Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A new book, Guerrilla Yardwork by Peter Korchnak is going green with Eco-Libris!

We're happy to announce on a new collaboration with author Peter Korchnak who has just released a great book to welcome spring with: Guerrilla Yardwork: The First-Time Home Owner's Handbook. In collaboration with-Eco Libris one tree will be planted for every paper copy of this book sold.

In 2010 we collaborated with Peter on 'The Portland Bottom Line', a book he edited exploring how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. So we're very glad to partner with him again on another great book that we're positive many people will find both valuable and enjoyable.

So what's Guerilla Yardwork about? Here are all the details including our review of the book!
About the book:

Guerrilla Yardwork: The First-Time Home Owner’s Handbook rethinks yardwork as you know it. Part manifesto, part field manual, it draws upon the tenets of guerrilla warfare outlined by Sun Tzu, Che Guevara, and others, to introduce guerrilla yardwork as both a yardvolutionary philosophy and an effective practice for every first-time home owner strapped for cash and pressed for time.

“Guerrilla yardwork utilizes the element of surprise to launch small, repetitive attacks at unpredictable times and locations around the yard to weaken Bad Nature and promote Good Nature in Her stead. Offensive, highly mobile, and fluid in character, guerrilla yardwork is marked by swift action of short duration, followed by rapid withdrawal.” The yard won’t know what hit it. Start your yardvolution at GuerrillaYardwork.com.

About the author:
Peter Korchnak is a retired yardwork guerrilla in Portland, Oregon, American Robotnik, and the creator of The Portland Bottom Line: Practices for Your Small Business from America’s Hotbed of Sustainability. Find his front yard at PeterKorchnak.com.

Our review of Guerrilla Yardwork:

I am happy to say, I loved this book. The author, Peter Korchnak, does such a fantastic job of giving you information with a humorous voice and approach that not only educates you along the way, but entertains as well. This book is perfect for any homeowner whether you are just starting out or have been fighting the good battle for years.

The book also doesn’t just go with the normal upkeep of a city lawn. Oh no, he gives you the whole lot of possible yards from the postage stamp size, up to acreages of land. It goes though grass, and gravel, plants and trees and weeds, all the way to rodents and other animals. Add in the personal sustainability information and you have a full book to enjoy. I am so glad to have been able to read this book as I have a feeling I will be holding on to it for years to come as a reference guide. My only complaint is that it does not have an index. That would have been very helpful for future use.

In the end, I enjoyed this read, especially now that spring is officially upon us and I see all the work, the battles, ahead of me, again.

You can purchase Guerilla Yardwork on Amazon.com (both e-book and paperback formats are available).


Friday, March 22, 2013

The paperless future, or where's the paper when you really need it?

This is a very funny TV spot from France taking up the debate between 'all digital' and the die-hard defenders of paper. I received it from of my students and wanted to share with you all:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Monday, March 18, 2013

A.O. Scott and David Carr talk on the Sweet Spot on books vs. ebooks

I'm a fan of the New York Times' Sweet Spot conversations/ video clips, and I'd like to recommend on last week's episode including a  great conversation between A.O. Scott and David Carr about the differences between paper books and ebooks. In addition you can learn what the good people working in the New York Times are reading these days!

You can check it out at http://nyti.ms/15Rmcyh

For more comparisons (this time green ones..) between ebooks and paper books visit our website at http://www.ecolibris.net/ebooks.asp 

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Green book review: Creating Green Roadways by James L. Sipes and Matthew L. Sipes

Can roads become the friend of the sustainable movement rather than its foe? This question is examined in a new book looking at the intersection between transportation planning and sustainability. 

Our green book for today is Creating Green Roadways: Integrating Cultural, Natural, and Visual Resources into Transportation by James L. Sipes and Matthew L. Sipes (Island Press).

What this book is about?

Roads and parking lots in the United States cover more ground than the entire state of Georgia. And while proponents of sustainable transit often focus on getting people off the roads, they will remain at the heart of our transportation systems for the foreseeable future. In Creating Green Roadways, James and Matthew Sipes demonstrate that roads don’t have to be the enemy of sustainability: they can be designed to minimally impact the environment while improving quality of life.

The authors examine traditional, utilitarian methods of transportation planning that have resulted in a host of negative impacts: from urban sprawl and congestion to loss of community identity and excess air and water pollution. They offer a better approach—one that blends form and function. Creating Green Roadways covers topics including transportation policy, the basics of green road design, including an examination of complete streets, public involvement, road ecology, and the economics of sustainable roads. Case studies from metropolitan, suburban, and rural transportation projects around the country, along with numerous photographs, illustrate what makes a project successful.

The need for this information has never been greater, as more than thirty percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, more than a quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and congestion in communities of all sizes has never been worse. Creating Green Roadways offers a practical strategy for rethinking how we design, plan, and maintain our transportation infrastructure.

Our review:

I’m not going to say the book, Creating Green Roadways, was an exciting read, as it wasn’t. However, I did find it extremely informative, as well as quite innovative at times with its green road concepts and designs. We all know that roads are a part of our world and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. We also have all been on those roads that are in such disrepair as to be dangerous and then wondering why no one has dealt with the problem. After reading this book, I now have a better understanding of our roads, the offices that deal with their structures and repair, and just how monumental a task it is to keep our roads serviceable, as well as try to keep the environmental impact at a minimum. I had no idea how much went into our road systems.

The comprehensive information about how we can improve the designs of the roads in order to reduce the environmental impact was extensive and well thought out. This book is extremely thorough in the topics it covers. These topics include, but are not limited to: transportation policy, green road design, road ecology, and case studies of projects from all over the country. As a bonus, the book is filled with photos and illustrations, so that you have a clear idea of what they are talking about. I would love to see some of these ideas put into place. A definite must read for anyone in this industry.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.com (both e-book and hardcover formats are available).


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five tips for a greener bookstore

This guest post was written by Sarah Murray

More and more businesses are incorporating greener practices into to their offices and workspaces. From recycling and buying eco-friendly products to reducing light pollution and offsetting carbon emissions, big and small businesses are doing their part to help the environment. In 2011, a study by MIT suggested that sustainable practices are now a part of 70% of corporate agendas*. Not only do these practices have a positive impact on the environment but many businesses have also seen an increase in profits as customers are more likely to purchase from or work with a company that implements green practices.

Bookstores are by no means exempt from such eco practices and many have implemented greener initiatives. If you’d like to make your bookstore eco-friendly or  are simply looking for more ways to increase or build on your greener initiatives, here’s some simple tips to help you on your way!

Recycle posters
Working at a bookstore, I remember so many promotional posters being thrown out. However, I also remember many customers asking if they could have particular posters when we were finished with them. Reduce paper wastage by selling old posters, you’ll be surprised at how many people would love to hang up a poster about the latest Jack Reacher novel or Sandman graphic novel. Alternatively, if you can’t sell posters, ensure you make a concerted effort to recycle the posters but using them in some form in the store or starting a paper recycling bin (if one doesn’t exist).

Use low wattage bulbs
Most business and homes now use energy saving bulbs. This is particularly prevalent in the UK with inefficient bulbs being phased out in favour of energy saving ones. If you’re still using high wattage bulbs, consider swapping for more energy efficient ones. Not only will they save you money in the long run but they’re also better for books as bright lights can often fade and yellow pages.

Stock environmentally friendly products
Support your bookstore’s eco-friendly practices by stocking products from businesses who also implement greener strategies. Whether its products which have been created ethically, such as pencils made with recycled materials, or books whose publishers aim to reduce their energy usage, such as Penguin, supporting these businesses will increase your green status, furthering your eco-friendliness!

Print on demand
This service is popular among universities (often the leaders in eco-friendly bookstores) who offer the service for certain text books or courses papers which don’t need to be stocked in bulk. While this may not apply for commercial bookstores it’s still an interesting practice to instill, even just among printer friendly staff! Instead of taking this literally, implement this as a motto for your business. If you distribute a newsletter or send reminders for customers to collect an ordered book do it via email so you’re not wasting paper.

Implement reusable carrier bags
Like many supermarkets, bookstores should also encourage their customers to use re-usable bags. If you still stock plastic bags in store, consider charging a small fee for them to encourage customers to bring their own. Alternatively, offer an incentive to those who do bring their own bags, you could give a stamp for every time they bring their own bag and when they collect a certain number they can have a small gift or a percentage off their next purchase. 
Let us know, have you got any other ideas for making your bookstore eco-friendly?

*Statistic from Earth Share.org
Image credit: Spot Cool Stuff.com

Author bio:
Bookworm Sarah Murray works for Appliances Online. When she’s not reading the latest crime thriller she enjoys nothing more than browsing through the shelves of a well-stocked bookstore. Follow her life on Twitter.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Green book review: Gro Book - The adventures of Sophie the sweater

Today we'd like to introduce you with a children's book that is basically an innovative "choose-your-own-adventure" book app for kids that can be read in 24 different ways. The underlying theme in the story is no other than Reuse.

Our book for today is 
Gro Book - The Adventures of Sophie the Sweater

What this book is about?

Gro Book - “The adventures of Sophie the sweater puts the child in charge of this captivating and moving story. The book can be read, or listened to, in 24 different ways, and has an underlying eco-educational theme. Get to know Sophie - a sweater that is longing for someone to need and love her. Along the way, the reader decides the direction of story, which affects Sophie’s shape, use, and mood!

Sophie the sweater is feeling abandoned on her hanger in a clothing store. Nobody seems to want to take her home. One day a certain someone comes in to the store and the great adventure begins. Sophie goes on lots of adventures - even scary ones - where she is created into new things such as a vest, a pair of pants, and even a bird’s nest, just to mention a few. The underlying theme of the book is ”consumption and reuse”. By reading the story of Sophie the sweater we hope to inspire you and your child to take extra good care of the many things that are already around you. Get inspired and use the creative tips on how you can be creative and reuse stuff at home.

“Gro really seizes the opportunity to early give children a foundation for learning about sustainability.", says Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, World president of OMEP and UNESCO Chair man in Early Childhood Education and Sustainable Development.

- 24 engaging storylines
- Over 100 handmade illustrations
- Delightfully narrated
- Environmental theme: reuse
- Kid-friendly interface
- No third-party advertising
- No in-app purchases

Our review:

The Gro Book – An APP Since I had the opportunity to review this app I decided to check out both the FREE App and the FULL App. This is a “Choose Your Own Course” type of book, meaning that as you make your way through the story, you get to decide where you want it to go by choosing from several options at certain points in the book. In this story, you get to follow along with a sweater as she makes her way through her life. The good choices and the not so good ones depending on which way you go. I have to say it was a very cute idea. The narrator had a nice friendly voice that worked well in engaging the “reader” or the “listener”. The choices were silly and fun. The book was not in any way standard in your choices either, which is what made it so entertaining. One thing that I think they could have done better is that some of the pages seemed a bit too long. There were times that my brain began to wander while the narrator seemed to go on and on. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As to the difference between the free app and the full version? The free app had fewer options to choose from and did not complete the story. The full version had a complete story with several more options available. My suggestion would be to try out the free version and if you like what you see and if you think your child would enjoy it, then you have to get the full version. It was truly worth it.

"Gro Book - The Adventures of Sophie the Sweater" on AppStore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gro-book/id594674205?mt=8


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Green book review: Friends of the Earth by Pat McCarthy

Today we'd like to introduce you with a great book that takes on itself an important mission: Introducing American kids to the history of American environmentalism. And what a great job it does!

Our book for today is Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities by Pat McCarthy

What this book is about?

Friends of the Earth explores the history of American environmentalism with engaging profiles of men and women who contributed to preserving, conserving and educating others about our natural world. Introducing kids to the importance of a healthy environment, Friends of the Earth features inspiring stories of influential naturalists, artists and authors.

In addition to Audubon, Thoreau, Muir and Carson, young readers also learn about Gifford Pinchot, the first professionally trained forester in the United States; Aldo Leopold, whose nature writing and “land ethic” paved the way for the modern conservation movement; and Mardy Murie, “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement,” who helped establish Grand Teton National Park. Activities—making a compost pile, learning how the greenhouse effect works, making a bird feeder, planting a tree—help young environmentalists act on their concerns and demonstrate the impact humans have on the environment.

Our review:

Friends of the Earth, by Pat McCarthy, is quite the history of the environmental movement. The book covers not just the political side of the movement, although there does appear to be a bit of an agenda, but it also brings forward the real people themselves that were part of it. There are men, women, politicians, artists, writers, poets, and so many more, that bring the book to life. This book takes you into the full lives of so many people that you may have known were part of the drive, but not how much of their lives they spent as part of the struggle. A few names you will find in this book: John James Audubon, Marjory Stoneman Douglas; Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, and even President Roosevelt. The book gives you a nice timeline from the beginning of the movement up to today.

I enjoyed this book. It’s not a long read. There were times that I found it to be a bit dry and fact oriented, but it has loads of great photographs, which really helps to bring the people to life. It also has 21 different activities that you can do if you are so inclined. These activities include how to make a pinecone bird feed, and creating your own compost heap. Out of all the activities most are ones you can do in an afternoon for fun. Some are more in-depth and time consuming but they are all useful and family friendly. This is a good book to get the kids involved as well as a way to get a bit of history.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.com (both e-book and paperback formats are available).