Sustainable Living: Recommended Reading

These are some environmental books of merit that I have read or own.
Loretta Wallace


Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything
by Daniel Coleman
(available on Amazon)

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America
by Thomas L. Friedman
(available on Amazon)

Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide
by Scott Kellogg, Stacy Pettigrew and Juan Martinez
In 2000 the dynamic Rhizome Collective transformed an abandoned warehouse in Austin, Texas, into a sustainability training center. Here, with their first book, Scott and Stacy, two of Rhizome’s founders, provide city dwellers—those who have never foraged or gardened along with those who dumpster-dive and belong to CSAs—with step-by- step instructions for producing our own food, collecting water, managing waste, reclaiming land, and generating energy. Stacy, Scott and Juan explain how to build and grow with cheap, salvaged, and recycled materials. More than a how-to manual, Toolbox is packed with accessible and relevant tools to help move our communities from envisioning a sustainable future toward living it.
(available on Amazon)

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self Sufficient Living in the City
by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
(available on Amazon)

The Foxfire Series
First volume published 1972
12 Volumes
With nearly 9 million copies in print, The Foxfire Book and its eleven companion volumes stand memorial to the people and the vanishing culture of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, brought to life for readers through the words of those who were born, lived their lives, and passed away there—words collected by high school students who wanted to be a part of their community and preserve their heritage. All 12 volumes in the regular series are anthologies of Foxfire Magazine articles written by Rabun County high school students over the magazine's 40-year history, usually expanded through follow-up interviews and other research. The Foxfire series is the creation of English teacher Elliott Wigginton who made it a point to have students participating in his program interview older folks to find out how they did things in everyday life. Interviews and essays describe the way of life and crafts of pioneer America still surviving in the Appalachian region: Wild Plant Foods, Gardening, Preserving Food, Wood Carving, Fiddle Making, Candle Making, Midwifing, Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, Ghost Stories, Spinning and Weaving, Wagon Making, Corn Shuckin', Basket Weaving, Animal Care, Banjos and Dulcimers and much more.
(available on Amazon and

Silent Spring
Written by Rachel Carson and published in September 1962, the book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement. An oldie but a goodie.


Non-Toxic, Natural and Earthwise
by Debra Lynn Dadd
Non-Toxic, Natural and Earthwise is the ultimate reference of its kind, written by the leading authority on eliminating toxics in the home. It offers more than four hundred tips, including do-it-yourself formulas for inexpensive, safe products to replace the harmful substances we are exposed to in our own households. If you suffer from unexplained headaches, fatigue, or depression, or if you worry about the link between increased use of toxic chemicals and the rising rate of cancer, the many suggestions in this book can make your life virtually toxic-free!
(available on Amazon)

The Healthy Household: A Complete Guide for Creating a Healthy Indoor Environment
by Lynn Marie Bower
We are surrounded by chemically treated and synthetically derived items having the potential to release dangerous chemical compounds into the air. Some of these toxins are mild irritants, while others can have adverse effects on the central nervous system or can be carcinogenic. Here less-toxic and alternative products for daily living are identified, simple methods of reducing risks of irritants and hazards are discussed, and techniques to maintain a healthier indoor environment are outlined.
(available on Amazon)


Modern Meat by Orville Schell
An eye opening (and stomach turning) look at modern meat production.
(available on Amazon)

The Extended Circle: A Commonplace Book of Animal Rights
edited by Jonb Wynne Tyson
Compilation of thoughts, quotations and ideas of famous and influential people concerning the rights, treatment and welfare of the animals we share this planet with.
(available on Amazon)

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan
(available on Amazon)

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
by David Kessler
The role of big business on the American diet and health
(available on Amazon)

Diet for a Small Planet
by Frances Moore Lappé
The bestselling first edition, published in 1971 was sponsored by the Friends of the Earth organization. Although focussing on a vegetarian diet its underlying theme emphasized a responsible use of the earth's resources and the folly of feeding cows 2.6 pounds of grain and 435 gallons of water to produce only one pound of beef. Since updated with new information.


Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces: A Layering System for Big Results in Small Gardens and Containers
Rodale Press
(available on Amazon)

Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work
by Mel Bartholomew
(available on Amazon)

McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers
by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey
The authors share their expertise and experience in the art of container gardening. Armed with this manual, frustrated apartment dwellers can indulge their passion for growing edible things. If there is an available balcony, porch, front or back steps, according to the authors, growing produce in containers can be easy and rewarding. With some limitations, it is even possible to grow foods in a window box or on an indoor windowsill. This compendium of practical advice includes detailed information on the types of containers to use, equipment needed, the right soil, when to plant which seeds and how best to deal with problems such as too much or too little sunlight. They also explain more sophisticated techniques like succession planting, whereby ongoing seasonal planting takes place in the same container. This can yield a harvest of peas in early summer, tomatoes in late summer to early fall and kale that will grow into winter.
(available on Amazon)

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License