Category: Books

What will it take for brands to design products that aren’t disposable?

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The new book Meaningful Stuff: Design That Lasts examines how product design can move from planned obsolescence to a new model of repair, reuse, and longevity.

Beyond ‘Dune’: Let’s talk about science fiction and fantasy novels about ecology and climate change

Read the full story in the Washington Post. See also what WaPo readers recommend.

For decades, science fiction writers have been drawn to the subject of ecology: the study of the interconnection between living beings and their environment. The T. rex of them all is of course “Dune.” Frank Herbert’s 1965 classic is epic in scope, yet intimately concerned with the compelling if imaginary ecology of the desert planet Arrakis. Several more novels followed, but “Dune” stands apart, an enduring classic of 20th century science fiction.

More recently, authors like Kim Stanley Robinson and Jeff VanderMeer have explored environmental matters gone wildly awry. VanderMeer’s “Area X” trilogy has been a runaway bestseller. Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Mars” trilogy is considered a cornerstone of modern science fiction, tracing the terraforming of Mars over centuries. In novels like “Forty Signs of Rain,” he tackled Earth’s own environment with great passion. Matt Bell’s “Appleseed” continues that tradition with a take on climate change over the next millennium. So, what other science fiction and speculative novels — old and new — have caught our attention?

The writer sharing the untold stories of female climate activists

Read the full story at Narratively.

Narratively contributor Jill L. Ferguson on her latest collaborative book, which covers Australian women’s role in the environmental movement.

What would happen if the world stopped shopping?

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Fast fashion is destructive and exploitative—and yet millions of people rely on it for work. In a new book, J.B. MacKinnon explores these complexities.

A Cli-Fi Book Club for College Educators and Sustainability Advocates

This short course in climate fiction (“Cli-Fi”) is the ultimate academic book club for anyone in the higher education sustainability community! Are you a non-literary type who has never attended a book club? Or a bookworm who is obsessed with Cli-Fi? Somewhere in between? Everyone is welcome!

Books stacked up behind an open laptop

The interdisciplinary short course in literary fiction will take place over 6 monthly meetings. We will begin with an overview of the emergent genre of Cli-Fi and a curated book list of “teachable” novels organized by theme. Selected novels integrate science, economics, engineering, and psychology into humanities, communication, and storytelling to imagine a new future. 

Participants will: 

  • Gain an understanding of the genres of climate fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction; 
  • Learn speed reading techniques and how to create time to read more;  
  • Practice discussion techniques with other sustainability champions; 
  • Engage with faculty from a variety of disciplines including science, humanities, and social sciences;
  • Integrate imagination and the envisioning of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

Key Details

  • Event Date & Time: Course participants will meet virtually on the first Thursday of the month from 2:45–4:00 p.m. EDT starting on June 3 and continuing through November 4.
  • Location: The workshop will take place online via Zoom.
  • Registration Fee: $95 (AASHE members), $125 (AASHE non-members) and $50 for Student participants.

Registration Policies:

  • Registration deadline is Thursday, June 3, 12:00 p.m. EDT.
  • Payment is accepted in the form of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover cards, ACH transfers or checks.
  • Cancellation Policy: A 20% processing fee applies to any cancellation prior to May 24, 2021. No refunds will be given after May 24, 2021.
  • No substitutions are allowed.
  • Review all Terms & Conditions.

Webinar: Lions, Spiders, and Bears: Better Environmental Regulation Through Psychology

Apr 29, 2021 12:00 pm CDT
Register here.

In their new book, “The Psychology of Environmental Law,” Professors Arden Rowell and Kenworthey Bilz argue that psychology can offer environmental law a rich, empirically informed account of why, when, and how people act in ways that affect the environment—which can then be used to more effectively pursue specific policy goals.

Please join us for a book discussion, featuring co-authors Rowell and Bilz in conversation with a group of featured panelists. The event will conclude with Q&A from the audience. Learn more about the book and where to purchase at

Ikea’s ‘ScrapsBook’ Helps You Cut Down on Kitchen Waste

Read the full story at Muse.

Ikea Canada puts sustainability on the front burner with a free cookbook that contains 50 recipes using kitchen scraps as ingredients.

Review: Everything You Never Knew about Chicago and Nature, City of Lake and Prairie

Read the full book review at Third Coast Review.

A little more than a century ago, in one of the world’s largest cities, Chicagoans lived a lot closer to nature than we do today—as in closer to animals, their smells, and their manure and urine.

Consider that, in 1918, some 2,000 dairy cows were being milked each morning in the city. A bit earlier, in 1900, you could wander around the city’s neighborhoods and find 5,000.

And it wasn’t only cows. Chicagoans also kept pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, and rabbits, as Katherine Macica reports in “Animals at Work in Industrial Chicago,” one of 19 essays in City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago’s Environmental History, edited by Kathleen A. Brosnan, Ann Durkin Keating, and William C. Barnett.

Why cities should be designed for birds

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Sometimes it seems like cities were designed to kill birds. Take for instance the single night in October when more than 1,000 birds were killed when they collided with buildings in the city of Philadelphia. Due to a combination of confusing reflections from building windows, disorienting light pollution, and the location of tall buildings in the direct flight paths and habitats of many birds, deadly collisions—sometimes in mass numbers—are depressingly common. Researchers estimate that collisions with buildings cause up to one billion bird deaths in the United States every year.

It doesn’t have to be this way, according to a new book, The Bird-Friendly City: Creating Safe Urban Habitats, by Timothy Beatley. Citing new policies, building materials, and DIY designs, Beatley shows how urban environments can be tweaked to allow birds to live and thrive in human-centric spaces.

Ecologist: People Should Prepare for Landscapes to Change

Read the full story from NC State University.

In northern California, forests are at risk of becoming a landscape dominated by shrubs and small trees as wildfires become dramatically more intense and temperatures rise. In North Carolina, coastal forests are expected to shift inland as sea levels rise.

Humans have unleashed an avalanche of changes on landscapes, writes Robert Scheller in a new book, “Managing Landscapes for Change.” As landscape change accelerates due to climate change, invasive pests and diseases, housing development, natural disasters and other forces, Scheller describes how land managers and communities should expect change and plan for it. Scheller is a professor of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State University.

“Humans have a lot of capacity to shape the future and the future of landscapes,” Scheller said. “Land managers, politicians and scientists need to be greater advocates for being proactive, and we need to get ahead of the change and not simply respond to it.”

To learn more, we interviewed Scheller about the book.

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