The Holiday Green Gift
Guide for Book Lovers
The holiday season is just around the corner, and if you
already start thinking about gifts, we hope you would think
about books. A good book is always a great present!
To help you you find the best green books to give as gifts
this holiday season, Eco-Libris blog begins a new series:
Holiday green gift guide for book lovers. Yes, every Sunday
you will find on our blog an interesting book to be considered
for your gift list. This page will gather all of the recommendations
published on the blog.
1. Raz Godelnik
recommends on The
Man Who Planted Trees
Author: Jean Giono
Originally published in: 1953
The story: it is a touching story of Elzéard
Bouffier, a shepherd, who after being widowed, has decided
to restore the ruined ecosystem of the isolated and largely
abandoned valley in the south of France by single-handedly
cultivating a forest, tree by tree. He planted 100 acorns
each day before, through, and after two world wars, and transformed
a sorrowful place into one full of life and joy.
Why it's a great gift: This is an inspirational
story about what one person can do to restore the earth. Jean
Giono's story offer a tribute to how much good one person
can accomplish in a lifetime and advise on how to live life
with deep meaning.
If you're not sure yet, you can watch the animated
version of the story, produced by Frédéric
Back in 1987. Also, if you look for a special edition of the
book, Chelsea Green Publishing released a
special twentieth anniversary edition on National Arbor
Day 2005 with a new foreword by Wangari Maathai, winner of
the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the African Green
2. Nick Aster
recommends on Home
Work: Handbuilt Shelter
Published in: 2004
What it is about: Building on the enormous
success of his book 'Shelter', Lloyd Kahn continues his odyssey
of finding and exploring the most magnificent and unusual
hand-built houses in existence. Page after page, the book
describes homes built from the soul, inventiveness free from
social constraint, but created with a solid understanding
of natural materials, structure, and aesthetics.
From yurts to caves to tree houses to tents, thatched houses,
glass houses, nomadic homes, riverboats and more, each hand
built dwelling finds itself at one with its environment, blending
harmoniously with the earth, using organically sustainable
'Home Work' is featuring over a thousand photos, including
three hundred line drawings, stories of real people building
and living in their own houses, plus Kahn's recollections,
reminiscences and observations gathered over the 30 years
since his previous book, 'Shelter', was first published.
Why it's a great gift: Inspired guide to
hand build homes and shelters. Everything from Strawbale to
Yurts. I've spent hours paging through this book and fantasizing
about what to do with the imaginary land I'd someday buy.
A perfect book to put on display for guests.
You can check it out at Google
Nick Aster is the founder of Triple
Pundit and media architect behind TreeHugger.com.
He currently works for a major print and online magazine and
occasionally blogs at Triple Pundit.
E recommends on The
Joy of Vegan Baking
Published in: 2007
What it is about + Why it's a great gift:
The holidays always make me want to slow down and spend more
time in the kitchen, making delicious goodies from my friends
and loved ones. I've been progressing to become a vegetarian
for a few months now, and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's podcast,
Food For Thought has been a wonderful outlet for learning
about compassionate eating and actions.
Though I don't drink soy milk or even have any blocks of
soy in my fridge, I've learned so much from her tips that
even my meat-loving boyfriend has been enjoying our dinners
even more as of late. Imagine my delight when I heard Colleen
was coming out with her first cookbook, titled The Joy of
The thought of not baking with milk or eggs put me on edge
right away, but after tasting some delicious vegan donuts
and cupcakes recently, it was clear that no taste would be
lost in the transition. There are oodles of preconceived notions
about vegetarian and vegan foods, especially desserts, but
after tasting some goodies that I made from these recipes,
it is clear that those perceptions are wildly outdated.
Though I won't be able to spend any of the holidays with
my family this year, I will be making treats from my best
friend and boyfriend out this book. Will I tell them its vegan?
not until they eat 3 or 4 of them and rave about how tasty
Any cook, experienced or novice, would enjoy The Joy of Baking
- new food revolutions are on the horizon, and vegan baking
is just one of them. "Featuring full-color photos and
150 familiar favorites -- from cakes, cookies, and crêpes
to pies, puddings, and pastries -- this book will show you
just how easy, convenient, and delectable baking without eggs
and dairy can be."
This book is fresh from the oven - it came out on October
2007. Check out the book's website for sample
recipes and of course to see where you can buy
Victoria E is a creatively versatile eco-powerhouse:
she is a freelance writer, life-long model, on-camera personality,
official U.S. spokesperson for Twice
Shy Clothing and founder of the San
Francisco Craft Mafia - a classic Renaissance
woman and mistress-of-all-trades.
Starting as an outlet for updates about her freelance writing
and modeling, her official website at
http://www.victoria-e.com/ has quickly grown into a dependable
source for a variety of information on green, crafty, and
DIY living. You're welcome to check it out!
4. Stefani Newman
recommends on The
Originally published in: 1991
What it is about + Why it's a great gift:
Since teensygreen is all about green kids, and I have two
little girls of my own, I thought a great kid's book would
only be appropriate!
Eric Carle is a true champion of animals and nature through
his books, and "The Tiny Seed" takes readers on
a beautiful journey through the life cycle of a seed. Kids
love to find the smallest seed on every page as it travels
many miles through the seasons, overcoming tough obstacles
(like hungry birds and big feet!), and finally grows into
a stunning, giant flower - only to start the cycle over again.
This book works on so many levels - it not only teaches kids
about seasons and the life of a seed, but it subtly helps
children learn respect for nature, such as why we not only
need to plant more flowers and trees, but why we also need
to leave what's already there alone. Young children love the
colorful collage images, while older kids can get to know
the subject through Carle's gentle words.
This book, and pretty much all of Eric Carle's books, are
great gifts for kids of any age. The vibrant pictures and
fun subjects really bring nature to life, and kids learn about
the subject at hand through their imagination.
"The Tiny Seed" is also a great conversation starter
about nature, the seasons, and helps kids open their eyes
to the world outside. I was pleasantly surprised when my older
daughter wouldn't pick any flowers at the playground because,
as she put it, "they need a chance to grow, too"!
I would recommend any Eric Carle book for the holidays, but
"The Tiny Seed" is an absolute favorite!
Stefani Newman is a recent transplant from
New York to Florida to Panama City, Panama. If getting used
to a new country isn't enough, Stefani decided to jump into
the blogging world with her informative blog, teensygreen.
teensygreen focuses on helping families make more eco-friendly
decisions by highlighting innovative green products, and covering
news that brings a little green to every family. When she's
not writing she can usually be found at the park, pool, or
counting the many ships waiting to get into the Panama Canal!
5. Siel recommends
Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Published in: 2007
What it is about: Drive alone into a gated
community in the suburbs, to park in a private, 2-car garage
and hole up in a secret
internet room. This is what our wealth has bought us,
according to McKibben: Ways to better seclude ourselves. In
America, it's lonely being rich.
Deep Economy is most concerned about our sense of self in
a "hyper-individualized world," a world in which
we've been conditioned to deprioritize personal connections
with other human beings in the pursuit of individual success,
monetary or otherwise.
Personal ambition is important, of course. But to McKibben,
these ambitions are too often one-sided — and unrealistic,
in the age of mass media. It's one thing to keep up with the
Joneses, quite another to keep up with The O.C., McKibben
To prove his point, he takes you through multiple, wide-ranging
journeys in Deep Economy: a year of spent eating only local
food, a scientific and historical look at the possibilities
of a community-based, post-petroleum agriculture, an exploration
of mass media and the outlook on local radio, and a somewhat
obligatory summary of the pending global warming crisis —
a crisis that a more community-centered outlook can help mitigate,
McKibben points out, as well as help absorb the aftershocks
in the case of a true disaster.
Why it's a great gift: Deep Economy opens
up a different way of thinking about happiness, individuality,
community and ambition -- all while providing solid info on
the most important issues facing us as a society today. Reading
it's sure to give the recipient innovative and exciting ideas
for starting off the new year!
As a teenager, Siel sped past Paramount
Studios every day on the 10 Metro bus to get to Fairfax High
School. Now she cuts through the concrete jungle of Los Angeles
on her pink Townie bike to shop at local farmers' markets
and socialize in pre-loved Prada heels. Siel writes Emerald
City, a green blog for latimes.com,
as well as a personal blog, green
6. Megan Kuhlmann
recommends on The
Publisher: M Q Publications
Published in: 2004
What it is about: The
Armchair Environmentalist is “a three minute-a-day
action plan to save the world.” It focuses on what individuals
can do to reduce their use of energy and water and create
a healthier environment at home and at work.
The Armchair Environmentalist is an easy read and chocked
full of cute pictures and graphics. Printed on 100% recycled
paper, this little book can fit easily into a briefcase or
handbag, making it that much easier to take the info "to
A year or so ago, my friend Rachel loaned me her copy of
this sweet little book and I instantly loved it. Discussing
The Armchair Environmentalist and armchair environmentalism
in general led us to launch greenissexy.org. The idea that
in just a few minutes a day one person can make lots of tiny
choices that positively impact the environment is what our
site this book are all about.
Why it's a great gift: Green is sexy! Being
eco-conscious is so popular these days, but a lot of people
still think that being green means wearing hemp shoes, driving
a hybrid and laying bamboo floors.
The Armchair Environmentalist is an entertaining, colorful
way to show friends and family that being green is more about
unplugging your cell phone charger and washing your clothes
in cold water than installing a wind turbine in your backyard.
This cheeky, chubby book makes a great stocking stuffer and
is a fabulous intro-to-eco primer.
Megan Kuhlmann of greenissexy.org
lives and works in Los Angeles, California. When she’s
not unplugging her unused appliances or extolling the virtues
of chemical-free cleansers, Megan can often be found handing
out recyclable toothbrushes and explaining cold-water washing
to fellow folders at the Laundromat. In addition to pollution,
Megan also dislikes olives, puns, and sleeping in socks. Alternately,
Megan loves tree-huggers, karaoke, and a well-crafted sentence.
7. Alex Steffen
recommends on Worldchanging:
A User's Guide for the 21th Century
Steffen (Editor), Al Gore (Foreword), Bruce Sterling (Introduction)
N. Abrams Inc.
Published in: 2006
What it is about: Worldchanging: A Users
Guide for the 21st Century is a groundbreaking compendium
of the most innovative solutions, ideas and inventions emerging
today for building a sustainable, livable, prosperous future.
From consumer consciousness to a new vision for industry;
non-toxic homes to refugee shelters; microfinance to effective
philanthropy; socially responsible investing to starting a
green business; citizen media to human rights; ecological
economics to climate change, this is the most comprehensive,
cutting-edge overview to date of what's possible in the near
future -- if we decide to make it so.
The Worldchanging book contains over 600 pages, divided into
7 sections which include a vast range of topics.
Stuff: green design, biomimicry, sustainable food, clothing,
trade and technology.
Shelter: green building and landscaping, clean energy, water,
disaster relief and humanitarian design.
Cities: smart growth, sustainable communities, transportation,
greening infrastructure, product-service systems, leapfrogging
and megacity challenges.
Community: education, women's rights, public health, holistic
approaches to community development, South-South science,
social entrepreneurship and micro-lending, and philanthropy.
Business: socially responsible investment, worldchanging
start-ups, ecological economics, corporate social responsibility
and green business.
Politics: networked politics, new media, transparency, human
rights, non-violent revolution and peacemaking.
Planet: the big picture - everything from placing oneself
in a bioregion to climate foresight to environmental history
to green space exploration.
Why it's a great gift: Here's some of what
people have said about it:
"To build that future, we need a generation of everyday
heroes, people who—whatever their walks of life—have
the courage to think in fresh ways and to act to meet this
planetary crisis head-on. This book belongs in the library
of every person who aspires to be part of that generation."
"Read it: it may change your life." Elizabeth Kolbert,
New Yorker Writer.
Alex Steffen has been the Executive Editor
since he co-founded the organization in 2003, as the next
phase in a lifetime of work exploring ways of building a better
future. In a very short time, Worldchanging has become the
most widely-read sustainability-related publication on the
Internet, with an archive of over 7,000 articles by leading
thinkers around the world. Steffen works tirelessly to share
Worldchanging's ideas and message worldwide through regular
speaking appearances to influential audiences and at leading
companies such as Weiden + Kennedy, Nike, Amazon, Ideo, Arup,
Nau, Yahoo! and the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Prior to founding Worldchanging,
Steffen worked as an environmental journalist on four continents
(where he wrote about everything from Japan's fast breeder
reactor program to the UN "Earth Summit" in Rio
de Janeiro). That work led him to provide strategic consultation
to over 50 environmental groups. He also served as president
of the board of Allied Arts (the venerable Seattle urban design
advocacy group), a co-founder of the Livable Communities Coalition
and the Fuse Foundation, and has served on the boards or steering
committees for numerous other NGOs and campaigns. Steffen's
media work extends into newspaper, radio, and an on-air television,
and he started the short-lived but influential magazine, Steelhead,
in the mid-nineties.
8. Tracy Stokes
recommends on How
to live off-grid: Journeys Outside the System
Published in: 2007
What it is about: In "How to live off-grid",
Nick Rosen goes into every detail of off-grid living. He provides
not only the inspiration to get off the beaten track and find
your own space, but also countless resources to help you do
just what he suggests.
To gather the information to write this book, Nick took to
the road with his wife and baby daughter in a converted care
bus fuelled by vegetable oil and sun. They toured the UK meeting
with off-gridders of all sorts. Yurt-dwellers, communards,
utopians and rural squatters were all on Nick's path, all
living happy and comfortable lives completely off-grid. Their
stories are fascinating, inspiring and sometimes quite far-out.
But they all have some lessons to pass on to those of us who
until now have only dream about being self-sufficient.
Why it's a great gift: It's a great bit
of escapism from the excesses of the holidays.
Tracy Stokes is a green blogger (she co-founded
and an online activist who lives in suburban Surrey. She lives
life to the full as a stay-at-home-mother, organic food gardener,
vegetarian cook, permaculture and green living enthusiast.
If you should chance to meet Tracy, you'd be amazed at how
fast she can turn a conversation round to recycling.
9. Adam Vaughan
recommends on How
to live a low-carbon life: the individual's guide to stopping
Publisher: Earthscan Publications Ltd.
Published in: 2007
What it is about: A handbook for cutting
your carbon footprint and bills -written by a former director
at consumer champion Which?. All the green choices consider
the accompanying consider the accompanying cost, so in the
case of a hybrid Prius, Goodall concludes that its £18K
price means you’re paying £350 per tonne of CO2
the car saves. Which he thinks is too much.
When it comes to motoring he also does the maths and concludes
car clubs like Streetcar and Zipcar are better news than hydrogen
cars and biofuel vehicles. This book has bags of authority,
and nicely couples personal anecdotes (his allotment) with
table after table of hard-headed maths, saving you doing the
tedious sums yourself.
The occasional slip into academic language (“replacing
labour with energy is one of the primary engines of economic
growth”) will turn off some readers, but for most people
this’ll make for a rewarding and inspiring read.
Why it's a great gift: Because it’s
ideal for anyone at the early stage of greening up their life
when you want the facts, and you want a cash-saving incentive
to help you get motivated. Goodall’s book has a sufficient
depth of detail to help your giftee make decisions and shopping
choices to cut their carbon emissions, instead of general
and ultimately unhelpful advice like “drive less”,
“use less energy” or “shop greener.”
If you want to learn more on the book's topic, please check
out Chris Goodall's lowcarbonlife.net,
a website with the single purpose of helping individuals in
the UK and elsewhere to do something about greenhouse gas
Adam Vaughan is a green consumer journalist
who edits SmartPlanet.com
and blogs at thegreenguy.co.uk.
O’Connor recommends on A
Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids
Julie Hall (Author), Sarah
Published in: 2007
What it is about: This “kid’s
book” is unusual in that it is designed as a hands-on
climate change guide for parents and teachers, as well as
readers 9 and up.
Written by Julie Hall, cofounder of ProgressiveKid,
and author of numerous science and social studies curriculum
books for children, and skillfully illustrated by Sarah Lane,
this soft-cover breaks down the facts into easily digestible
bites, featuring: Hot Facts, Cool Facts, Eco Heroes and Action
Plans to help heal the planet. Kids will appreciate the bold
graphic layout and high-impact imagery on each info-packed
From defining climate change, to providing a clear understanding
of what causes it and how it affects life on Earth, the underlying
premise of the book is to demonstrate not only why we need
to protect our environment, but also how. There are many valuable
lessons to be learned from this book, along with encouraging
words to instill change and a sense of hope for the future.
Why it's a great gift: A Hot Planet Needs
Cool Kids is a great way to empower parents, teachers and
kids to engage in creative thinking, act on principles and
realize progressive values.
Native New Yorker, Maureen O’Connor
is the founder and publisher of http://www.alternativeconsumer.com/,
a blog for busy folks looking to cultivate a greener lifestyle.
If you choose to give your friends
or family one of these books (or any other great book) as
a gift on the holidays, we invite you to balance it out with
Eco-Libris, add its sticker to the book and make it the perfect
green gift for the holidays.