger has turned out not to be better. Servicing the global economy has exacted a heavy toll in the erosion of our communities and the destruction of our environment. Increasingly, we are coming to realize that the way forward looks a lot like the way back — back to strong local economies, back to resilient, tight-knit communities, back to the land and work that is real.
As we chart our course through these uncertain times, we are hungry for inspiration. Robert Swann was a self-taught economist, a tireless champion of decentralism, and the father of the relocalization movement. A conscientious war resistor imprisoned for his beliefs, Swann engaged in lifelong nonviolent direct action against war, racism and economic inequity. His legacy is a vision of a life-affirming, alternative economy of peace founded on innovations in land and monetary reform.
Swann's story is also the untold history of decentralism in the United States. He associated with a constellation of vital, intelligent independent authors and activists, and ultimately co-founded the Schumacher Society based on the philosophies of Small Is Beautiful author E. F. Schumacher.
Swann forged tools to build productive, resilient local and regional economies. Now as global industrial civilization flails in the throes of ecological and economic crisis, Swann's working innovations are at the ready to help neighborhoods, local entrepreneurs, and willing communities to rebuild at appropriate scales.
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Concerns over climate change and energy depletion are increasing exponentially. Mainstream solutions still assume a panacea that will cure our climate ills without requiring any serious modification to our way of life.
Plan C explores the risks inherent in trying to continue our energy-intensive lifestyle. Using dirtier fossil fuels (Plan A) or switching to renewable energy sources (Plan B) allows people to remain complacent in the face of a potential global catastrophe. Dramatic lifestyle change is the only way to begin to create a sustainable, equitable world. The converging crises of Peak Oil, Climate Change and increasing inequity are presented in a clear, concise manner, as are the twin solutions of community (where cooperation replaces competition) and curtailment (deliberately reducing consumption of consumer goods).
Plan C shows how each person's individual choices can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. It offers specific strategies in the areas of food, transportation and housing. One chapter analyzes the decimation of the Cuban economy when the USSR stopped oil exports in 1990 and provides an inspiring vision for a low energy way of living.
Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner and sustainable lifestyle.
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After covering the environment and energy beat for more than a decade, columnist Amanda Little decided that the only way to fully understand America’s energy crisis was to travel into the heart of it. So she embarked on a daring, cross-country power trip to the most extreme and exciting frontiers of our energy landscape.
In Power Trip, we accompany her to a deep-sea oil rig, the cornfields of Kansas, the catacombs of the Pentagon, the Talladega Superspeedway, and inside New York City’s electrical grid. We visit laboratories creating the innovations that will carry us into a clean-energy future. Little also travels back through history to investigate how America developed its unrivaled appetite for fossil fuels. In vivid, fast-paced prose, she illustrates how the same American ingenuity that got us into this mess can get us out of it too.
In Powering the Future, Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin transports us two centuries into the future, when we've ceased to use carbon from the ground-either because humans have banned carbon burning or because fuel has simply run out. Boldly, Laughlin predicts no earth-shattering transformations will have taken place. Six generations from now, there will still be soccer moms, shopping malls, and business trips. Firesides will still be snug and warm.
How will we do it? Not by discovering a magic bullet to slay our energy problems, but through a slew of fascinating technologies, drawing on wind, water and fire. Powering the Future is an objective yet optimistic tour through alternative fuel sources, set in a world where we've burned every last drop of petroleum and every last shovelful of coal.
The ultimate guide to acquiring, assembling, and using lifesaving emergency communication systems, this book includes in-depth information on operating ham radios, walkie-talkies, shortwave radios, and citizens band (CB) radios. When disaster strikes, calls, texts and emails don’t work. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, cell phones were rendered useless when transmission towers were destroyed and networks became overloaded. Having an alternative way of reaching family and loved ones at these critical moments is essential. With this guide, learn the best tips, tricks, and expert secrets for surviving when phones and the internet fail. This comprehensive guide covers everything needed to be fully prepared for when the grid goes down.
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Made by the women of Kampala, Uganda, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria, this beautiful, one-of-a-kind necklace is created from recycled magazines. These women are paid a fair-trade rate for their work. Be careful not to get necklace wet. Fastened by screw clasp. 30" to 40" long. Colors vary.
Science writer Jeremy Shere shows us in Renewable: The World-Changing Power of Alternative Energy that energy is anything but magical. Producing it in fossil fuel form is a dirty, expensive-but also hugely profitable- enterprise, with enormous but largely hidden costs to the entire planet. The cold, hard fact is that at some point we will have wrung the planet dry of easily accessible sources of fossil fuel. And when that time comes, humankind will have no choice but to turn-or, more accurately, return-to cleaner, renewable energy sources. What will those sources be? How far have we come to realizing the technologies that will make these sources available?
To find the answers to these questions, Shere began his journey with a tour of a traditional coal-fueled power plant in his home state of Indiana. He then continued on, traveling from coast to coast as he spoke to scientists, scholars and innovators. He immersed himself in the green energy world: visiting a solar farm at Denver's airport, attending the Wind Power Expo and a wind farm tour in Texas, investigating turbines deep in New York City's East River, and much more.
Arranged in five parts-Green Gas, Sun, Wind, Earth, and Water-Renewable tells the stories of the most interesting and promising types of renewable energy: namely, biofuel, solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower. But unlike many books about alternative energy, Renewable is not obsessed with megawatts and tips for building home solar panels. Instead, Shere digs into the rich, surprisingly long histories of these technologies, bringing to life the pioneering scientists, inventors and visionaries who blazed the way for solar, wind, hydro and other forms of renewable power. He unearths the curious involvement of great thinkers like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.
We are at an important crossroads in the history of renewable technologies. The possibilities are endless and enticing, and it has become increasingly clear that renewable energy is the way of the future. In Renewable, Jeremy Shere's natural curiosity and serious research come together in an entertaining and informative guide to where renewable energy has been, where it is today, and where it's heading.
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The mainstream music industry is an easy target these days, wracked not just by the old mediocrity but also by diving sales and deep layoffs as the assault of the MP3s continues. So Rock On, Dan Kennedy's account of working at Atlantic Records as the bottom fell out, could be construed as piling on if Kennedy weren't so damn funny and, despite a good-sized ego, occasionally self-deprecating and even sweetly human as he describes his time inside the belly of the corporate beast. (Actually, you'd better be self-deprecating if you're writing print ads for Phil Collins and creating TV spots for Jewel.) A McSweeneys.net contributor and spoken-word performer with a laserlike wit, Kennedy deploys his considerable snark with deadly precision.
-Keith Goetzman,Utne Reader, May-June 2008
May 2008 Conversations Collection selection of the month!
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In a kaleidoscopic narrative, bestselling author David Talbot recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the turbulent years between 1967 and 1982—and of the extraordinary men and women who led to the city’s ultimate rebirth and triumph.
Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself—and then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 1960s cultural revolution. But by the early 1970s, San Francisco’s ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots, and finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span.
David Talbot takes us deep into the riveting story of his city’s ascent, decline, and heroic recovery. He draws intimate portraits of San Francisco’s legendary demons and saviors: Charles Manson, Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, Herb Caen, the Cockettes, Harvey Milk, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, Joe Montana and the Super Bowl 49ers. He reveals how the city emerged from the trials of this period with a new brand of “San Francisco values,” including gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling, renewable energy, consumer safety, and a living wage mandate. Considered radical when they were first introduced, these ideas have become the bedrock of decent society in many parts of the country, and exemplify the ways that the city now inspires us toward a live-and-let-live tolerance, a shared sense of humanity, and an openness to change.
As a new generation of activists and dreamers seeks its own path to a more enlightened future, Season of the Witch—with its epic tale of the wild and bloody birth of San Francisco values—offers both inspiration and cautionary wisdom.
Pollution isn't just an abstract, distant problem seen in belching smokestacks and contaminated waterways; it's also personal. Some of the most dangerous pollutants come from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces, products such as shampoos and toothpastes, carpets and children's toys.
To prove this point, leading environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie conducted their own research by ingesting and inhaling a host of things that are part of our everyday lives. Using their own bodies as the reference point to tell the story of pollution in our modern world, they expose the miscreant corporate giants who manufacture the toxins, the weak-kneed government officials who let it happen, and the effects on people and families across the globe. Slow Death by Rubber Duck, the book that resulted from their experience, exposes the extent to which we are poisoned every day of our lives.
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Just reading the word "subsidies" may cause people's eyes to glaze over. We don't think it affects us directly, so we tune out. But it turns out that this complicated-sounding issue has an enormous impact on all of us. The Big Handout is about bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health, and foreign policies. And it's a story about just one thing-subsidies. A subsidy is a grant by the government to a private business that is deemed advantageous to the public. Cotton, wheat, corn, soy, and oil are the most subsidized commodities in the United States. In this eye-opening book, New York Times best-selling author Thomas Kostigen explores government policies that cost taxpayers $200 billion per year, over $1,500 per household. In some cases we pay more for subsidized goods than we'd pay in a free market-and, in the most shocking abuses of the subsidy system, we pay for goods that aren't even produced.
The Big Handout exposes how artificial pricing hurts us and people worldwide, from our waistlines and pocketbooks to our health. By revealing just how toxic America's subsidy system has become, for everyone, The Big Handout is a wake-up call that empowers readers to effect change.
Beginning with the down-to-earth basics of soil, sun and water, fertilizer and seeds and propagation, The Bountiful Container is an extraordinarily complete guide to container gardening. Written by two seasoned container gardeners and writers, Rose McGee and Maggie Stuckey share their expertise and experience in the art of container gardening.
Armed with this manual, frustrated apartment dwellers can indulge their passion for growing edible things. If there is an available balcony, porch, front or back steps, growing produce in containers can be easy and rewarding. With some limitations, it is even possible to grow foods in a window box or on an indoor windowsill.
This collection of practical advice includes detailed information on the types of containers to use, equipment needed, the right soil, when to plant which seeds and how best to deal with problems such as too much or too little sunlight. Written for the beginner as well as for those with a background in gardening, the book contains comprehensive, clearly written and frequently inspiring directions from authors McGee and Stuckey.