Celebrate Denise Brush’s 100th Brilliant Book Review With Us!
The Very Hungry City : urban energy efficiency and the economic fate of cities by Austin Troy (Yale University Press, 2012).
The premise of this book is that as the cost of energy goes up permanently (due to climate change and exhaustion of fossil fuel supplies), cities that use significantly more energy will lose economic competitiveness to better-designed, more energy efficient cities.
Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to create local, sustainable, and secure food systems by Philip Ackerman-Leist (Chelsea Green, 2012).
The author of this book has an unusual combination of perspectives: he is both a college professor and a farmer. That means that his approach to creating locally-based food systems comes from a great deal of practical experience, not just idealistic theory.
Ackerman-Leist understands the economics of farming, and the chemicals and energy requirements involved. He devotes a whole chapter to the possibilities of using human excrement as a fertilizer (yes, he went there). He explores the connections between people who lack food security and the organizations that try to help them, such as food banks and soup kitchens. Several times in the book he relates stories about people whose job it is to feed large groups of people (school, hospital and prison food service staff). These organizations, often ignored in sustainability literature, are actually good places to start going local with food supply. This is not the book I was expecting, but it made a lot of excellent points that got me thinking in new ways about our foodsheds.
Jennifer Government by Max Barry (Vintage Books, 2003)
This is a fast-moving science fiction novel about the near future, though it was probably a lot funnier in 2003 when the future it described seemed comfortably far away. Eleven years later, we’re about halfway there. In this world, Australia is part of the United States, taxes have been abolished, and privatization has advanced to its logical endpoint. Schools are run by youth oriented companies like Mattel and McDonalds, and your last name is the company or organization you work for….