Friday, October 15, 2010

Books that inspire us to create better Local Communities.

Just some interesting reading if you are at all community minded and interested support your local community! There are some really great ideas in these books on how to improve the communities we live in!

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.
by Bill McKibben

"McKibben, author of The End of Nature, suggests that there is a basic question haunting our moment on earth: `Is more better?` For thousands of years, the standard of living for human society remained relatively static, with the majority of people existing in a condition of general scarcity. But when living conditions began to improve, thanks to the power of industrialization and modern capitalism, the obvious conclusion was that `more` could only be better. Today, argues McKibben, this belief warrants revision. Measured in terms of growing inequalities within and across nations, a wealth of evidence suggests that `more` is no longer better—indeed, `more` may be very bad for us and our world. McKibben claims that the antidote for many global economic problems can be found locally. To this end, he argues that attention should be redirected towards more traditional means of pursuing prosperity within our communities, such as farmers` markets, community-supported agriculture farms (CSAs), community-based radio stations, and mercantile cooperatives. While a turn to the local may not be fast, cheap, or easy, it may very well prove necessary if we are to secure the thriving of human beings in the decades ahead."—Josh Yates, Virginia Quarterly Review

Local Money: How to Make it Happen in Your Community.
by Peter North

In past recessions and depressions, a popular response from communities has been to create their own forms of money. How can local money help communities in times of hardship and cut as much carbon out of their economies as possible?

This is an inspiring yet practical new book, Local Money helps you understand what money is and what makes good and bad money. It draws on the considerable track record of experimentation with local money around the world and gives ideas to those in the Transition movement and beyond about what has been tried, what works, and what to avoid.

Small is Possible: Life in a local economy.
by Lyle Estill

In an era when incomprehensibly complex issues like Peak Oil and Climate Change dominate headlines, practical solutions at a local level can seem somehow inadequate.

In response, Lyle Estill's Small is Possible introduces us to "hometown security," with this chronicle of a community-powered response to resource depletion in a fickle global economy. True stories, springing from the soils of Chatham County, North Carolina, offer a positive counter balance to the bleakness of our age.

This is the story of how one small southern US town found actual solutions to actual problems. Unwilling to rely on government and wary of large corporations, these residents discovered it is possible for a community to feed itself, fuel itself, heal itself and govern itself.

This book is filled with newspaper columns, blog entries, letters and essays that have appeared on the margins of small town economies. Tough subjects are handled with humor and finesse. Compelling stories of successful small businesses from the grocery co-op to the biodiesel co-op describe a town and its people on a genuine quest for sustainability.

Everyone interested in sustainability, local economy, small business, and whole foods will be inspired by the success stories in this book.

Better Not Bigger: How to Take Control of Urban Growth and Improve your Community
by Eben Fodor

Contrary to accepted wisdom, rapid urban growth can leave communities permanently scarred, deeply in debt, with unaffordable housing, a lost sense of community, and sacrificed environmental quality.

In Better NOT Bigger, Fodor explodes the fundamental myth that growth is good for us and that more development will bring in more tax money, add jobs, lower housing costs, and reduce property taxes. Lively and well-illustrated, Better NOT Bigger provides insights, ideas, and tools to empower citizens to switch off their local "growth machine" by debunking the pro-growth rhetoric. Highly accessible to ordinary citizens as well as professional planners.

Better NOT Bigger has been made available through New Catalyst Books. New Catalyst Books is an imprint of New Society Publishers, aimed at providing readers with access to a wider range of books dealing with sustainability issues by bringing books back into print that have enduring value in the field.

The Small-Mart Revolution:
by Michael H, Shuman

Forword by Bill Mckibben

Defenders of globalization, free markets, and free trade insist there's no alternative to mega-stores like Wal-Mart -- Michael Shuman begs to differ. In "The Small-Mart Revolution, Shuman makes a compelling case for his alternative business model, one in which communities reap the benefits of "going local" in four key spending categories: goods, services, energy, and finance. He argues that despite the endless media coverage of multinational conglomerates, local businesses give more to charity, adapt more easily to rising labor and environmental standards, and produce more wealth for a community. They also spend more locally, thereby increasing community income and creating wealth and jobs. "The Small-Mart Revolution presents a visionary yet practical roadmap for everyone concerned with mitigating the worst of globalization.

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