The Book Lounge - Recommended Environment Books
11 February 2009
2009: The Year of The Gorilla announced for Africa
10 February 2009
Upstream- Downstream: Wetlands connect us all
10 February 2009
DA draws ministerís attention to failing water boards
10 February 2009
The Book Lounge - Recommended Environment Books - 11 February 2009
Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth? edited by Andrew Simms and Joe Smith
Climate change is presented by campaign groups and scientists as an impossibly daunting threat. This book brings together household names who share a conviction that, on the contrary, living well needn't cost the earth - and will tell you why and how. Their collective vision, covering areas from architecture and politics to food and happiness, will completely reframe the way you think about climate change and what you're willing to do about it. Far from the usual doom and gloom, many here argue that climate change presents a once-in-a-century opportunity to address a whole basket of problems with energy and imagination. If we get things right, instead of an environmental apocalypse we could end up in a win-win situation - with both more satisfying lives and robust answers to these pressing, seemingly insurmountable, problems.
Contributors include: Phillip Pullman, A. C. Grayling, Oliver James, John Bird, Stephen Bayley, Wayne Hemingway, David Cameron and David Goldblatt – writing about love, happiness, telling tales, good design, the politics of the good life and having a good time.
"An eloquent and persuasive account of modern corporate greed, and how and why we should resist it... should make all but the Gordon Geckos of this world determined to do something about it” Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
“Terrific...no one can read this book and ever think of supermarkets as benign and life enhancing again.” Rosie Boycott
“Simms shows the creeping, invading unsustainable world of the supershop, its tentacles strangling the life out of our communities. Read it” John Bird, founder of The Big Issue
Bending the Curve: Your Guide To Tackling Climate Change in South Africa edited by Robert Zipplies
This brilliant book is an all-round guide to the facts and future of climate change in South Africa. It kicks off with a brief overview of the most recent climate change and environmental facts as they relate to SA, including the most pressing environmental, social and economic issues and how we got to this state; and goes on to offer practical advice and solutions – to the parent, the farmer, the corporate, and anyone else who is concerned and keen to act. With essays and contributions from Leonie Joubert, Jeremy Wakeford, Morné du Plessis, Harald Winkler, Zapiro and others, printed on sustainable, biodegradable paper, and sponsored by some large local companies, this is an excellent contribution to the small but growing number of locally written and published books on climate change.
Ten Technologies to Save the Planet by Chris Goodall
This book is as important as it is encouraging. Unlike so many environmental commentaries, this is a positive story for once - introducing key innovators, and the developments that will tackle climate change head-on. We all agree that global greenhouse emissions must be dramatically cut, but how do we actually achieve that? Despite targets being set, and you and me doing the recycling, the reality is that we will only avoid runaway global warming with the help of technological breakthroughs. In this fascinating book, Chris Goodall profiles ten technologies to watch, explaining how they work and telling the stories of the inventors and entrepreneurs driving them forward. Some of Goodall's selections, such as the electric car, are familiar. Others are more surprising. Algae, for example, can soak up carbon dioxide and produce fuel, while charcoal made from waste vegetable and forestry matter can lock carbon into soils and reduce the need for fertilizers. Cutting-edge and accessible, this is popular science at its most crucial. Highly recommended.
The New Complete Guide To Self Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers by John Seymour
This timeless and beautiful book is for all those who have dreamed of stepping outside the rat race and living a better, greener and more fulfilling life. In this revised and fully updated edition of John Seymour's classic guide to self-sufficiency, the dream becomes more attainable. Now running a School of Self-Sufficiency in Ireland, John Seymour is as committed as ever to living a better life, more simply, by living off the land, rather than being part of the consumer nightmare. His magnum opus covers every conceivable topic from animal husbandry and butchering, seed sowing and cropping, dairy production and food storage, rubbish and recycling. All delivered in Seymour's inimitable, occasionally brusque style, it is a mine of information beautifully illustrated with the original illustrations now rendered in colour. New material includes GM crops, urban gardens and alternative forms of energy with craft skills rounding the picture of natural wholesomeness off nicely. A classic of its time and a new classic in the making, this revised edition will encourage and assist all those aspiring to a live a healthier, more environmentally friendly life.
Boiling Point by Leonie Joubert
An accessible book on the local effects of environmental change has long been overdue. We read a lot about global climate change and we hear about the awful effects and conditions in other countries - but this book, by local author Leonie Joubert, comes closer to home and asks - what impact is South Africa having, what are the effects of global warming locally and, vitally, who is it most affecting? One of the most important points of this book is to show the appalling discrepancy between the effect that the wealthy have on our environment (and that includes you and me), and the devastating subsequent consequences for those who are already impoverished and marginalised. And here’s why we love this book - to make this point, Leonie introduces us to individuals upon whom environmental change has already had a terrible impact. So we meet Hendrik Hesselman, a rooibos farmer and share cropper; Ernest Titus, the fisherman from Lambert’s Bay; Selina, the Limpopo sangoma – and we hear their stories and their voices – and that makes this book very special and unique.
Ms Harris’s Book of Green Household Management: The Essential Thrift Bible by Caroline Harris
A charming combination of household tips, gardening guide, how to be greener and other useful snippets. Though published in the UK and therefore aimed at that market, the majority of this applies universally – not being related to seasons per sé. From cooking and saving energy to laundry and greener gifts, from thrift to recycling, this is a handy book for any household wishing to save both money and the planet!
Collins Complete Energy-Saving DIY
Although this doesn’t seem an obvious choice for a ‘serious’ environmental list, it is a little gem of really practical tips for making your home a greener one. They don’t all involve huge and costly projects, but many smaller things like fixing dripping taps and installing a bit of insulation – all illustrated by step-by-step diagrams so that anyone can do it. It just makes tackling environmental issues at home less daunting, for those with less time or fewer resources.
Cleaner Energy, Cooler Climate: Developing Sustainable Energy Solutions for SA by Harald Winkler
In dealing with an issue critical to South Africa, this book provides an innovative and strategic approach to climate policy. Winkler argues that a development-focused approach to energy and climate policy could well work in South Africa - with local development as a starting point, through energy modeling and indicators of sustainable development. He offers a nuanced examination of where the synergies and trade-offs lie, and makes clear the imperative of considering long-term implications when meeting short term needs.
“Recently, significant progress has been made integrating climate change policies into sustainable development strategy. Harald Winkler’s book is and excellent that applies this approach to both energy policy in South Africa and climate negotiations. This clear and concise volume is a must-read for students, researchers, negotiators and policymakers looking for practical solutions." Professor Mohan Munasinghe, Vice Chair, IPCC
The Whole Food Almanac by Michelle Matthews
This wonderful and handy guide to healthy eating and shopping in the Western Cape is one of a kind, and essential too. If you are keen to shop for natural, healthy, organic food, which is all produced locally, then this is very much the book for you. Over 200 producers, shops, restaurants and markets are listed, none of them more than 2 hours from here. Charmingly written with recipes, tips on choosing and preparing foods, information on sustainable and safe food choices, recycling, gardening and feeding kids, this is an excellent book to carry with you in your quest to be greener, healthier and more organic.
Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver
By the author of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, this is an earlier collection of essays, in which she muses on various topics from the vegetable garden to motherhood, from genetic engineering to civil rights. They are grounded in her belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth’s remotest corners as well as our own back yards – and that the answers may lie in these places too. Highly praised on publication, the message and musings in this volume stand as true today as ever. “Her reflections about nature are persuasive and thoughtful…it is heartening to see an author determined to take positive lessons from dark times.” Economist
Climate Change: Carbon Trading and Civil Society by Patrick Bond, Rehana Dada & Graham Erion
With climate change posing perhaps the gravest threat to humanity in coming decades, and with free market economics still hegemonic, it is little wonder so much effort has gone into creating a carbon market, no matter how much evidence has recently emerged about its flaws. South Africa, a pilot site, has initiated a variety of carbon trading projects with adverse economic, environmental and social impacts. South Africa pollutes at a rate 20 times higher than even the USA, measured by CO2 emissions generated by each GDP dollar per person, so the idea of trading for carbon reductions is seductive - and potentially lucrative. Current state policy is supportive, and a former environment minister is a promoter, along with the World Bank, the Dutch governments and big oil companies. This book is a collection of essays by leading academics and collectives in the field of climate change, sustainable energy and social ecology, assembled by Patrick Bond, Rehana Dada and Graham Erion of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the TransNational Institute, to highlight this urgent situation; and asks - 'Can global warming be mitigated by carbon trading?'
Love Green Food by Larissa Green
This gem is all about organic food and the almost spiritual experience of cooking ‘nice, clean food’ with lashings of love. Lovegreenfood is the brainchild of Larissa Green. It began as a private cooking school that focused on cooking and eating with consciousness. The aim was to create awareness about our choices as consumers and about the way we live on the planet and take care of ourselves. Lovegreenfood has been involved in community educational programs and is launching an organic recipe book in October 2008, as well as opening an organic café in Gardens January 2009.Larissa Green is an organic chef, originally trained with Le Cordon Bleu Sydney, Australia. She moved towards educating people about simple, healthy home cooking using organic ingredients after taking the journey towards this lifestyle herself at a time when her health demanded it together with a growing environmental and spiritual awareness. She started lovegreenfood in 2006, offering a service focused on organic food and empowering people to cook and eat with consciousness through workshops and is launching her first organic recipe book.
Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning by George Monbiot
This book is an absolute essential - from one of the scourges of big business, the rilers of government and arch-enemy of climate-change-deniers everywhere. As the effect of climate change grows by the day, so does the amount of bluster spouted by politicians and businessmen on what it is and what it isn’t – and what we should be doing about it. The abundance of excuses and lies, the fudged figures, the PR greenwashing, the outright misinformation on the power of everything from wind turbines to carbon trading means that most of us are battling to find the truth. Fortunately, Mr Monbiot cuts through the crap to bring us the unwashed, unvarnished reality, in a compelling and thought-provoking book.
“I defy you to read this book and not feel motivated to change.” The Times
“A dazzling command of science and a relentless faith in people” Naomi Klein
The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development by Maggie Black
One of the wonderful and handy little guides in the ‘no-nonsense’ series. In this text, Maggie Black traces the history of development from its post-colonial beginnings, and examines the relationship between development and economic growth, the impact development has had on the living conditions of the poor and on the environment, and whether development will have a specific role in the future, or whether it will simply be subsumed under the concept of globalization.
"A splendid new series of pocketable guides" The Guardian
"Closest to the hot headline issues are the No Nonsense Guides" Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
"The No-Nonsense Guides are the most accessible and enjoyable means for people with hurried lives to find out how the world really works." George Monbiot
Visit The Book Lounge and sign up for their newsletter:
71 Roeland st Cape Town
Tel: 021 462 2425