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Good reads on Green Living

     by Stephen Morris

Small is Possible, Reinventing Collapse, How to Build a Gridbeam, Five Ring Circus, Hardhat Liberal

SMALL IS POSSIBLE: Life in a Local Economy

(New Society Publishers, 2008)

Borrowing its title from E.F. Schumacher's classic, Small is Beautiful, author Lyle Estill explores how a town can feed, fuel, power, and sustain itself outside the global economy. Interestingly, most of his ventures fail, but the author bounces off the canvas re-energized for his next adventure. Lyle Estill is the "VP of Stuff" for Piedmont Biofuels and the author of Biodiesel Power.quiet zone

REINVENTING COLLAPSE: The Soviet Example and American Prospects

(New Society Publishers, 2008)
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Thankfully, this is a how not-to and not a how-to book. Author Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He is an engineer and a leading Peak Oil theorist who eye witnessed the Soviet collapse over extended visits to his homeland during the 1980s and 1990s. Perhaps the silver lining to this cautionary tale is that there is life after collapse.

HOW TO BUILD WITH GRID-BEAM: A Fast, Easy, and Affordable System for Constructing Almost Anything

(New Society Publishers, 2008)

Explains Jay Baldwin, a professor of industrial design, "Grid beam amounts to an adult erector set that enables ordinary citizens to 'wrench-build' a variety of machines and structures without expensive engineering and machine shop services." Adds Richard Perez, ex-publisher of Home Power magazine "This amazing technology is the stuff that rigid, rectilinear, realistic dreams are made from."

FIVE RING CIRCUS: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games

(New Society Publishers,2008)

The Olympics, once the pinnacle of athleticism, health, honor, and fair play, are now a cesspool of greed, backroom deals, and the wholesale trampling of civil liberties. Based on the experience of Vancouver, Canada, host of the 2010 Games, what was to be an urban revitalization has become a morass of greed, homelessness, increasing crime, and ecological disaster. A sad, but all-too-common story by Christopher A. Shaw, a founding member of the No Games 2010 Coalition.

HARDHAT LIBERAL: A Welder's Guide to Life, Sex, and International Diplomacy

by Richard Klovdahl

The Public Press

Richard "Rick" Klovdahl is the kind of guy who takes a shower when he gets home from work, not before he goes. A welder by trade who is currently, as he says, "masquerading as a carpenter," Klovdahl doesn't hesitate to take on the big subjects, from Presidential politics to the unbalanced economics of America. His take on life is often outrageous, always refreshing, and occasionally hilarious. It's a perspective that doesn't get enough voice in today's noisy media world.

What's green about politics, welding, or international relations? What is green about this book is that it was published by The Public Press, the book publishing arm of Green Living. The book publishing business is one of the most wasteful industries in America. The economies of scale give publishers the incentive to print the largest quantity of books. The books are then shipped across the continent on a returnable basis, meaning, in effect, they are on consignment.

Unsold books get shipped, you guessed it, back to the publisher where they are often sold at a loss to a dealers in overstocks who then sells them at steep discount to the same stores that returned them.

These wasteful trading terms were developed when sensible management of natural resources was at the very bottom of the priority list. Hardhat Liberal was developed with a different set of priorities. Development costs were modest and the initial print run conservative. More copies will be printed if and only if the first edition sells out. Revenues flow primarily to the author, not the publisher.

The sky, however, is the limit for Rick Klovdahl's Hardhat Liberal. Maybe if his voice resonates with enough shot 'n a beer guys, the first edition will be followed by a second, third, fourth, and who knows ... a spot on Oprah and a major motion picture. Klovdahl has already tapped Jim Carrey for the lead role.

Hey, a guy can dream ... even if a welder. Klovdahl has a particularly rich imagination. (Hardhat Liberal is available for $16.95, postpaid, from Green Living , 100 Gilead Brook Road, Randolph, VT 05060.)

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River Valley editor: Stephen Morris
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