America's once-vibrant small-to-midsize cities-Syracuse, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass.; Akron, Ohio; Flint, Mich.; Rockford, Ill.; and others-increasingly resemble urban wastelands. Gutted by deindustrialization, outsourcing and middle-class flight, disproportionately devastated by metro freeway systems that laid waste to the urban fabric and displaced the working poor, and struggling with pockets of poverty reminiscent of postcolonial squalor, small industrial cities have become invisible to a public distracted by the Wall Street (big city) versus Main Street (small town) matchup. These cities would seem to be part of America's past, not its future. And yet, journalist and historian Catherine Tumber argues in this provocative book, America's gritty Rust Belt cities could play a central role in a greener, low-carbon, relocalized future.
As we wean ourselves from fossil fuels and realize the environmental costs of suburban sprawl, we will see that small cities offer many assets for sustainable living not shared by their big city or small town counterparts: population density (and the capacity for more); fertile, nearby farmland available for local agriculture, windmills and solar farms; and manufacturing infrastructure and workforce skill that can be repurposed for the production of renewable-energy technology.
Tumber, who has spent much of her life in Rust Belt cities, traveled to 25 cities in the Northeast and Midwest-from Buffalo, N.Y., to Peoria, Ill., to Detroit to Rochester, N.Y.-interviewing planners, city officials and activists, and weaving their stories into this exploration of small-scale urbanism. Smaller cities can be a critical part of a sustainable future and a productive green economy. Small, Gritty, and Green will help us develop the moral and political imagination we need to realize this.
Author: Catherine Tumber
This is a book of ideas and action, but it is also a chronicle of personal experience. Readers follow White as he travels the country and world: from Kansas to Los Angeles, New York City, Italy, France, Yellowstone and New England. Along the way he recounts stories of Amish farmers in Ohio, cattle ranchers in the Southwest, creek restorationists in New Mexico, local food entrepreneurs in Arizona and carbon pioneers in Australia. Their stories inform and entertain, but they also reveal encouraging and hopeful answers to anguished questions about our collective future, including issues of sustainability, climate change mitigation, resilience, land health, collaborative conservation, ecological restoration, and regenerative agriculture.
Author: Courtney White
Clearance: $25.95 The Forgotten Pollinators explores the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction: bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats and countless other animals -- some widely recognized and other almost unknown.
Author: Gary Nabhan
The Permaculture Promise explains in simple terms why permaculture may be the key to unlocking a livable future on our planet. Author Jono Neiger asserts that humans can thrive while simultaneously making Earth healthier and not destroying it. The Permaculture Promise will inspire you to incorporate permaculture principles into your life today.
Author: Jono Neiger
Caught between climate change and a fossil fuel-driven economy that demands ever more growth, the world faces a great transition (by design or by disaster) away from fossil fuels and to a less energy-intensive future. For the first time, the power of permaculture design has been brought to bear on this problem. In the process, acclaimed permaculture teacher and designer Ross Mars has distilled his considerable knowledge into the ultimate resource for resilient living. The Permaculture Transition Manual is packed with information on permaculture design principles, soil building, and nutrient-dense food growing (including top plant and tree selections for all climatic zones). On the desert island of a world in decline, this is the one-stop guide to vibrant, resilient living that you'll want to take with you.
Author: Ross Mars
Permaculture is an important but often misunderstood method of growing food and building homes in a manner that works with nature, rather than against it, to create beautiful, healthy, and useful gardens. Blending ecology, organic agriculture, green home design, appropriate technology, and biology can be confusing and overwhelming, but The Ultimate Guide to Permaculture simplifies this vast field for practical application. This is a hands-on guide, taking the beginner through each step of the design process, so that anyone can apply permaculture principles to their own life. While the principles are simple, the in-depth topics cover every aspect of permaculture, including:
Author: Nicole Faires
The need to make our communities sustainable is more urgent than ever before. Toward Sustainable Communities remains the single most useful resource for creating vibrant, healthy, equitable, economically viable places. This comprehensive update of the classic text presents a leading-edge overview of sustainability in a new fully-illustrated, full-color format.
Compelling new case studies and expanded treatment of sustainability in rural as well as urban settings are complemented by contributions from a range of experts around the world, demonstrating how "community capital" can be leveraged to meet the needs of cities and towns for:
Author: Mark Roseland
In our power-hungry world, all the talk about energy-what's safe and what's risky, what's clean and what's dirty, what's cheap and what's easy-tends to generate more heat than light. What, Julianne Couch wanted to know, is the real story on power production in this country? Approaching the question as a curious consumer, Couch takes us along as she visits nine sites where electrical power is developed from different fuel sources. From a geothermal plant in the Mojave Desert to a nuclear plant in Nebraska, from a Wyoming coal-fired power plant to a Maine tidal-power project, Couch gives us an insider's look at how power is generated, how it affects neighboring landscapes and the people who live and work there, and how each source comes with its own unique complications.
The result is an informed, evenhanded discussion of energy production and consumption on the global, national, regional, local and-most important-personal level. Knowledge is the real power this book imparts, allowing each of us to think beyond the flip of a switch to the real consequences of our energy use.
Author: Julianne Couch
In Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, Courtney White profiles 50 innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production and increase water quality. The “two percent” refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of gross domestic product) needed to get this work done.
Author: COURTNEY WHITE