Ten (Really 11) Green Books for Your Christmas Stocking

Are you still hunting around for suitable gifts? Perhaps you’ve decided that 2012 is the year you're going to live more sustainably? Below is a list of ten recently published books for your Christmas stocking that can help you go green, consume wisely and live simply (well, really 11 if you count the last one!).

I've included links to the original publisher website, but most of the books will be available from a variety of online and bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

The Little Veggie Patch: How to Grow Food in Small Spaces
Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember

Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember run a successful business installing edible gardens: in polystyrene boxes on balconies, in crates for the backyard, or by creating no-dig, raised garden beds. After years of helping clients set up spaces to grow their own fruit and vegetables they believe anyone can create their own little edible garden, in almost any area. 
This lively guide provides comprehensive information on soil, climate, watering, composting, worm farms, saving and sowing seeds, and raised garden beds and crates – each section includes an illustrated step-by-step activity to help you create your own little veggie patch.

The complete A-Z of edible plants provides vital information on more than 40 vegetables (and fruit trees), including planting information, maintenance advice, best companions and when to harvest. There are hilarious tips and stories, and the family activities scattered throughout the book will get the kids involved.

Publishing details here.

Greeniology 2020: Greener Living Today, and in the Future
Tanya Ha

Tanya Ha is Australia’s foremost mainstream advocate for the benefits of going green. Greeniology 2020 is a reference book that covers going green in Australia in all major aspects of a modern lifestyle. It combines practical tips and Ha’s trademark accessible style with scientific rigour.

There is information on green cleaning, health and beauty, sustainable food and fashion, saving water, saving energy, cultivating a green garden, buying a greener car, and green building and renovating. There’s also a chapter on healthy homes and indoor air quality that is particularly useful for those with allergies, one on how to go green at work, and one on how to have a green baby.

Ha moves from the straightforward kind of green advice to more complex and technical areas while still writing in an accessible, conversational way. Thus, there’s information on the ingredients to avoid in cleaning products, as well as how to make your own; but you’ll also find detailed specifications for different kinds of lights and light fittings; what and how to recycle; the costs and carbon emissions of various hot water systems, cooling systems and heating systems; and environmental ratings for new homes.

The book also covers what to consider when installing a rainwater tank, and the role of building orientation when designing a green home. Home-based renewable electricity sources are explained, and windows, floors, decking, insulation, cooking ranges and fridges all get a look-in.

Interspersed throughout are Ha’s answers to detailed questions sent in by readers, and there is space at the end of each chapter for readers to create weekly, monthly and longer term green goals.

A full review can be found here.

Publishing details here.

Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All
Oran B. Hesterman

A host of books and films in recent years have documented the dangers of our current food system, from chemical run-off to soaring rates of diet-related illness and inhumane treatment of workers and animals. But advice on what to do about it largely begins and ends with the advice to eat local or eat organic. Fair Food is an enlightening and inspiring US guide to changing not only what we eat, but how food is grown, packaged, delivered, marketed, and sold.

Oran B. Hesterman shows how the dysfunction of the modern food system came about and defines the new principles and concrete steps required to restructure it. Along the way, he introduces people and organisations across the country who are already doing this work in creative ways, from bringing fresh food to inner cities to fighting for farm workers’ rights and putting cows back on the pastures. He also provides a wealth of practical information for readers who want to get more involved.

Publishing details here.

The Thrifty Forager
Alys Fowler

Foraging is a fast-growing global phenomenon that is fun, environmentally friendly and thrifty. This UK book takes a fresh look at foraging, and encourages you to look closer to home than the fields and hedgerows of the countryside, from the weeds in your garden to the trees in your street.

Fowler showcases her favourite edibles with a plant directory that includes photographic identification, detailed descriptions, and tips on how to grow and eat the plants, including recipes. The book also features innovative ideas for eating your local landscape, from community gardens in Todmorden, UK, to Edimental (edible ornamentals) gardens in Norway.

Publishing details here.

Green Crafts for Children: 35 Step-By-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, and Found Materials
Emma Hardy

Kids love to make their own toys, games, gifts and ornaments. If they can use recycled materials, so much the better for them and the planet! None of Emma Hardy’s projects in this book use any special materials. Instead, they all rely on items that are likely to be in the cupboard, can be found around the house or garden, or collected on walks in the park or at the beach. There are recipes for salt dough and methods for easy felting, plus ways to imaginatively use old gift-wrapping paper and worn-out clothes, as well as pine cones, tree bark, shells and other natural bits and bobs. 

Gifts for relatives and friends are included, together with games and toys that can be made and then played with again and again. From painted stones and a friendship bracelet to a simple dolls’ house and a driftwood boat, children will love the projects in this engaging book.

Publishing details here.

The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient In Uncertain Times
Rob Hopkins

In 2008, the bestselling Transition Handbook suggested a model for a community-led response to peak oil and climate change. Since then, the Transition idea has gone viral around the world, from Italian villages and Brazilian favelas to universities and London neighbourhoods. In contrast to the ever-worsening stream of information about climate change, the economy and resource depletion, Transition focuses on solutions; on community-scale responses; and on meeting new people and having fun.

The Transition Companion picks up the story three years later, drawing from the experience of one of the most fascinating experiments under way in the world today. It tells inspiring tales of communities working for a future where local economies are valued and nurtured, where lower energy use is seen as a benefit, and where enterprise, creativity and the building of resilience have become cornerstones of a new economy.

Publishing details here.

Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution
Safia Minney 

Safia Minney is founder and CEO of fair trade and sustainable fashion label People Tree, an award-winning social business. She has been awarded Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by the World Economic Forum.

In Naked Fashion, Minney invites you to join the growing movement of consumers, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals who are using their purchasing power, talents, and experience to make fashion more sustainable. Designers, photographers, models, illustrators, actors and journalists from all over the world, including Emma Watson, Summer Rayne Oakes and Vivienne Westwood, talk about what they are doing differently to make fashion more sustainable. And there’s information on all aspects of sustainable fashion – fair trade and environment, styling and modelling, upcycling and slow fashion, and how we can change the high street. The book includes an ethical brand directory, and stunning visuals throughout.

Publishing details here.

Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have
Danny Seo

Renowned environmental lifestyle expert and Today Show regular Danny Seo shares 100 of his most inspiring projects for creative transformation. Neglected items around your house can be the source for exciting craft possibilities! Turn your old leather belts into a cool doormat (or even a briefcase); worn-out paperbacks into gorgeous bud vases; tennis balls into a quaint country swing; chopsticks into a handsome trivet, and many more.

With full-colour photos throughout to guide and inspire, Danny shows that it’s easy to be crafty, and fun to be budget- and eco-conscious.

Publishing details here.

The New Organic Gardener: The Ultimate Guide to Organic Gardening in Australia
Tim Marshall 

Tim Marshall runs a consulting and training business for organic farmers and is regarded by many as Australia’s foremost organic certification expert. His passion for gardening infuses every part of this book. He guides you through the principles of organic gardening, and explains the reasons behind these principles.

Marshall believes that organic gardening is much more than simply throwing a bit of mulch onto your garden beds. A true organic gardener adopts a holistic approach, starting with the most precious organic element of all: the soil.

The book is full of practical  information about applying organic methods for a large range of vegetables and herbs as well as flowers, trees (including fruit trees), shrubs and even a traditional lawn.

The New Organic Gardener also investigates the role of new science and manufacturing in explaining how organic gardening works. It provides readers with options for ‘off the shelf’ products to make organic gardening easier, safer and more precise.

Beautifully designed and illustrated, and drawing on Tim’s vast experience in organic gardening, this book is a comprehensive reference that features all the latest, most-up-to date thinking balanced with tried and true methods.

Publishing details here

Consumer Republic: Using Brands to Get What You Want, Make Corporations Behave, and Maybe Even Save the World
Bruce Philp

Bruce Philp believes that consumers have much more power than they realise. An industry insider – he has worked in branding and advertising for almost three decades – he argues that companies spend millions on creating and sustaining brands, but a brand is actually a fragile thing because consumers have the power to make it worthless.

Using fascinating case studies, Philp dismantles the simplistic predator–prey narrative behind the anti-brand movement, confronts us with our real role in the system, and inspires us to make every dollar we spend count. He wants consumers to buy less but demand better, make meaningful choices instead of just easy ones, and speak up when they’re happy and when they’re not. Pin every one of these acts to a brand, he believes, and corporations will be forced to cooperate in making our way of life sustainable. Abandon brands, and we’ll surrender our marketplace to scoundrels.

Publishing details here and here.

Oh alright:

The Inspired Shopper: A Unique Guide to Fabulously Successful Shopping
Catherine Magree

This scintillating ebook, available through Amazon and shamelessly promoted on this blog by its author, will help you decide whether or not you need to buy the other ones!

Increasing numbers of us want to buy quality goods, shop ethically, save money, and stop cluttering our homes with things we don’t need. But how do we actually put this into practice? When we do buy, how do we know that what we’re buying is something that we really need? And how do we know whether it’s right for us?

The Inspired Shopper is an introduction to the art of slow shopping. It shows you how to find goods you truly want and need by shopping mindfully. It reveals techniques for uncannily spotting bargains, finding goods that ‘fit’ you, and developing helpful new shopping habits. It’s great for overspenders, underspenders, budget and frugal shoppers, and may also be helpful for recovering compulsive shoppers.

With information on thrifting, buying ethical fashion on the cheap, eBay, sustainable shopping, buying household goods and big-ticket items, and even how to buy a house intuitively, The Inspired Shopper will show you how to transform your shopping life and become the relaxed, confident and efficient shopper you always wanted to be.

Publishing details here.

Until next time!
If you enjoyed this blog entry, you might also like Yuletide Thrift: Tips for a Sustainable and Frugal Christmas.

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