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In this provocative, wide-ranging book, Richard Manning offers a dramatically revisionist view of recent human evolution, beginning with the vast increase in brain size that set us apart from our primate relatives and brought an accompanying increase in our need for nourishment. For 290,000 years, we managed to meet that need as hunter-gatherers, a state in which Manning believes we were at our most human: at our smartest, strongest, and most sensually alive. But our reliance on food made a secure supply deeply attractive, and eventually we embarked upon the agricultural experiment that has been the history of our past 10,000 years.
The evolutionary road is littered with failed experiments, however, and Manning suggests that agriculture as we have practiced it runs against both our grain and nature's. Drawing on the work of anthropologists, biologists, archaeologists, and philosophers, along with his own travels, he argues that not only our ecological ills (overpopulation, erosion, pollution) but our social and emotional malaise are rooted in the devil's bargain we made in our not-so-distant past. And he offers personal, achievable ways we might recontour the path we have taken to resurrect what is most sustainable and sustaining in our own nature and the planet's.
In Any Way You Slice It, Stan Cox shows that rationing is not just a quaint practice restricted to World War II memoirs and 1970s gas station lines. Instead, he persuasively argues that rationing is a vital concept for our fragile present, an era of dwindling resources and environmental crises.
This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress and economic instability?
The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals. Soil scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet's soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible?
Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil, we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.
Renewable energy guru Brian F. Keane walks you through the cost-benefit trade-offs that come with the exciting new technologies and introduces you to the revolutionary clean-energy products on the horizon, making the ins and outs of renewable energy easily accessible. He shows what you can do on every level to seize the opportunity and profit from it.
For many people, the word “industry” brings to mind images of sprawling factories belching toxic emissions in a blighted natural landscape. “Industrial” has become synonymous with pollution, human rights abuse, and corporate greed. In Industrial Evolution, Lyle Estill seeks to reclaim the term, with its original connotations of hard work, diligence and productivity, and to show how community-scale enterprise can create a vibrant, sustainable local economy. Industrial Evolution is a story of survival. It is about how the small group of committed entrepreneurs introduced in Small is Possible managed to keep their dream alive and thriving through the economic recession, emerging with a model of what a sustainable local economy might look like in a post carbon future. Compulsively readable and seasoned with light humor, this grassroots account demonstrates that ecological stewardship and enterprise at an appropriate scale can lay the foundation for abundance.
Industrial Evolution skips the doom and gloom and is all about solutions. By showing that it is possible to take the big out of industry, this book motivates people to work together in a meaningful way. Filled with inspirational tales of success, failure, perseverance, and real world experiences that anyone can relate to, Industrial Evolution is a must-read for activists, organizers, politicians, and anyone who cares about resilient communities.
For 400 years, explorers, traders, and settlers plundered North American wildlife in an escalating rampage, but in the 20th century an incredible turnaround took place. Conservationists created wildlife sanctuaries, restored habitats, and imposed regulations on hunters and trappers. Over decades, they nursed many wild populations back to health.
Then, after World War II, something happened that conservationists hadn’t foreseen: sprawl. People moved into suburbs, and then kept moving outward. All the while, well-meaning efforts to protect animals allowed wild populations to burgeon out of control, causing damage costing billions, degrading ecosystems, and touching off disputes that polarized communities. The result is a mix of people and wildlife that should be an animal-lover’s dream, but often turns into a sprawl-dweller’s nightmare.
Deeply researched, eloquently written, and perceptively humorous, Nature Wars expresses the need for organic reconnection with our natural ecosystem by offering a provocative look at how Americans created an inadvertent mess.
We all know the proverb about teaching someone to fish, but if there are no fish left, knowing how to catch them won’t do you any good. And that’s the position businesses are in today. Resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. The cost of raw materials is rising dramatically. We are, simply put, running out of things to take and places to trash.
To survive in the long term, says Nadya Zhexembayeva, businesses need to make resource scarcity—the overfished ocean—their primary strategic consideration, not just a concern for their “green” division. Those managers who deeply understand and master this shift will be able to turn the new reality into a remarkable competitive advantage.
Overfished Ocean Strategy offers five essential principles for innovating in this new reality. Zhexembayeva shows how businesses have been finding new opportunities in what were once considered useless byproducts, discovering resource-conserving efficiencies up and down their value chain, transferring their expertise from physical products to services, and developing ways to rapidly try out and refine these new business models. A business owner herself, Zhexembayeva fills the book with examples of companies that are already successfully navigating the overfished ocean, from established corporations such as BMW, Microsoft and Puma to newcomers such as Lush, FLOOW2 and Sourcemap.
The linear, throwaway economy of today—in which we extract resources at one end, create products, and throw them away at the other—is rapidly coming to an end. A new economy is being born, one that takes this line and turns it into a circle. In every industry, creative minds are learning how to make money from reducing rather than expanding. Zhexembayeva shows how you can join them and avoid being left high and dry.
In an era of corporate greed, Bob Moore’s philosophy of putting people before profit is a shining example of what’s right about America. Instead of selling out to numerous bidders who would have made him a very wealthy man, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods gave the $100 million company to his employees.
Bob Moore’s gift on February 15, 2010 (his 81st birthday) gave hope to an American workforce rocked by a decade of CEOs behaving badly. The national media heralded the announcement as the “feel good story of the recession.” It was an example of a return to ethics in the workplace, but as the legions of fans of Bob’s whole grain natural products would argue, ethics and a sense of corporate responsibility didn’t “return” to Bob’s Red Mill, they never left.
Most 60-year-old men who saw their business destroyed in an arson fire might have quit or faded away into retirement. Not Bob. After his wooden flour mill burned to the ground in 1988, he considered the 17 employees who counted on him for their livelihood, and started over. He rebuilt, and flourished. He grew the company to become the nation’s leading manufacturer of whole grain natural foods.
Bob’s is an amazing story of overcoming challenges and making great comebacks. His wife, Charlee, was the inspiration to feed the family healthy natural foods, but it was a divine appointment with a random library book titled John Goffe’s Mill that began Bob’s love affair with the ancient art of milling, using stone wheels to slowly grind grains into nutritious whole wheat flours, cereals, and mixes. His unconventional thinking and passion for healthy living is an inspirational story for readers of all ages.
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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.
Looking over the vast open plains of eastern Colorado, western Kansas and southwestern Nebraska, where one can travel miles without seeing a town or even a house, it is hard to imagine the crowded landscape of the last decades of the 19th century. In those days farmers, speculators, and town builders flooded the region, believing that rain would follow the plow and that the "Rainbelt" would become their agricultural Eden. It took a mere decade for drought and economic turmoil to drive these dreaming thousands from the land, turning farmland back to rangeland and reducing settlements to ghost towns.
David J. Wishart's The Last Days of the Rainbelt is the sobering tale of the rapid rise and decline of the settlement of the western Great Plains. History finds its voice in interviews with elderly residents of the region by Civil Works Administration employees in 1933 and 1934. Evidence similarly emerges from land records, climate reports, census records and diaries, as Wishart deftly tracks the expansion of westward settlement across the central plains and into the Rainbelt. Through an examination of migration patterns, land laws, town-building, and agricultural practices, Wishart re-creates the often-difficult life of settlers in a semiarid region who undertook the daunting task of adapting to a new environment. His book brings this era of American settlement and failure on the western Great Plains fully into the scope of historical memory.
The Meaty Truth is an eye-opening look at the massive problems caused by the American population’s food supply. Water, meat, and milk and other dairy products are filled with toxins, antibiotics, untested growth hormones, ammonia, and animal pus and manure. The current conditions of the food production industry must drastically improve, and until they do, it is absolutely vital to monitor what you eat. Authors Shushana Castle and Amy-Lee Goodman take a hard-hitting look at what America is putting into its food, the negative effects this has on the world, and the best ways to make healthy, informed decisions about eating.
As the antibiotic age ends, the rise of pandemic diseases is approaching. Approximately half of the illnesses that claim American lives today are related to what we eat, and our health care system is focused on treating the sick, not preventing illnesses from occurring. To fix our health problems, to continue feeding the world’s ever-growing population, and to save our planet from ecological destruction, we can no longer avoid making changes to how American meat and dairy are produced. This guide is easy to read, applicable to anyone’s lifestyle, and impossible to put down.
Essential steps to a healthy, sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture: what it means, why it is needed, and how it can transform the planet.