Sustainability Book Club
3rd Wednesday of Each Month
6:00 – 7:30 PM
1135 Kensington Road NW – 403.283.6655
September 17, 2014
Oil Man and the Sea, The: Navigating the Northern Gateway Paperback by Arno Kopecky
Short-listed for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.
With Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway proposal nearing approval, supertankers loaded with two million barrels of bitumen each may soon join herring, humpbacks and salmon on their annual migration through the tumultuous waters off British Columbia’s Central Coast — a place no oil tanker has been before. The contentious project has aroused intense opposition, pitting local First Nations, a majority of British Columbia’s urban population, and environmental groups across the country against an international consortium led by Enbridge and backed by a federal government determined to make Canada an “energy superpower.”
In this rich evocation of ecology, culture, and history, Kopecky meditates on the line between impartial reportage and environmental activism, ultimately arguing that there are some places oil tankers should never go.
October 15, 2014
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs and Scott Kurashige
A world dominated by America and driven by cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is unraveling before our eyes. In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Grace Lee Boggs, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, shrewdly assesses the current crisis—political, economical, and environmental—and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities.
A vibrant, inspirational force, Boggs has participated in all of the twentieth century’s major social movements—for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and more. She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine “revolution” for our times. From her home in Detroit, she reveals how hope and creativity are overcoming despair and decay within the most devastated urban communities. Her book is a manifesto for creating alternative modes of work, politics, and human interaction that will collectively constitute the next American Revolution.
November 19, 2014
“Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development” by Herman E. Daly
“Daly is turning economics inside out by putting the earth and its diminishing natural resources at the center of the field . . . a kind of reverse Copernican revolution in economics.”
“Considered by most to be the dean of ecological economics, Herman E. Daly elegantly topples many shibboleths in Beyond Growth. Daly challenges the conventional notion that growth is always good, and he bucks environmentalist orthodoxy, arguing that the current focus on ‘sustainable development’ is misguided and that the phrase itself has become meaningless.”
“In Beyond Growth, . . . [Daly] derides the concept of ‘sustainable growth’ as an oxymoron. . . . Calling Mr. Daly ‘an unsung hero,’ Robert Goodland, the World Bank’s top environmental adviser, says, ‘He has been a voice crying in the wilderness.'”
–G. Pascal Zachary, The Wall Street Journal
December 17, 2014
Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Progress by John Michael Greer
Not The Future We Ordered boldly analyzes the emotional impact of the death of the myth of progress which he cogently demonstrates has become a civil religion in the modern world. Increasingly stripped of that ‘creed’, inhabitants of industrial civilization are currently experiencing an emotional breakdown in tandem with a societal breakdown – “a level of psychological stress capable of forcing a psychotic break on the individual or collective scale”.
When “the future we ordered” fails to show up on schedule, cognitive dissonance and other psychological impacts common in times of severe cultural dislocation will likely show up as well, driving counterproductive responses on the personal and collective scales. Understanding the psychology that backed industrial civilization into a corner called “peak oil” is a crucial step in dealing with these consequences, and to this, Not The Future We Ordered offers a clear and readable guide.
January 21, 2015
by Billy Parish and Dev Aujla
As we emerge from the recession, a generation is searching for practical answers about how to succeed and make positive change in the world. With real-life success stories and practical advice and exercises, Making Good outlines how to find opportunities to effect change and make money. These opportunities are not just for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies: Making Good shows step-by-step how any person can achieve financial autonomy, capitalize on global changes to infrastructure, and learn from everyday success stories—providing the skills and insights this generation needs to succeed and build careers and lives of consequence.
Charismatic, young, and passionate, Billy Parish and Dev Aujla have been recognized in media outlets like Vanity Fair, Salon, and Rolling Stone as the voices of their generation. They are at the vanguard of figuring out how the next generation will rethink, reimagine, and rebuild the world around us. Making Good culls the knowledge that has allowed Billy and Dev to build thriving, meaningful careers into a book that will be What Color Is Your Parachute? for the Facebook generation.
February 18, 2015
Capitalist Realism: is there no alternative?
By Mark Fisher.
After 1989, capitalism has successfully presented itself as the only realistic political-economic system – a situation that the bank crisis of 2008, far from ending, actually compounded. The book analyses the development and principal features of this capitalist realism as a lived ideological framework. Using examples from politics, films, fiction, work and education, it argues that capitalist realism colours all areas of contemporary experience. But it will also show that, because of a number of inconsistencies and glitches internal to the capitalist reality program capitalism in fact is anything but realistic.
March 18, 2015
Beautiful Trouble – A Toolbox for Revolution, assembled by Andrew Boyd.
From Cairo to cyberspace, from Main Street to Wall Street, today’s social movements have a creative new edge that’s blurring the boundaries between artist and activist, hacker and dreamer. But the principles that make for successful creative action rarely get hashed out or written down.
Beautiful Trouble brings together ten grassroots groups and dozens of seasoned artists and activists from around the world to distill their best practices into a toolbox for creative action. Among the groups included are Agit-Pop/The Other 98%, The Yes Men/Yes Labs, Code Pink, SmartMeme, The Ruckus Society, Beyond the Choir, The Center for Artistic Activism, Waging Nonviolence, Alliance of Community Trainers and Nonviolence International.
Beautiful Trouble puts the accumulated wisdom of decades of creative protest into the hands of the next generation of change-makers.
April 15, 2015
The Farm Then and Now: A Model for Sustainable Living by Douglas Stevenson
In the Summer of Love in San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury, a charismatic young hippie by the name of Stephen Gaskin launched “Monday Night Class” – a weekly event which drew together an eclectic mix of truth-seekers and flower children. Soon the class became a caravan, and after touring the country this colorful crew decided to seek a plot of land and found a commune based on their shared values. Thus was born The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee.
The Farm Then and Now presents the story of a group that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to intentional community and creating a model for sustainable living. Just as the Monday Night Classes taught students to open their hearts and minds, The Farm continues as a school of change, demonstrating ways to operate collectively.
May 20, 2105
Walking the Frog: Solutions for Our Climate Change Paralysis, By Tom Rand
An accessible discussion of ways to achieve a sustainable future. Venture capitalist, entrepreneur, engineer, and philosopher Tom Rand explains why climate disruption might just be our very own pot of hot water. Are we the frog paralyzed in our inaction? In a highly readable account, Rand looks to contemporary psychology, economics, business, and finance to explain our stasis in the face of one of the most fundamental problems of our time. Rand’s account doesn’t just point fingers at the bad guys, but goes deeper — to our motivations, institutional lethargy, and deeply buried assumptions about market economics. Waking the Frog is as much about solutions as it is an account of our present paralysis. Our ingenuity, technology, capital, and policy can work together to turn down the heat and at the same time enable the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.