This post was originally published on the Eco-Libris blog on December 2nd.
The holiday season has just begun and if you already start thinking about gifts, we hope you think about books. A good book is always a great gift! So how about a green-themed book that is both interesting/fun/valuable (or all at once) and affordable?
To help you find the best green books to give as gifts this holiday season, Eco-Libris blog is continuing the tradition we started last year and presenting a new holiday guide. This year we have a very special guide with recommendations from people who are involved in the green economy, or as we call it “The Green Collar Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers.”
The guide includes 50 recommendations of great green-themed books that will be a good fit as holiday gifts. As you will see the guide is not only about the books, but also about the people who recommend it. We tried to personalize the guide as much as possible so we will learn not only about green books but also about the people who carry the green economy on their shoulders.
Therefore with each recommendation you will find a personal angle that presents the recommender, his workplace and/or why they chose that specific book to recommend on.
We will bring you the guide in five parts that will be published in the next 10 days, starting today. Enjoy!
1. “Unbowed” by Wangari Maathai
Recommended by: Christina Venessa Becherer, Institutional Gifts Coordinator, Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)
What the book is about? The mother of three, the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate, and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai of Kenya understands how the good earth sustains life both as a biologist and as a Kikuyu woman who, like generations before her, grew nourishing food in the rich soil of Kenya’s central highlands. In her memoir, Maathai describes the paradise she knew as a child in the 1940s, when Kenya was a “lush, green, fertile” land of plenty, and the deforested nightmare it became.
Discriminated against as a female university professor, Maathai has fought hard for women’s rights. And it was women she turned to when she undertook her mission to restore Kenya’s decimated forests, launching the Green Belt Movement and providing women with work planting trees. Founded in 1977, the Green Belt Movement mobilized thousands of women to plant trees in an effort to restore the country’s indigenous forests.
Why would this book make a great gift? It is an inspirational and enlightening memoir that documents the remarkable achievements of an influential environmentalist and activist.
Getting personal: Unbowed first introduced me to the link between restoring indigenous forests and hunger, health and human rights.
The mission of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) is to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to overcome poverty while restoring our planet’s tropical forests. SHI is also one of Eco-Libris’ planting partners.
2. “Green, Greener, Greenest: A Practical Guide To Making Eco-Smart Choices Part of Your Life” by Lori Bongiorno
Recommended by: Jennifer Kaplan, founder of Greenhance LLC, an EcoTuesday in Arlington, Virginia.
What the book is about? (from the book’s website) Green, Greener, Greenest is packed with flexible tips for everyday life and helps you find the advice that fits your schedule, your budget, and your concerns. It cuts through confusing labels and hype and provides bite-sized solutions using the author’s innovative “green, greener, greenest” method – a three-tiered approach that allows you to find the exact information you are seeking, at the right level of commitment for you. Ambassador and Adjunct Faculty of Marketing at Marymount University
Green solutions lay out the easiest behaviors to change and least expensive products to buy: The Greener Greenest suggestions. The book also contains commentary from leading environmental experts and an extensive resources section to point you toward organizations devoted to global warming, healthy food, clean air and water, energy use, and other pressing challenges.
Why would this book make a great gift? “Green, Greener, Greenest” is a book filled with practical information on how to green your life in a framework of setting priorities and making inevitable trade offs. This book will help your friends choose a level of green they can actually live with. sections are for those who are willing to spend a little extra time or money on the issues important to them. Readers who have the time, budget, and inspiration to fully take on an issue can turn to the
Getting Personal: Jennifer Kaplan is a well-respected voice in the green space. She is author of the upcoming book The Green Opportunity coming soon from Penguin Press (USA) and a regular contributor to the Green Options Media blog, Ecopreneurist.com, as well as guest blogger for a variety of environmental blogs.
3. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Easy Household Guide” by Nicky Scott
Recommended by: D Saunders, Vice President at Omegableu Enterprises LLC
What the book is about? (from the publisher – Chelsea Green) “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” answers all of your recycling questions with a complete A-Z listing of everyday household items and how to recycle them. From old cell phones and E-waste to expired medicines and motor oil this little guide shows you where you can send your unwanted items and how you might make a bit of money while you’re at it. Also includes great ideas for reducing consumption and your volume of trash—ideal for businesses and consumers alike!
- What do you do with your old mobile phone?
- Where can you take your old car batteries?
- Which foods are compostable?
- What happens to the stuff you recycle?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is packed with ideas for cutting your consumption and reducing your rubbish. It’s an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to slim their bin and help stop the earth going to waste.
Why would this book make a great gift? It’s a easy to follow house hold guide to going green that is organized from a-z with websites for additional resources.
Getting Personal: Being an online activist of the green movement, I picked this book up to help me give great tips to my audience, on my blog (www.onegreenmama.blogspot.com). My web directory www.thesupergreenpages.com is a new database for green businesses to list their business for free and for the public to locate services they need. During the creation phase of my website, my research led me to learn more about green jobs and the urgent need for these jobs. I thank God we have a President-Elect who shares that vision. I believe, not only will green job stimulate the economy, they will help save the planet.
4. “Wild Law: Protecting Biological and Cultural Diversity” by Curmac Cullinan
Recommended by: Mandy Lebides, Owner of Partners for Change, a specialised boutique consultancy dedicated to business improvement.
What the book is about? (from the publisher – Green Books) We are rapidly destroying our only habitat, Earth. It is becoming clear that many of the treaties, laws and policies concluded in recent years have failed to slow down, let alone halt or reverse, this process.
Cormac Cullinan shows that the survival of the community of life on Earth (including humans) requires us to alter fundamentally our understanding of the nature and purpose of law and governance, rather than merely changing laws. In describing what this new “Earth governance” and “Earth jurisprudence” might look like, he also gives practical guidance on how to begin moving towards it.
Wild Law fuses politics, legal theory, quantum physics and ancient wisdom into a fascinating and eminently readable story. It is an inspiring and stimulating book for anyone who cares about Earth and is concerned about the direction in which the human species is moving.
Why would this book make a great gift? Wild Law makes good holiday reading because if you are already interested in saving the planet this book will talk to your soul and if you are only embarking on that journey then it will convince you that you have taken a step in the right direction.
Getting Personal: I live in Cape Town, South Africa, probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I am a consultant specialising in organisational change. I have a particular interest in facilitating change related to making organisations operate more sustainably and have some very definite ideas about that.
5. “Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life” by Sophie Uliano
Recommended by: JoAnne Bassett, Perfumer and Owner at JoAnne Bassett, an online boutique for exclusive bespoke natural perfumes.
What the book is about? (from the publisher – HarperCollins) Are you confused by all the advice you hear and see daily on how to “go green”? Do you want to incorporate earth-friendly practices into your life, but you don’t know where to start? Don’t stress! Green guru Sophie Uliano has sorted through all the eco-info out there and put everything you need to know about living a green lifestyle right at your fingertips.
In Gorgeously Green, Sophie offers a simple eight-step program that is an easy and fun way to begin living an earth-friendly life. Each chapter covers topics from beauty to fitness, shopping to your kitchen—even your transportation. Whether it’s finding the right lipstick, making dinner, buying gifts, or picking out a hot new outfit, finally, there is a book that tackles your daily eco-challenges with a take-charge plan.
Why would this book make a great gift? Gorgeously Green is a great resource and gift book. If you page through this book you will find green products for every facet of your life. These include products for the home, personal care, fitness, shopping for clothes, food, travel, and the “green” lifestyle.
Getting Personal: JoAnne Bassett, Couture Natural Perfumer is listed in this book. I create all natural eau de toilettes, eau de parfums, and botanical perfumes. My specialty is creating custom perfumes with rare and precious oils.
I source sustainable, fair trade essential oils and botanicals that are wild and some organic. I use minimal packaging and do not use any chemicals but use natural botanical materials that support small family farms.
6. “Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff” by Fred Pearce
Recommended by: Hendrik Morkel, an environmental expert at Climate Counselor Oy, a small environmental consulting company in Finland.
What the book is about? (from the publisher – Beacon Press) Where does everything in our daily lives come from? The clothes on our backs, the computers on our desks, the cabinets in our kitchens, and the spices behind their doors? Under what conditions-environmental and social-are they harvested or manufactured?
In Confessions of an Eco-Sinner, Fred Pearce shows us the hidden worlds that sustain a Western lifestyle, and he does it by examining the sources of everything in his own life; as an ordinary citizen of the Western world, he, like all of us, is an “eco-sinner.” In conversational and convivial prose, Pearce surveys his home and then starts out on a global tour to track down, among other things, the Kenyans who grow and harvest his fair trade coffee (which isn’t as fair as one might hope), the women in the Bangladeshi sweat shops who sew his jeans, and the Chinese factory cities where the world’s computers are made.
It’s a fascinating portrait, by turns sobering and hopeful, of the effects the world’s more than 6 billion inhabitants-all eating, consuming, making-have on our planet, and of the working and living conditions of the people who produce most of these goods.
Why would this book make a great gift? This is a book about following everyday stuff – cloths, food, electronics – from its birth place to its graveyard, or more often, its recycling plant. Its written in an easy to understand way, so that also non-environmentalists can understand it, and I found it very interesting to learn where my stuff comes from, and where it will end up after I throw it away.
Getting Personal: I am an M.Sc. (CEM) and work as an environmental expert at a small, Finnish, environmental consulting company, Climate Counselor Oy. We help SMEs to improve their environmental performance by assisting them implementing an EMS and/ or obtaining an environmental label. I’ve always been interested in social and environmental matters, so living and working with the environment in mind was a natural choice for me.
7. “Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America” by Thomas L. Friedman
Recommended by: Saar Herman, CEO at Global Content and Research LTD
What the book is about? (from the author’s website) Thomas L. Friedman’s no. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see globalization in a new way. Now Friedman brings a fresh outlook to the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy—both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to all of us who are concerned about the state of America in the global future.Friedman proposes that an ambitious national strategy—which he calls “Geo-Greenism”—is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure.
As in The World Is Flat, he explains a new era—the Energy-Climate era—through an illuminating account of recent events. He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet (which brought 3 billion new consumers onto the world stage) have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street. But they have not gone very far down Main Street; the much-touted “green revolution” has hardly begun.
With all that in mind, Friedman sets out the clean-technology breakthroughs we, and the world, will need; he shows that the ET (Energy Technology) revolution will be both transformative and disruptive; and he explains why America must lead this revolution—with the first Green President and a Green New Deal, spurred by the Greenest Generation.
Why would this book make a great gift? It is written in a simple, straight forward language, and in many ways take off from where Al Gore is and pushes the matter a bit further. More than anything else, it focuses is on the inspirational side of possible solutions, and the building of a better future while overcoming the current challenges. It is a mainly focused on the US, but I think the point can be easily applied anywhere. If anything, it is the book that got many of us to say -o.k, at least now I know how to take the first few steps toward my part in helping the plant.
Getting Personal: I run a small Research group which provides information for the Global Green and Clean-tech market. It is its early stages right now, and so most of the clients approach us directly. We are happy to refer to other service providers in the various aspect of green as most of our work is in-depth market and commercial research. Around 2005, I started to combine more of the environmental side into my professional life.
I started with Green related projects (Solar-Thermal power generation, Environment protection, social responsibility and others), which later moved into a full time Green project management/ consultancy. S.E Asia was where most of my initial projects took place. Being part of Green and Healthy lifestyle initiatives; seeing them grow from ideas and bloom into life changing endeavors which helps both the society and the earth were the most rewarding process of my life.
I love Hot Flat and Crowded as it helped many of my friends, and colleagues to understand the problem in and direct towards the different possible solutions.
* This book got many recommendations and here are just few more praises it received:
“The new Tom Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded is an eye opener for those who are not yet sure about ‘global warming’. It is factual, up-to-date and explains why the US needs to make serious and immediate changes before it’s too late. A must!!!! (Rakefet Bachur, Marketing consultant)
“The subtitle says it all “Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How it Can Renew America”. He is passionate about the subject, and makes persuasive economic arguments. This makes it an especially good book for someone unsure of the merits of Green Business – no point just preaching to the choir! Very topical also in that it may give insights into some of the “big picture” projects our new administration may promote.” (Maura Raffensperger, Productivity Consultant at OrgRx.com)
8. “Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green” by Starre Vartan
Recommended by: Paige Wolf, owner of Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations
What the book is about? This book offers hundreds of ideas on how to be ecologically smart and still be stylish and trend-setting. You don’t have to sacrifice to go green – you can eat well, dress well, and live well once you learn how to. Learn where to shop for vintage and recycled jewelry (mining practices for gold and silver are notoriously polluting). Wear sustainable threads – organic cotton, peace silk, bamboo – or look for funky reconstructed designs made from vintage fabrics. Find shoes made from naturally tanned and dyed leather, hemp, or made from recycled materials…that still look incredibly chic.
Make your next party fabulous with organic beverages, seasonal food from the farmer’s market, and more. Pretty-up with organic, biodegradable hair products, body washes, moisturizers, and make-up – better for you and the planet’s water supplies! How to earn points while convincing your boss to go green in your office. Save cash with some Earth-loving swaps around your apartment, dorm or house.
Why would this book make a great gift? Perfect for the stylish friend who thinks going green is “crunchy” or just doesn’t know how to go green.
Getting Personal: Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations (PWMPR) is an eco-friendly lifestyle public relations firm based in Philadelphia. PWMPR has made a commitment to serving clients using the most ecologically friendly and sustainable methods available while still communicating their message to targeted demographics.
9. “The Lazy Environmentalist” by Josh Dorfman
Recommended by: Marcella Barrière, owner of FenixRizing LLC | rockin’ revolutionaries
What the book is about? (from the publisher – Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
In The Lazy Environmentalist, Josh Dorfman-host of the Sirius Satellite Radio program of the same name-provides comprehensive guidance to fashion-forward consumers who are as concerned about the long-term health of our planet as they are about the design of their bathroom fixtures. Covering topics that range from clothing to electronic gadgetry, home decor to recreation, and gardening to financial investment, Dorfman lets us know which trends to watch and which eco-conscious products-cars, toothbrushes, cell phones, pet accessories-to buy. Green, it turns out, can be an extremely stylish color.
Why would this book make a great gift? For those that aren’t yet wholeheartedly committed to being green, this book eases them into it instead of making them feel like they have to immediately change every aspect of their lives to help the environment.
Getting Personal: FenixRizing LLC provides eco-solutions to the entertainment and event industry. Whether you are coordinating an intimate gathering or producing a large outdoor festival or concert, we will work with you to create a tailored program that meets your specific needs. We intend to banish the stereotype that going green means a lack of style or an absence of luxury.
10. “The Better World Shopping Guide: Every Dollar Makes a Difference” by Ellis Jones
Recommended by: Carol Hink, Synergetic Consultant at Flying Bridge 360, Lara Pearson, Leader and Owner at the Law Office of Lara Pearson, Ltd.
What the book is about? (from the book’s web page) The only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers available, this book ranks every product on the shelf from A to F so you can quickly tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys” — turning your grocery list into a powerful tool to change the world. Representing over 15 years of distilled research, data is organized into the most common product categories including coffee, energy bars, computers, gasoline, clothing, banks, cars, water and more.
Also included is a summary of the essential information about particular product categories, profiles of the best and worst companies, practical buying tips and the most useful online resources available.
Why would this book make a great gift? (Carol) It empowers the consumer by providing a quick reference book with a rating system for different companies and their products according to their impact on the environment. They even list “corporate heros” and “corporate villians.” It is a real eye opener and helps you make more informed choices in the market place.
(Lara) The Guide is a small book that easily will fit in your purse or jeans pocket whenever you go shopping.The Guide’s ratings are easy-to-understand letter grades, each of which is category specific.
Getting personal: (Carol) My life took a radical shift about 3.5 years ago. I was burnt out of working in the corporate world, unhappy and disillusioned with the way people treated each other in the workplace. So, I left corporate and started my own consulting business. During this transition period, I took a trip with my husband to New Zealand. We rented a campervan and traveled the South Island for 2 weeks. It was an amazing experience and we both came back altered forever. We never felt more connected to Mother Earth then at that point.
My priorities shifted and my journey to a more natural, organic and green life began. It is important to me that I make better choices when shopping which is how I came to find and love Ellis Jones’ book. It is a fantastic pocket guide to empower you with information on the companies making products and their footprint so to speak.
As my personal life became greener, it became part of my core being and naturally steered by business focus to help entrepreneurs who are in these very same fields. That is where my heart is and it has become a calling to help those that are on this same mission. I act as a co-pilot helping these entrepreneurs figure out how to make their dream a reality so they leave a positive impact in the world.
(Lara) The Law Office of Lara Pearson is an environmentally and socially conscious law firm handling trademark and copyright issues. We’re a B Corp, Co-op America & 1% for the Planet member. Lara also is an Affiliate Member of SVN, who serves as Secretary of the Board of 1% for the Planet and on the Advisory Board of Rock the Earth. Our law firm uses the Guides as business cards by gluing our business cards in the front inside cover and handing out the guides to friends, colleagues and clients. VOTE! with your dollars. Use this Guide.
The Seattle librarians at the Shelf Talk blog have offered there own ideas for books to give to younger readers this year – check it out.