March 23, 2007

Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants by Carol Steinfeld

0966678311.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgWant more on greywater? Or yellow water, even? Here's a three-fer.

Carol Steinfeld, co-author of The Composting Toilet System Handbook, also wrote Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants and Reusing the Resource: Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling.

Steinfeld, who lives in our hometown of Cambridge, MA is a writer, researcher, and program designer who specializes in ecological resource management solutions. As project director for Ecowaters, a nonprofit public information project, she conducts workshops worldwide on wastewater recycling.

Her book Liquid Gold focuses on how urine can safely be used to grow food, fuel, fiber, and beautiful landscapes while protecting the environment and providing free and safe fertilizer.

ArrowContinue reading: "Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants by Carol Steinfeld"

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

March 16, 2007

Paper or Plastic by Daniel Imhoff

1578051177.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgTo be or not to be? And just as importantly, paper or plastic?

Paper or Plastic: Searching for Solutions to an Overpackaged World by writer Daniel Imhoff and designer/photographer Roberto Carra explores the environmental implications of this question with some captivating results.

More than half of America's solid waste comes from packaging -- more than 300 pounds per person per year.

ArrowContinue reading: "Paper or Plastic by Daniel Imhoff"

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2007

Weekend Reading: Fields That Dream by Jenny Kurzweil

155591506X.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgA Really Natural reader just told us about Fields That Dream: A Journey to the Roots of our Food by Jenny Kurzweil.

The book explores the lives of small-scale sustainable farmers who sell their foods at the Seattle Farmer's Market. Each chapter focuses on a farmer, and explores a different part of the social and cultural history of agriculture in the U.S.

100% of the royalties from book sales go to support The Neighborhood Farmers’ Market Alliance and the PCC Farmland Fund.

Buy Fields That Dream by Jenny Kurzweil.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

March 2, 2007

Weekend Reading: The Soil and Health

soil-and-health-cover_150.jpgSir Albert Howard's The Soil and Health is back in print.

Howard's writings were the inspiration behind J.I. Rodale's seminal Organic Farming and Gardening magazine. Which makes Howard the forefather (or forefather's forefather) of the organic movement, writes Tom Philpott on the topic of the book's reissue:

Howard's books belong on the shelf with other 20th-century classics like Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities and E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful. These works challenge a scientific/bureaucratic establishment that seeks to solve the problems of mass industrialization with more industrialization. In the words of the great German-Jewish writer Walter Benjamin, a contemporary of Howard, they seek to "make whole what has been smashed" by a zeal for specialization. Much-cited and little-heeded, they may yet point a way out of our mounting environmental and social crises.

Buy The Soil and Health.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2007

Weekend Reading: The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times

0393052206.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgSaw an interview in the New York Times Book Review a few weeks back with Tristram Stuart, author of The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times.

Although the term "vegetarian" didn't come into use until the mid 1800's, Stuart traces the history of vegetarian thinking to the 1600's, looking at literary, social and cultural history. At a time when nutritionists and health experts are re-discovering the health benefits of a plant-based diet (see Michael Pollan's article in last week's NYTimes for a terrific discussion of the thinking behind this latest thinking), Stuart's detailed history goes beyond "Meat is Murder" to explore the evolution of scientific and ethical thinking behind the vegetarian movement.

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

February 2, 2007

Earth From Above Yann Arthus-Bertrand

EarthfromAbove.jpgLooking for a eco-friendly gift for your Valentine that says "I love you and I love the planet, too"? Check out Earth from Above, a book of photographs from Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Gregory McNamee had this to say about the book in his review on Amazon.

Arthus-Bertrand, working with the support of UNESCO, has wandered the globe to gather this collection of more than 200 photographs, presented in a folio format. The images are uniformly striking, whether of stalagmite-like fans of algae spreading into the Mediterranean Sea, farmers working their fields in northern India, or destroyed Iraqi tanks littering the deserts of Kuwait. The accompanying text, captions, and short essays by some of France's leading scientists and social critics lend specific depth to the images, which will cheer few readers--but that will shock, and educate, and, with luck, inspire closer attention to the world around us.

Jeff Wignall, author of The Joy of Digital Photography adds

Earth from Above
is one of those books that just makes you instantly wonder: How in the world did one man do this? The scope and breadth of the territory covered, the absolute beauty of each and every image and the soulfulness of the subjects is almost impossible to describe.

Available at Earth from Above.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 4, 2007

Do It Yourself: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt

generationt.jpg We spent the weekend between Christmas and New Year's doing the winter version of spring cleaning -- out with the old, in with the new. Well, actually, it was more "out with the old (to Goodwill, of course), and in with a little extra space in the house."

One of the challenges I always face when I hit my closet is what to do with all the t-shirts I manage to accumulate. I've got several old favorites which for whatever reason -- too baggy, wrong neckline, no-longer-fashionable sleeves -- end up sitting on the shelf instead of getting worn. I haven't worn them all year, but I can't bring myself to get rid of them.

Which is why I was delighted to come across a copy of Megan Nicolay's Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt. Nicolay is a crafty do-it-yourselfer who offers, yep, 108 different things you can do with your old t-shirts -- from basic no-sewing-required ideas to crazy high-degree-of-difficulty projects like the "teeny bikini." Patchwork blankets, iPod cozies, handbags -- the sky's the limit as long as you've got scissors, a needle and thread, and the gumption to put yourself in Nicolay's crafty little hands and give it a go.

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 22, 2006

Weekend Reading: Forum for the Future's Top 10 Environmental Books

Liked David Suzuki's Top 10 Environmental Books? Check out Forum for the Future's Top 10 List and see how it compares.

SMALL-IS-BEAUTIFUL_120.jpgPeter Madden, the chief exec at Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Grist about sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. He took a poll of 100 staff and colleagues in the U.K. and came up with the following:

Small Is Beautiful (1973), by E.F. Schumacher

Silent Spring (1962), by Rachel Carson

Gaia (1979), James Lovelock

stark.jpgFactor Four (1995), by Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Ernst von Weizsäcker

Stark (1993), by Ben Elton

Read Madden's full list on Grist.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 18, 2006

She's Crafty: Bazaar Bizarre Crafts Fair (Don't Worry: There's also a Book!)

Spent Saturday afternoon with Jane and Russ checking out the Bazaar Bizarre, a kooky hipster crafts fair organized by the founders of Magpie. "Not your granny's crafts fair" is their tagline, and they live up to it with fun and funky DIY crafts sold by folks who are, well, as fun and funky as the stuff they sell.

Russ and I picked up some techno-tacular one-of-a-kind metal robots made of recycled screws and bike parts from 80GritArt.

I bought a recycled metal egg to go with my rooster and bird collection from Anna Johannson of AnnaBuilt.

And we picked up recycled cashmere hats, a porcupine pin cushion and other little treasures for folks on our lists.

Bazaar-Bizarre.jpgBazaar Bizarre happened this year in Boston and LA. But if you missed it, don't despair completely. If you're crafty, or know someone who is, you can always pick up the book - Bazaar Bizarre - by Greg DerAnanian, one of the founders of the fair.

The book takes crafts projects from actual Bazaar Bizarre crafters, and shows you how to DIY-'em. iPod cozies, hats with ears, cuff bracelets made from vinyl records -- DerAnanian's got the stuff. So if you missed the Bazaar Bizarre itself, or went and find yourself hungry for more, pick up a copy to tide yourself over until next year.

Available on Amazon.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 15, 2006

Weekend Reading: David Suzuki's Top 10 Books on the Environment

1553650220.01._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgEnjoy surfing celebrity playlists on iTunes? How about the equivalent for books? Just came across David Suzuki's 10 Books to Read on the Environmenton Amazon.

David Suzuki is a scientist, a broadcaster, and an environmentalist. You may know him as the host of the TV show "The Nature of Things." His list is full of oldies but goodies - books he says were formative to his development as an environmentalist. They include Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, Naturalist by E. O. Wilson, and Al Gore's Earth in the Balance, among others.

Check out the full list here.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

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