Friday, July 8, 2011

Self Sustainability, Gardening and How Zombies Inspired My Husband to Go Green

What would you do if one day the world just ended? If infrastructure collapsed and you had to survive on your own without any kind of a support system. Would you know where to start? Do you know how to garden. Do you know what tomato seeds look like?

After my husband read the Zombie Survival Guide, he started worrying about any kind of post apocalyptic scenarios and became obsessed with self sustainability, permaculture, and gardening. The idea that the infrastructure of our economy could one day be gone gave him pause to consider a number of things, like what humans were doing to the environment. Since reading that book, he's become a bit of a green thumb, and I find myself needing to keep up with him.

And no. You don't have to be worried about a zombie apocalypse to be concerned with self sustainability, but just an awareness that you are part of an environment that you are influencing for good or ill.

Here are five books that can help you if the world ends or if you just want to live a life that has less of a negative impact on the environment:

*Psst! Images and titles link back to GoodReads so you can start your own self-sustainability reading list!

Back To Basics by Abigail R. Gehring

"'Voluntary simplicity' has become a catch phrase for what seems to be a yearning for a simpler, more self-sufficient and economical way of living in the late 20th century. This book, first published in 1981 and recently updated, was probably many folks' first in-depth exposure to the idea of a simpler life, making things by hand, and enjoying a stronger sense of control over personal budgets, home projects, and lifestyles. Hundreds of projects are listed, illustrated in step-by-step diagrams and instructions: growing and preserving your own food, converting trees to lumber and building a home from it, traditional crafts and homesteading skills, and having fun with recreational activities like camping, fishing, and folk dancing without spending a lot of money. This book will have you dreaming and planning from the first page!" -- Mark A. Hetts

The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide by John Seymour

"The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more. Our 2003 edition included 150 new full-color illustrations and a special section in which John Seymour, the father of the back to basics movement, explains the philosophy of self-sufficiency and its power to transform lives and create communities. More relevant than ever in our high-tech world, The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the ultimate practical guide for realists and dreamers alike."

Permaculture: A Designers' Manual by Bill Mollison

"An encyclopedic treatment of permaculture, this book is essential for students, landowners, public policy-makers, and others interested in revolutionizing modern farming and land use. Highly detailed chapters cover everything one might ever need to know about the permaculture philosophy and its applications to land-use design, systems analysis, climatic factors (including tailored strategies for drylands, aquaculture, and other special circumstances), and much, much more."

Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods Earth Plaster * Straw Bale * Cordwood * Cob * Living Roofs by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan

"Clarke Snell and Timothy L. Callahan, whose popular Good House Bookhelped environmentally-minded readers create an earth-friendly home, have returned with a photo-packed, amazingly complete, start-to-finish guide to "green" housebuilding.

This absolutely groundbreaking manual doesn't just talk about eco-friendly building techniques, but actually shows every step! More than 1,200 close-up photographs, along with in-depth descriptions, follow the real construction of an alternative house from site selection to the addition of final-touch interior details. Co-authors Clarke Snell and Timothy Callahan (a professional builder and contractor) provide thorough discussions of the fundamental concepts of construction, substitutes for conventional approaches, and planning a home that's not only comfortable and beautiful, but environmentally responsible. Then, they roll up their sleeves and get to work assembling a guest house that incorporates four different alternative building methods: straw bale, cob, cordwood, and modified stick frame. The images show every move: how the site is cleared, the basic structure put together, the cob wall sculpted, the bales and cordwood stacked, a living roof created, and more. Most important, the manual conveys real-world challenges and processes, and offers dozens of sidebars with invaluable advice. It's head and shoulders above all others in the field.

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