Let’s Resolve to Live More Sustainably

The New Year is a time of resolutions for many of us.  Whether you believe in them or not, resolutions can motivate us to improve our lives. A resolution which would benefit each of us, as well as our planet, is a commitment to sustainable living.  By making changes, even small ones, in our everyday lives, we can positively impact our environment and influence those around us to do the same.

The following books give some great advice for sustainable living:

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Ecothrifty : cheaper, greener choices for a happier, healthier life by Deborah Niemann.    When eco met thrifty — how saving money can help save the planet.

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Urban homesteading : heirloom skills for sustainable living by Rachel Kaplan.   City-dwellers across the country are finding creative new ways to live, and urban farmers are reclaiming heirloom agrarian practices as strategies for responsible living. Get to know real people who are changing their lives and the lives of their neighbors through the urban homesteading movement.

Click for more infoHow bad are bananas? : the carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee.    Discusses the carbon footprint–the carbon emissions used to manufacture and transport–everyday items, including paper bags and imported produce, and provides information to help build carbon considerations into everyday purchases.

Check out Mother Earth News, one of our library’s magazines, for great articles on sustainable living.

Happy New Year!!


The Impact of Melting Arctic Ice

The consequences of melting Arctic ice on the future of our planet and mankind is a matter of speculation and scientific debate.  The link between melting Arctic ice and colder winters appears implausible; however, according to a recent Scientific American article entitled “Arctic Sea ice hits record low” this is exactly what some scientists are predicting.  Because a warmer Arctic Ocean would affect the jet stream, this could result in either unusually cold, or unusually warm, winters in the U.S. Northeast and Europe.

Click for more infoBut what about the people who live in the Arctic?  How are they coping with the impact of melting sea ice?  In her book In the empire of ice : encounters in a changing landscape, Gretel Ehrlich describes her circumpolar encounters with indigenous people in the face of a changing climate.

Climate change in the Arctic is a cause of great concern and there are many organizations addressing this issue.  One such body is the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation among the Arctic states.

A notable book for 2012

Click for more infoDrinking water : a history by James Salzman  363.756 S186                                                       Duke professor James Salzman shows how drinking water highlights the most pressing issues of our time from globalization and social justice to terrorism and climate change and how humans have been wrestling with these problems for centuries.

To learn more about our “water footprint,” which includes not just water we use and consume in our homes, but also water used to produce the goods and services we consume on a daily basis, click here.

The legacy of Rachel Carson

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On a farther shore : the life and legacy of Rachel Carson  by William Souder  was published in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the environmental classic Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

Rachel Carson had a profound influence on the environmental movement when it was in its infancy and was instrumental in bringing the world’s attention to the detrimental effects of pesticides, especially DDT.  For more information on her life and legacy, click here.

Winter Gardening

Pity the books on gardening — as the snow piles up these books will be delegated to the shelves to wait out the winter.  But wait they don’t have to; there is plenty that we northerner gardeners can do in our gardens during the winter months. Here are a few books to give you some inspiration.

winter_harvestWinter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Organic Vegetable Production for the Twenty-First Century
by Eliot Coleman
635.2 C692
Explains how to grow and harvest vegetables throughout the year in mobile plastic greenhouses that use little heat, covering topics such as greenhouse design and construction, soil preparation, weed control, pests, and summer and winter crops.


The Winter Garden: Create a Garden That Shines through the Forgotten Seas
by Val Bourne
635.953 B775
An inspirational guide that shows how trees, shrubs, seedheads, berries and evergreens can bring your garden to life in winter.

year_roundThe Year-Round Vegetable Gardener
by Niki Jabbour
635.1 J11
Presents advice for growing vegetables throughout the year, discussing such topics as selecting the right vegetables for the season, using succession planting, and building and setting up cold frames.



Continuous Container Gardens: Swap in the Plants of the Season to Create Fresh Designs Year-Round
by Sara Begg Townsend and Roanne Robbins
635.9679 T751
Explains how to leverage container gardening for year-round beauty, in a book that includes twelve projects, each with four different looks for the seasons


The Air We Breathe

Air Pollution Smoke Stack by EnvironmentBlogDaily smog warnings were issued for the Montreal area for more than a week in mid-November.   As reported in The Gazette,  because there was little wind to disperse air pollution from industry, vehicles and wood-burning, pollutants accumulated producing a layer of smog over the island.  Smog poses a health risk to people with respiratory or cardiac conditions, as well as to the elderly and children.

Monitoring air quality is vital to our well-being and to the environment.  For information on a pilot project measuring the air quality health index in Montreal, click here.   Environment Canada also issues an Air Quality Health Index.

For information from the Canadian Lung Association on what you can do to control outdoor air quality, click here.