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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.
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As mayors and city councilors seek solutions to climate change, existing policies and legislation can stand in the way of effective change.
The Carbon Charter is the first book to describe the municipal bylaws required to abate climate change and create sustainable communities. It provides city councilors with a cut-and-paste set of green bylaws and policies of best practices culled from environmentally advanced communities around the world. They can be taken straight out of the book, placed into a council agenda with minimum modification, and voted on.
The Carbon Charter provides city councilors with the ammunition they need to implement and accelerate sustainability initiatives quickly. The book describes bylaws that are applicable throughout the world, with the emphasis on examples that are beneficial to temperate climates such as the U.S. and Canada. It also proposes innovative new bylaws that are found nowhere else. This highly accessible, comprehensive handbook includes:
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On May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg in south central Kansas. In the desperate days immediately after the catastrophe, town leaders-including the ex-cop mayor, the city manager, and an environmentalist from Colorado - launched a program to rebuild Greensburg green. Just like the name of the town. Before the tornado, Greensburg was slowly dying, a village about to be buried in the Great Plains. Now it is a mecca for eco-tourists. Author Robert Fraga taught math for 20 years in Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Later he taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin and Baker University in Kansas. His two books on mathematics are entitled Calculus Problems for a New Century and War Stories from Applied Math. He and his wife Jean Grant, parents of two grown children, live in Lawrence, Kan., and the Dordogne region of France.
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In this urgent time, World on the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental issues and how to solve them now. We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distils in World on the Edge. Bringing decades of research and analysis into play, he provides the responses needed to reclaim our future.