From the Editor Archive


Holiday Sale – Save 35% on our entire selection

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The holiday season has arrived, and Chelsea Green is the perfect place to stock up on inspiring and educational gifts for your friends and family (and don’t forget about yourself).

You’ll find the right gift for everyone on your list – from political activists and gardeners to entrepreneurs, philosophers foodies and cooks – we’ve got you covered.

Use the coupon code CGFL11 at checkout to save 35% off your entire order from now until the end of the year. Take a look at the some of the new titles and most popular titles below to get started, or browse our online bookstore. Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing. P.S. Don’t forget there is free shipping on orders over $100.

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era

Reinventing Fire Book Cover

A global clean energy race has emerged with astounding speed. The ability to operate without fossil fuels will define winners and losers in business-and among nations.

Whether you care most about profits and jobs, national security, health, or environmental stewardship, Reinventing Fire charts a pragmatic course that makes sense and makes money. With clarity and mastery, Amory Lovins and RMI reveal the astounding opportunities for enterprise to create the new energy era.

Check out author article – Six Critical Levers to Transform our Energy Future.

Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm

Wild Flavors follows a year at Eva’s Garden through the seasons. It showcases Emmons’s creative talents, featuring herbs (African basil, calaminth, lovage) and wild foods (autumn olives, wild roses, Japanese knotweed). The author provides growing or foraging information for each of the forty-six uncommon garden plants profiled, as well as details on prepping, storing, preserving, and health benefits. The wide-ranging recipes reflect the shifting seasonal harvest and are easy to follow, but best of all, Emmons shows us how these herbs, greens, and wild foods improve and transform the flavors in our food. 

Check out Living on Earth who recently visited Eva’s Garden with Didi Emmons.

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowel for Home and Market Growers

The most comprehensive and definitive guide to date on raising all-natural poultry, for homesteaders or farmers seeking to close their loop, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock offers a practical and integrative model for working with chickens and other domestic fowl, based entirely on natural systems.

Check out an Excerpt from Excerpt from Chapter 2 – The Integrated Small-Scale Flock.

When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival

In this disaster-preparedness manual, Mat Stein outlines the materials you’ll need-from food and water, to shelter and energy, to first-aid and survival skills-to help you safely live through the worst. When Disaster Strikes covers how to find and store food, water, and clothing, as well as the basics of installing back-up power and lights. You’ll learn how to gather and sterilize water, build a fire, treat injuries in an emergency, and use alternative medical sources when conventional ones are unavailable.

Listen to Mat Stein on the Power Hour.

The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times

Transition is the most vital social experiment of our times. The Transition movement has already motivated thousands to begin to adapt their lives to the twin challenge of peak oil and climate change. Drawing on this collective experience, The Transition Companion offers communities a combination of practical guidance and real vision for the future. 

 - Tim Jackson, author of Prosperity without Growth

Check out author videos here.

Killing the Cranes: A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan

This September marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001. That’s probably when you first started thinking about Afghanistan, but the longer history of the troubled nation reveals much more than the influence of Al Qaeda. Killing the Cranes is a crash course in Afghan history and a scathing indictment of the Afghan War. For thirty years, Edward Girardet risked his life reporting from the world’s most notoriously troubled country. Now, in Killing the Cranes, he delivers a firsthand account of his years on the ground amid war, chaos, and strife that have come to define Afghanistan Watch Edward Giradet on PBS NewsHour.

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production

Peg Schafer, longtime grower and teacher, guides readers with information on propagating, cultivating, and harvesting Chinese herbs, and presents fascinating new scientific data that reveal the age-old wisdom of nature and the traditional systems of Chinese medicine. Through 79 detailed herb profiles—all tested and trialed on Schafer’s certified organic farm—Schafer offers easy-to-follow information, suitable for both growers and practitioners, for growing efficacious wild-simulated herbs. This invaluable guide will speak to vegetable and CSA famers and beginner growers alike and will make eating-your-medicine more accessible than ever.  Check out what folks are saying about the book. 

Featured Video

Watch Harvey Ussery speak about Integrated System on this featured author video.

Featured Article: Legalize Local Investment!

Author Michael Shuman thinks Wall Street isn’t just greedy — he thinks it’s a bad investment too. He’s an advocate for keeping your investment dollars close to home, in small local businesses.

Nothing controversial there, but did you know that certain types of investment structures for small businesses are illegal? Click here to continue reading.

Featured Receipe: Maple-vanilla Panna Cruda

The first peoples to harvest maple sap were the indigenous peoples of the northern woodlands, where the sugar maple, Acer saccharum, is both native and prodigious. For many cultures…tapping maple trees was an annual ritual. The sap is watery and clear; Native peoples drank it as a spring tonic beverage and used it to make vinegar. European colonists often called it maple water. An Iroquois legend explains how the secret of maple sugaring was discovered. A chief named Woksis threw his tomahawk into a tree before leaving on a hunt. As the weather warmed, the sap began to flow from the gash into a container that happened to be sitting by the tree.

The woman of the house found the container full of liquid, assumed her thoughtful husband had already been to the stream to fetch it full of water, and used it to boil the evening’s meat. As the meat stewed, the sap cooked down into syrup, and thus the secret of maple sugaring was revealed.

Check out the full recipe here.

Facebook Post: Criminal Moms Campaign for Raw Milk

What do you think about the fight over raw milk and farm-fresh foods? Should you the consumer have the right to choose whatever you want, or should the government protect you?

Take a look at the Facebook Post here.

Or if for those of you who aren’t on Facebook you can read an article about it on our website.

COMING SOON: Wild Flavors Book Giveaway

Who doesn’t like to win stuff? Well, keep checking back in December and you can win one of two copies of Wild Flavors. Sign up here.

In case you missed it!

Coming up in December is the annual Acres, USA Conference and Harvey Ussery, author of groundbreaking new book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, will be speaking.

Join us December 6-10th in Columbus, Ohio. Hope to see you there.

Lynn Margulis, 1938-2011

Chelsea Green is extremely saddened to announce the death of renowned evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis who died at her home on November 22 at the age of 73…Lynn was a great and generous friend and advocate for many other scientists and students, fierce truth seeker, and passionate teacher and life force. Her loss is going to be felt around the world and in the scientific community for many years to come. Click here to continue reading

Sneak Peak: The Holistic Orchard

We are thrilled to announce Michael Phillips newest book, which will be available to ship at the end of December. Many people want to grow fruit on a small scale but lack the insight to be successful orchardists. Growing tree fruits and berries is something virtually anyone with space and passionate desire can do—given wise guidance and a personal commitmentto observe the teachings of the trees. Take a closer look and pre-order a copy here.

Nature does the heavy lifting – All Permaculture books on Sale

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Nature doesn’t till. Nature doesn’t need chemical pesticides. And monoculture? Nature ain’t even trying to hear that noise. So why do we break our backs fighting uphill battles when we can just look at the way natural systems work and, basically, rip them off?  Take a look at the selection of books below that will tell you  about a little something called permaculture: it’ll save you money, time, and wear and tear on your precious back

 Save 25% on all our permaculture books!

 Think that gardening and planting is only for the spring time? Well, autumn is great time for those perennials and planning your sustainable garden. The concept is simple – everything should serve multiple functions and let nature do the heavy lifting. 

 

We’d also like to give a shout out to Permaculture Magazine Permaculture Institute. They’re great resources on learning more about creating permaculture ecosystems and gardens. 

 

Check out the titles below of our permaculture books on SALE for 25% off.

 

Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing.

 

(Image credit Paul Kearsley)

 

Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

The first edition of Gaia’s Garden sparked the imagination of America’s home gardeners, introducing permaculture’s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

“The world didn’t come with an operating manual, so it’s a good thing that some wise people have from time to time written them. Gaia’s Garden is one of the more important, a book that will be absolutely necessary in the world ahead.” - Bill McKibben

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/gaias_garden_second_edition:paperback


Creating a Forest Garden
Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops
Creating a Forest Garden
 tells you everything you need to know – whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot. It includes advice on planning, design (using permaculture principles), planting and maintenance, and a comprehensive directory of over 450 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, annuals, root crops and climbers – almost all of them edible and many very unusual.
http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/creating_a_forest_garden:hardcover

Permaculture Pioneers Stories from the New Frontier Permaculture is much more than organic gardening. Arguably it is one of Australia’s greatest intellectual exports, having helped people worldwide to design ecologically sustainable strategies for their homes, gardens, farms and communities. This book charts a history of the first three decades of permaculture, through the personal stories of Australian permaculturists. From permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, to ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne, the authors span the generations and the continent.For those whose lives have been changed by permaculture, this book provides a context for articulating and celebrating their own stories and experiences. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_pioneers:paperback

Meat: A Benign ExtravaganceMeat is a groundbreaking exploration of the difficult environmental, ethical, and social issues surrounding the human consumption of animals, and the future of livestock in sustainable agriculture. It answers the question: should we be farming animals, or not? The answer is not simple; indeed, we must decrease the amount of meat we eat (both for the planet and for ourselves), and the industrial meat system is hugely problematic, but Simon Fairlie presents in-depth research in favor of small-scale, holistic, and integrated farming systems that include pastured, free-range livestock as the answer to the pro-meat or no-meat debate. This is a life-changing book. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/meat:paperback

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture “After reading this book, all I can say is Sepp Holzer is a Superstar Farmer. Holzer turns out an absolutely remarkable volume and variety of food products, all without one smidgen of chemical fertilizer, and on land in Austria that an Illinois corn farmer would pronounce too marginal for agriculture. American farmers and gardeners will be particularly interested in Holzer’s raised beds-which are quite different in construction from ours in the U.S.-as well as his inventive water well irrigation systems, unique methods for integrating livestock into his fruit and vegetable gardens, and practical, low-labor way to grow mushrooms. A fascinating book for anyone who aspires to become the ultimate, champion professional of sustainable farming.” - Gene Logsdon, author of Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, and The Contrary Farmerhttp://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/sepp_holzers_permaculture:paperback

 Perennial Vegetables

There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. InPerennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food.

Perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/perennial_vegetables:paperback

 Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations:concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable “plant matrix” that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/edible_forest_gardens_2_volume_set:hardcover

 Food Not Lawns

Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution-it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own “paradise gardens.”

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/food_not_lawns:paperback

The Small-Scale Poultry FlockThe most comprehensive and definitive guide to date on raising all-natural poultry, for homesteaders or farmers seeking to close their loop, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock offers a practical and integrative model for working with chickens and other domestic fowl, based entirely on natural systems.No other book on raising poultry takes an entirely whole-systems approach, nor discusses producing homegrown feed and breeding in such detail. This is a truly invaluable and groundbreaking guide that will lead farmers and homesteaders into a new world of self-reliance and enjoyment. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_smallscale_poultry_flock:paperback

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond SustainabilityDavid Holmgren draws a correlation between every aspect of how we organize our lives, communities and landscapes and our ability to creatively adapt to the ecological realities that shape human destiny. For students and teachers of Permaculture this book provides something more fundamental and distilled than Mollison’s encyclopedic Designers Manual. For the general reader it provides refreshing perspectives on a range of environmental issues and shows how permaculture is much more than just a system of gardening. For anyone seriously interested in understanding the foundations of sustainable design and culture, this book is essential reading. Although a book of ideas, the big picture is repeatedly grounded by reference to Holmgren’s own place, Melliodora, and other practical examples.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture:paperback

The Basics of Permaculture DesignThe Basics of Permaculture Design, first published in Australia in 1996, is an excellent introduction to the principles of permaculture, design processes, and the tools needed for designing sustainable gardens, farms, and larger communities.Packed with useful tips, clear illustrations, and a wealth of experience, it guides you through designs for gardens, urban and rural properties, water harvesting systems, animal systems, permaculture in small spaces like balconies and patios, farms, schools, and ecovillages. This is both a do-ityourself guide for the enthusiast and a useful reference for permaculture designers. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_basics_of_permaculture_design:paperback

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, Second EditionThe principle for permaculture is simple: provide back to the earth what we take from it to create a sustainable environment. The three principle aims are: Care for people; Care for the earth; and Redistributing everything surplus to one’s needs. Included in this new edition are chapters on seed-saving, permaculture at work, integrated pest management, information about domestic as well as rural water usage, a non-destructive approach towards dealing with weeks and wildlife, and designing to withstand a disaster. Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture is suitable for beginners as well as experienced permaculture practitioners looking for new ideas in moving towards greater self-reliance and sustainable living. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/earth_users_guide_to_permaculture_second_edition:paperback
Getting Started in Permaculture Permaculture experts Ross and Jenny Mars outline the steps to transform your garden into a productive living system. Modeled upon the development of Candlelight Farm, and illustrated with photographs, this guide encourages the reader to make positive steps towards reconciling human impact with nature – following the permaculture ideal. Permaculture is based on the ethics of caring for people and our planet. It is about growing your own healthy food, being resourceful and environmentally responsible. Permaculture concepts and ideas can be applied successfully from small suburban units to large farming properties. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/getting_started_in_permaculture:paperback

The Permaculture Garden Working entirely in harmony with nature, The Permaculture Garden shows you how to turn a bare plot into a beautiful and productive garden. Learn how to plan your garden for easy access and minimum labor; save time and effort digging and weeding; recycle materials to save money; plan crop successions for year-round harvests; save energy and harvest water; and garden without chemicals by building up your soil and planting in beneficial communities. Full of practical ideas, this perennial classic, first published in 1995, is guaranteed to inspire, inform, and entertain.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_permaculture_garden:paperback

 

Permaculture in a Nutshell This inspiring book is a concise and accessible introduction to the principles and practice of permaculture in temperate climates. It explains how permaculture works in the city and the countryside, including on farms, and also explores ways people can work in cooperation to recreate real communities. Permaculture in a Nutshell is the ideal introduction to this complex subject—essential reading for those wishing to understand how a new way of perceiving horticulture can transform our relations other humans and with the Earth.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_in_a_nutshell:paperback
Permaculture in Practice This DVD, whose aim is to inspire people to start their own permaculture projects, shows how permaculture is practiced in four very different settings: a Hampshire back garden belonging to the editors of Permaculture Magazine, including fruit trees, vegetables, bees, chickens, and ducks; a City Challenge project in Bradford close to a housing estate with 10,000 residents, tackling the problems of unemployment, environmental awareness, and backyard food growing; a community co-op in Devon, which involves a café, allotments, and local composting scheme; and a small farm in the Forest of Dean where innovative marketing schemes ensure a close link between producer and consumer, including meat production, a vegetable box scheme, and locally produced charcoal.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_in_practice:dvd

Permaculture PlantsThis is an easy-to-use guide to selecting hundreds of perennial species. It is indispensable for growers and designers working in subtropical and warm temperate/arid climates, and also includes some cool-climate tolerant species. Permaculture Plants: A Selection details hundreds of common and unusual edible, medicinal, and useful plants. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_plants:paperback

 

The Permaculture Way The Permaculture Way shows us how to consciously design a lifestyle which is low in environmental impact and highly productive. It demonstrates how to meet our needs, make the most of resources by minimizing waste and maximizing potential, and still leave the Earth richer than we found it. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_permaculture_way:paperback

 

The Earth Care Manual The long-awaited exploration of permaculture specifically for cooler Northern Hemisphere climates is finally here! Already regarded as the definitive book on the subject, The Earth Care Manual is accessible to the curious novice as much as it is essential for the knowledgeable practitioner.Permaculture started out in the 1970s as a sustainable alternative to modern agriculture, taking its inspiration from natural ecosystems. It has always placed an emphasis on gardening, but since then it has expanded to include many other aspects, from community design to energy use. It can be seen as an overall framework that puts a diversity of green ideas into perspective. Its aims are low work, high output, and genuine sustainability. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_earth_care_manual:hardcover

The Woodland Way Ben Law is an experienced and innovative woodsman with a deep commitment to practical sustainability. Here he presents a radical alternative to conventional woodland management that creates biodiverse, healthy environments, yields a great variety of value-added products, provides a secure livelihood for woodland workers and farmers, and benefits the local community.This brilliant book covers every aspect of woodland stewardship from both a practical and philosophical standpoint. Ben Law writes from the heart after long years of struggle with a whole host of naysayers who tried to convince him by fair means and foul to give up his vision for a renaissance in the countryside. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_woodland_way:paperback
A Forest Garden Year A Forest Garden Year offers tips on how to graft an apple tree from which you can crop a variety of apples over several months; how to grow shiitake mushrooms and perennial leeks; how to pollard and prune; protect crops from wind; attract beneficial insects; and increase beneficial minerals in the soil—all while creating a haven for yourself and for wildlife. This 49-minute DVD shows how you can apply the principles of forest gardening to spaces big and small. Martin takes viewers through the seasons in his Devon, England, forest garden and shows them how to plan their planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/a_forest_garden_year:dvd
Creating a Forest Garden and A Forest Garden Year: Book & DVD SetCreating a Forest Garden tells you everything you need to know – whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot. It includes advice on planning, design (using permaculture principles), planting and maintenance, and a comprehensive directory of over 450 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, annuals, root crops and climbers – almost all of them edible and many very unusual. The accompanying 49-minute DVD, A Forest Garden Year, shows how you can apply the principles of forest gardening to spaces big and small. Martin takes viewers through the seasons in his Devon, England, forest garden and shows them how to plan your planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/creating_a_forest_garden_and_a_forest_garden_year_book_dvd_set:book%20&%20dvd%20set

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally First published in 1986, this classic is back in print by popular demand. It is the authoritative text on edible landscaping, featuring a step-by-step guide to designing a productive environment using vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs for a combination of ornamental and culinary purposes.It includes descriptions of plants for all temperate habitats, methods for improving soil, tree pruning styles, and gourmet recipes using low-maintenance plants. There are sections on attracting beneficial insects with companion plants and using planting to shelter your home from erosion, heat, wind, and cold.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/designing_and_maintaining_your_edible_landscape_naturally:paperback

Forest Gardening Forest Gardening is a way of working alongside nature–an approach that results in great productivity with minimal maintenance, and a method for transforming even a small cottage garden into a diverse and inviting habitat for songbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Based on the model of a natural woodland, a forest garden incorporates a wide variety of useful plants, including fruit and nut trees, perennial herbs, and vegetables.Hart’s book beautifully describes his decades of experience gardening in the Shropshire countryside, yet the principles of “backyard permaculture” he explores can be applied equally well in other locales across the planet, from tropical to temperate zones. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/forest_gardening:paperback

Future Scenarios In Future Scenarios, permaculture co-originator and leading sustainability innovator David Holmgren outlines four scenarios that bring to life the likely cultural, political, agricultural, and economic implications of peak oil and climate change, and the generations-long era of “energy descent” that faces us.Future Scenarios depicts four very different futures. Each is a permutation of mild or destructive climate change, combined with either slow or severe energy declines. Probable futures, explains Holmgren, range from the relatively benign Green Tech scenario to the near catastrophic Lifeboats scenario.Future Scenarios provides brilliant and balanced consideration of the world’s options and will prove to be one of the most important books of the year.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/future_scenarios:paperback

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/gaviotas:paperback%20-%20revised%20edition

How to Make A Forest Garden A forest garden is a food-producing garden, based on the model of a natural woodland or forest. It is made up of fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes, perennial vegetables and herbs. It can be tailored to fit any space, from a tiny urban back yard to a large rural garden.It is also a low-maintenance way of gardening. Once established there is none of the digging, sowing, planting out and hoeing of the conventional kitchen garden. The main task is picking up the produce!This highly practical, yet inspiring book gives you everything you need to know in order to create a beautiful and productive forest garden.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/how_to_make_a_forest_garden:paperback
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond: Volume 1 The first volume of three-volume guide on how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This book enables you to assess your on-site resources, gives you a diverse array of strategies to maximize their potential, and empowers you with guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional water-harvesting plan specific to your site and needs.Volume 1 helps bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow you with skills of self-reliance, and create living air conditioners of vegetation growing beauty, food, and wildlife habitat. Stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will invite you to do the same!http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/rainwater_harvesting_for_drylands_and_beyond_vol_1:paperback
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond: Volume 2 Earthworks are one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways of passively harvesting and conserving multiple sources of water in the soil. Associated vegetation then pumps the harvested water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, and passive heating and cooling strategies, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, and improving water and air quality.Building on the information presented in Volume 1, this book shows you how to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen water-harvesting earthworks. It presents detailed how-to information and variations of a diverse array of earthworks, including chapters on mulch, vegetation, and greywater recycling so you can customize the techniques to the unique requirements of your site. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/rainwater_harvesting_for_drylands_and_beyond_vol_2/
The Uses of Wild Plants A must-have for foragers, botanists, herbalists, gardeners, permaculturists, and anyone who wants to learn more about wild plants, this insightful guide provides interesting and valuable uses for more than 1200 species in 500 genera of wild plants found throughout North America and beyond.The Uses of Wild Plants provides a survey of how plants have been used for food, drink, medicine, fuel, clothing, intoxicants, and more throughout history. Each listing includes a detailed description and drawing to aid in identifying these valuable plants in your garden and in the wild. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_uses_of_wild_plants:paperback

DON’T MISS OUT – HOLIDAY SALE!

Monday, December 13th, 2010

The year is quickly counting down and time is running short to find those perfect gifts for friends and family. We have you covered for whoever is on your list and with our holiday sale you’ll save 35% on your entire order.

Use the coupon code CGFL11 at checkout to get 35% off your entire order from now until the end of the year. Take a look below at some suggestions we have for friends and family, and a selection of some of our most popular titles to get started, or browse our online bookstore.

Happy Holidays from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing.
P.S. Don’t forget, we offer free shipping on orders over $100.

THE COOK

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

Wild Fermentation Book Cover

Bread. Cheese. Wine. Beer. Coffee. Chocolate. Most people consume fermented foods and drinks every day. For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed the distinctive flavors and nutrition resulting from the transformative power of microscopic bacteria and fungi. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods is the first cookbook to widely explore the culinary magic of fermentation.


The flavors of fermentation are compelling and complex, quite literally alive. This book takes readers on a whirlwind trip through the wide world of fermentation, providing readers with basic and delicious recipes–some familiar, others exotic–that are easy to make at home.

 

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/tem/wild_fermentation:paperback

 

Cooking Close To Home: A Year of Seasonal Recipes

Cooking Close to Home Cover Image

 

Cooking Close to Home: A Year of Seasonal Recipes is a collection of over 150 original recipes designed to follow the seasons.


Whether you are a home gardener, a farmers’ market regular, or a member of a community-supported agriculture program, this cookbook will serve as a guide to using the foods available in your region year-round.


Each recipe includes useful “Harvest Hints” that explain how to find, purchase, prepare, and preserve fresh and seasonal ingredients. Within each chapter you will find information about sustainable food, small family farms, and how to reduce your carbon footprint by buying local foods.

 

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/cooking_close_to_home:hardcover

 

 

THE GARDENER

 

The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses

 

The Winter Harvest Handbook Cover

Choosing locally grown organic food is a sustainable living trend that’s taken hold throughout North America. Celebrated farming expert Eliot Coleman continues to lead the way, pushing the limits of the harvest season while working his world-renowned organic farm in Harborside, Maine.

Gardeners and farmers can use the innovative, highly successful methods Coleman describes in this comprehensive handbook to raise crops throughout the coldest of winters.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_winter_harvest_handbook:paperback

 

Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons

 

Thanks to the resurgence of home and community gardening, more and more people are discovering the pleasure of biting into a sun-ripened tomato picked right off the vine, the earthy smell of freshly turned soil, and the cheerful harbingers of spring such as daffodils, irises, and pansies. But they are also discovering that gardening can be a heck of a lot of work. So what happens when keeping up with the weeds turns into a full-time job? What do you do when gardening becomes stressful?

 

Slow Gardening to the rescue! Inspired by Slow Food, an international movement that promotes local food systems and biological and cultural diversity, the slow-gardening approach can help us appreciate and enjoy our gardens more, year in and year out.

 

Slow Gardening will inspire you to slip into the rhythm of the seasons, take it easy, and get more enjoyment out of your garden, all at the same time.

 

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/slow_gardening:paperback

 

THE ACTIVIST

 

Dream of a Nation: Inspiring Ideas for a Better America

Dream of a Nation Cover

Across the nation countless individuals and organizations are dreaming a new future. Dream of a Nation sheds lights on some of the groundbreaking leaders, projects and ideas that have the potential to solve society’s toughest problems. Dream of a Nation restores faith that humanity can solve our current looming environmental, economic and societal challenges. This is a comprehensive resource for any reader interested in gaining critical information and deepening their role as an empowered citizen.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/dream_of_a_nation:paperback%20with%20french%20flaps

 

THE SURVIVOR

 

 

When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival

When Disaster Strikes Cover

 

Disasters often strike without warning and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Yet armed with the right tools and information, survivors can fend for themselves and get through even the toughest circumstances. Matthew Stein’s When Disaster Strikes provides a thorough, practical guide for how to prepare for and react in many of life’s most unpredictable scenarios.

 

Stein instructs you on the smartest responses to natural disasters—such as fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods—how to keep warm during winter storms, even how to protect yourself from attack or other dangerous situations. With this comprehensive guide in hand, you can be sure to respond quickly, correctly, and confidently when a crisis threatens.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/when_disaster_strikes:paperback

 

The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times

When Disaster Strikes Cover

 

In 2008, the best-selling The Transition Handbook suggested a model for a community-led response to peak oil and climate change. Since then, the Transition idea has gone viral across the globe, from Italian villages and Brazilian favelas to universities and London neighborhoods. In contrast to the ever-worsening stream of information about climate change, the economy, and resource depletion, Transition focuses on solutions, on community-scale responses, on meeting new people, and on having fun.

 

The Transition Companion picks up the story today, drawing on the experience of one of the most fascinating experiments under way in the world. It tells inspiring tales of communities working for a future where local economies are valued and nurtured; where lower energy use is seen as a benefit; and where enterprise, creativity, and the building of resilience have become cornerstones of a new economy.

 

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_transition_companion:paperback

 

THE EXECUTIVE

 

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Thinking in Systems Cover

 

Thinking in Systems is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. This essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.

While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to keep learning.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/thinking_in_systems:paperback


THE SCRABBLE LOVER

 

Logodaedaly, or Sleight-of-Words

Logodaedaly Image Cover

 

What is a “balanoid”? Who carries an “ombrifuge” into a storm? How is a “filipendulous” city destroyed? These and other fabulous questions are found in Logodædaly, or, Sleight-of-Words: a dictionary of the imagination.

 

Young author Erzsébet Gilbert has delved into the history of the English language to unearth a host of forgotten, quirky, obsolete and utterly bizarre words, and created a phrasebook like no other. It is a dictionary whose entries are not merely words, but the fantastical stories and wild musings behind them. Through Logodædaly one might not learn an everyday vocabulary, but beyond A and Z the reader finds that the meaning of a word is always much more than it seems.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/logodaedaly_or_sleightofwords:hardcover


Before the WI Raw Milk Train Leaves the Station, Let’s Not Forget About Protecting Protesters Like Scott Trautman

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

By David E. Gumpert

From his blog, The Complete Patient

I think it’s a good thing that there’s so much back-and-forth about the specifics of the Wisconsin raw milk legislation currently under consideration in the state senate. The prospect of legalizing raw milk in the nation’s second-largest dairy state would probably not have gotten anywhere near this much consideration a couple years ago, so much has changed in a brief amount of time.

Photo: Wisconsin dairy farmer Scott Trautman addresses protesters outside a courthouse in Viroqua in December–an image that apparently doesn’t sit well with DATCP.

Yesterday saw the politicians engaged in all kinds of horse trading—pulling out the liability exemption, making the legislation temporary, requiring farmers to keep the names of their customers. Steve Bemis of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund went back-and-forth with Bill Marler, the food poisoning lawyer who has a big following among regulators, to possibly eliminate some troubling language limiting milk consumption to those who purchase the milk.

But something else was going on yesterday in connection with the raw milk legislation: retribution.

Two inspectors from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, Consumer Protection visited the dairy owned by Scott Trautman. You may remember him.  He became an activist in the movement to legalize raw dairy sales after he came under attack by DATCP for selling raw milk, helping organize the protest on behalf of Max Kane in Viroqua in December, and then briefly chaining himself to the fence around the governor’s mansion on Christmas Eve.

DATCP inspectors had given Trautman’s dairy passing grades four times before last fall, as a Grade A dairy. (He lost his license last fall after he was dropped by a dairy processor. Under Wisconsin dairy rules, you lose your Grade A license if you fail to sell milk for 60 days.) Now Trautman wants to be part of the proposed new law (as well as sell cheese) that was the focus of all the horse trading yesterday, which could well be enacted and would allow Grade A dairies to sell raw milk. But yesterday, there were suddenly a number of things the inspectors didn’t like about his dairy.

The big problem was that they didn’t approve of his wooden milking parlor, and want him to build a new one. “Anybody sitting on ten thousand dollars to waste on closing in our beautiful parlor and making it ‘safe’ and ‘unpleasant’?” he asks.

“Isn’t it interesting,” he observed to me. “I have perfect inspections in a facility signed off on by DATCP. Then I am sounding off about raw milk and suddenly I don’t pass. Amazing.”

DATCP is highly conflicted about the proposed legislation. I spoke with DATCP’s spokesperson, Donna Gilson, Thursday morning to inquire about the agency’s position on the pending raw milk legislation. “We still don’t believe there’s a way to produce raw milk safely,” she began. Hmmm, not real positive. What about the pending legislation? “This makes it slightly less risky,” she said. DATCP likes the elimination of the liability exemption, and the  requirements for testing and signage. It also approves of the collection of names of purchasers. “When there is an outbreak—you notice I don’t say if there is an outbreak—this is the most efficient means for notification of people.” I guess you could say DATCP will be a reluctant supporter at best of the new legislation.

But one thing DATCP has no hesitation about is payback. Once the legislation passes, it’s going to be payback time for those farmers who pushed things to this point where the agency has to regulate raw milk rather than just stamp it out. DATCP just seems to have gotten going a little early with Scott Trautman.

As long as there’s all this horse trading going on, here’s my suggestion for an addition to the legislation: an amnesty clause. This is what typically happens when wars between countries end—everyone releases their prisoners and starts over again.

But sometimes, following a war, when the original rulers remain in place over an alienated population, there is a blood letting. The rulers tell the ruled via force: yes, you may have won the latest round in the war, but we’re still in charge. And we want you to remember who is in charge.

DATCP has shown itself to be nearly obsessive when it comes to making life difficult for certain raw milk activists. Witness Max Kane. According to one media report, he appeared briefly at a Viroqua courthouse today for what was supposed to be another effort by DATCP attorneys to question him about the names of his buying group participants. He left a copy of a motion to cancel the session because he has appealed a previous order that he testify, and quickly left the courthouse. 

I’d suggest that the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund make sure that, as part of any legislation to legalize raw milk, that those farmers brave enough to challenge DATCP aren’t setupon by the agency in retaliation. Even prisoners of war get protection under the Geneva Convention.

***

In New York, raw milk protesters Barb and Steve Smith of Meadowbrook Dairy are awaiting the wrath of the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets, in the wake of the agency’s court victory invalidating Meadowsweet’s limited liability company to distribute raw milk. In the meantime, the couple has some words of warning for Wisconsin dairy farmers:

“As we have gone through the last 3 years of trouble with Ag and Markets we have seen very clearly that their compulsive desire to control all the milk in the state means they will never allow the raw milk farmers to survive if they can help it. Their real agenda is to eliminate the existence of raw milk farming completely. We were told this years ago by our inspector at the time but didn’t really believe him. Now we know he was right. As long as you have a permit you are voluntarily placing the noose around your own neck. You are agreeing that the department has the authority to come on your farm anytime, to control your farm and farm operations, to find violations, to fine you, and even to shut you down if they want. Raw milk farmers around New York who do have permits are in an almost constant struggle with the state as they are threatened with being shut down for test result violations that later prove to be in compliance afterall. And most importantly, if you do have a problem with the way they treat you, there is absolutely NO recourse! Their word is law, period. If you do not have a permit you are technically NOT under their jurisdiction, though they will try to say otherwise. And finally, if you have a permit you can ONLY sell milk on your farm and ONLY milk, no butter, yogurt or kefir.”

Something to think about.

Former Guantánamo Guard Tells All

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I have seen and done many horrible things, either at Guantánamo or in Iraq, and I know what it is like to try and move on with your life. It’s hard.

—Spc. Brandon Neely, from the UC Davis Guantánamo testimonials project

Harper’s Magazine‘s Scott Horton takes a look at the prisoner abuse perpetrated at Guantánamo, as described by Private Brandon Neely, a guard with firsthand knowledge of what took place there. It’s as bad as you think.

Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading.

Neely’s comprehensive account runs to roughly 15,000 words. It was compiled by law students at the University of California at Davis and can be accessed here. Three things struck me in reading through the account.

First, Neely and other guards had been trained to the U.S. military’s traditional application of the Geneva Convention rules. They were put under great pressure to get rough with the prisoners and to violate the standards they learned. This placed the prison guards under unjustifiable mental stress and anxiety, and, as any person familiar with the vast psychological literature in the area (think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, for instance) would have anticipated produced abuses. Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely’s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners—and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison.

Read the whole article here.

Surviving Tough Times in ’09: Twelve Books That Will Help

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Let’s face it: 2008 was an exhausting roller-coaster. The highs were high (Obama!), and the many lows kept dropping lower (war, unemployment, stock market crash, pollution, corruption, etc., etc.). Spending 12 months clinging white-knuckled to life’s proverbial panic-handles takes a lot out of a person. Over the past year, I’ve developed a rather severe caffeine addiction, a nervous tic in my left eye, and a monstrous skepticism of placing my well-being and financial future into anyone else’s hands. I said goodbye to ’08 worn out and weary.

But 2009 is a new year. We emerge from the experiences of 2008 a wiser, more mature nation. Yes, there will be tough times ahead, but 2008 has taught us that the old ways of conducting ourselves lead only to corruption, insecurity, and obesity. We can recreate this world. We can create healthier, independent, sustainable lives if we find (or create) alternatives to the corporate status quo. I’ve compiled a list of twelve books that I’ll be using in 2009 to help me emerge from the coming year happier, healthier, and more independently sustainable—financially, environmentally, and emotionally.

This is my list of Top Twelve Books for Surviving Tough Times in ’09. Enjoy!

Food Security
Food prices shot up in 2008 to record levels. Everyone around the globe felt the impact—spurring a few wealthy nations to begin privatizing farmland. America’s food mass-production methods are unhealthy (chemicals, obesity, food miles, etc.) and rely heavily on fossil fuels. In the face of Peak Oil, prices will only go up. The following books will help you secure your food sources in 2009 by providing methods for local and home-based food production.

Four Season HarvestFour Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables From Your Garden All Year Long
by Eliot Coleman

This story of sunshine, weather patterns, old limitations and expectations, and new realities is delightfully innovative in the best gardening tradition. The Four-Season Harvest manual will have you feasting on fresh produce from your garden all through the winter.

Fresh Food from Small SpacesFresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting
by R.J. Ruppenthal

Readers will learn how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their outside nooks and crannies into whatever they can imagine, including sustainable nurseries for honeybees and chickens. Free space for the city gardener might be no more than a cramped patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill, hanging rafter, dark cabinet, garage, or storage area, but no space is too small or too dark to raise food.

Food Not LawnsFood Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community
by H.C. Flores

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own “paradise gardens.”

Sharing the HarvestSharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture
by Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En

Explore (or create) local food options for yourself. In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of a Chelsea Green classic, authors Henderson and Van En provide new insight into making community supported agriculture not only a viable economic model, but the right choice for food lovers and farmers alike.

Preserving FoodPreserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation
by Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivant

Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern kitchen gardeners will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

Financial Security

If we learned anything in 2008, it’s that we cannot trust our money to the greedy meat-heads running Wall Street these days. Also, the heads of corporate America rightly earned a special reputation last year for being immoral, babied, and incompetent thieves. Millions of people lost their savings in ’08—either through the stock market evaporation or through pension theft. Whatever the reason, 2009 shows new promise and holds new potential for financial security if we reclaim ownership of our money and work lives. The following books will help you enter 2010 happier and more financially stable.

Finding the Sweet SpotFinding the Sweet Spot: The Natural Entrepreneur’s Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work
by Dave Pollard

Finding the Sweet Spot explains how sustainable, responsible, and joyful natural enterprises differ from most jobs, and it provides the framework for building your own natural enterprise. You’ll learn how to find partners who will help make your venture successful, how to do world-class market research, how to innovate, how to build resilience into your enterprise, and how to avoid the land mines that sink so many small businesses. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to find the “sweet spot” where your gifts, your passions, and your purpose intersect.

Slow MoneyInquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered
by Woody Tasch

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money investigates an essential new strategy for investing in local food systems, and introduces a group of fiduciary activists who are exploring what should come after industrial finance and industrial agriculture. Theirs is a vision for investing that puts soil fertility into return-on-investment calculations.

Mortgage Free!Mortgage-Free!: Innovative Strategies for Debt-free Home Ownership
by Rob Roy

As a wave of foreclosures sweeps the country, many people are giving up hope for owning a home of their own. They have good reason to turn their backs on the banks, but not on their dreams. In this revised edition of Mortgage Free!, Rob Roy offers a series of escape routes from enslavement to financial institutions, underscored by true stories of intrepid homeowners who have put their principles into action.

Low-Impact Living

The environment took a beating in 2008 as well. Climate change is accelerating, bringing on larger storms with more frequency. Corporate carbon emissions show no sign of slowing. I hate to say this, because I believe we can change the course of climate change, but we need to be prepared for the worst while we begin our transition to a sustainable world. The following books will help you prepare yourself and your family for the changes ahead, and reinvent your lifestyles and living environments to be less energy-intensive and less expensive.

When Technology FailsWhen Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency
by Matthew Stein

When Technology Fails provides something for everyone, from parents who want to help their families when a disaster strikes, to the go-it-alone survivalist, to the eco-minded person who wishes to tread more lightly on the earth—whatever the future may hold.

The Transition HandbookThe Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience
by Rob Hopkins

The Transition Handbook shows how the inevitable and profound changes ahead can have a positive outcome. These changes can lead to the rebirth of local communities that will grow more of their own food, generate their own power, and build their own houses using local materials. They can also encourage the development of local currencies to keep money in the local area.

The Carbon-Free HomeThe Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit
by Stephen and Rebekah Hren

The Carbon-Free Home gives you the hands-on knowledge necessary to kick the fossil-fuel habit, with projects small and large listed by skill, time, cost, and energy saved. For every aspect of your life currently powered by fossil fuels, The Carbon-Free Home offers alternatives you can accomplish yourself to get started using renewable and sustainable sources of power.

Rainwater HarvestingRainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape
by Brad Lancaster

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 1 helps bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow you with skills of self-reliance, and create living air conditioners of vegetation growing beauty, food, and wildlife habitat.

President Barack Obama: New Energy for America

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The task of putting this election into historical context is too great for me to attempt. I will leave that charge to more knowledgeable, more serious men. Instead, I humbly offer the following—my own journey to hope.

Since Senator Obama announced his candidacy on the steps of the Illinois State Capital on February 10th, 2007, I’ve had hope. Hope that helped me pick up the phone to call strangers. Hope that helped me place signs on crowded streets. Hope that helped me talk to loved ones about previously-not-discussed and potentially-destabilizing subjects. Hope steadied my gaze on the future. Hope hardened my heart for the long struggle ahead. Hope prepared me for everything…except this. Let me explain.

During the 2000 election I was a mostly well-meaning (but mostly dumb) 22-year-old college kid in Boston living off my parents and writing goofy stories for easy grades. Politics didn’t concern me. Instead of forming an actual opinion on matters, I defaulted to the seductive and cynical attitude that campaigning/canvassing/calling/voting didn’t matter because “…all politicians are the same anyway, man.” I used this attitude to justify my decision to skip the 2-hour bus ride home to vote in our small town school gym.

At the time I considered George W. Bush to be just another Washington-insider posing as a Washington-outsider. I thought he was both harmless and useless. Gore didn’t inspire me either (that came later). I thought he was a policy-wonk taking the traditional route to the White House while trying to skirt the issue of Bill’s infidelities. I didn’t vote.

I came to political consciousness during Governor Howard Dean’s primary campaign in 2004.  His words sounded an awful lot like…honesty. And, boy, did his skepticism of the Iraq War sure match my own. Watching Dean’s people-powered campaign inspired me enough to place a Dean for America sticker on my rusted ’93 pickup and drive it into my Republican father’s driveway. It was my first act of political assertion. And it felt good. I was beginning to fight for the world as I thought it should be. …Until, of course, the weenies in the main stream media declared Dean’s chances over after his “scream.” I again cloaked myself in cynical bitterness, because “…the media chooses the President anyway, man.”

Then came the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I wanted oh-so-much to like Kerry. And for ten minutes after his first debate with President Bush, I did. But his hunting, windsurfing, everyman act wore thin. It was just more of the same. I wanted a leader. Not a millionaire playing dress-up for votes.

Out strolled a freshman Senator from Illinois. He spoke with passion. And humility. And refreshing honesty. In one breath he called himself “a skinny kid with a funny name” and raised the level of debate in this country to foundational themes long ignored for fifty years. He spoke above the political talking points at the level of the people. When he started singing the pre-scripted praises of John Kerry, he was asking people to look at a candle off-stage instead of the bonfire in front of them. Obama was the burning energy a tired America needed. Kerry who?

From the first day of this campaign, I have watched Senator Obama conduct himself unlike his predecessors. He promised a citizen-centered, grassroots campaign. He, accordingly, rewrote the rules of running for office to favor the people over the powerful. He turned down money from lobbyists and special interest groups. He gave lengthy speeches and avoided the soundbites. He stuck to the issues—never throwing a punch just because it was easy or played well in the media. He raised more money than any candidate in history…in $25 chunks. He called on Americans to believe, once again, in the power and foundations of democracy. He told us this crazy contraption could fly and today—my fellow Americans—we soar.

Winning, I never expected. From all of Obama’s speeches, I took to heart the immensity of the challenges and the grueling nature of the struggle ahead. When thinking ahead to today, I considered only the continued path we must march to fight the corporate neocon goons’ attempts to block an Obama Administration. Or the racists. Or the Supreme Court. Or the Martians. A landslide and a subsequent McCain concession never entered my head as a possibility. Last night, while watching Obama win, I felt the sudden quaking vulnerability of an unshielded heart. I cried from exhaustion.

America has her leader. All Americans.

Today, we move forward, reborn with strength in our hands and steadiness underfoot. We may not be able to accomplish all that we hope in the next four years, but we—the people—will proceed confident in the knowledge that change is possible. My generation now knows the size and shape of a movement. We now know how to mobilize and connect and drive our will down the throat of Washington. The old guard is being retired. Hope is the fuel that powers democracy. And Barack Obama has refueled a generation of Americans.

Video: The U.S. Army Prepares to Invade U.S.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

When I first learned about Naomi Wolf’s book, The End of America—in which she chronicles America’s slide toward becoming a police state, I considered it a well-played game of “what if…?” I regarded it much in the same way that I regarded Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us—as a mental exercise exploring alternate realities, which serves to make us more appreciative and better stewards of our own reality.

Sadly, I was mistaken.

The ten steps to fascism that Wolf laid out in The End of America have occurred—all ten—like clockwork. Steps nine and ten occurred recently with the mass arrests of citizens and journalists at the RNC, and October 1st’s U.S. military missions against U.S. citizens made possible by the suspension of Posse Comitatus in 2006. (Yes, reinstated later, but a signing statement made by Bush on the law frees him from obeying it.)

This is not an exercise in alternate realities. This is happening in America. With all that we know of human nature, the lessons from history, and the inevitably corrupting effect of power on the human brain, there should be no doubt left in our minds that if all the chess pieces are aligned, it is only a matter of time until checkmate.

So why do we do nothing? As Naomi Wolf points out in this early lecture she gave explaining why she wrote The End of America, many WWII-era German immigrants in this country are able to recall the pre-WWII German population’s inaction through disbelief. “This happened in Germany, and we did nothing,” Wolf recalls hearing repeatedly.

Much in the same way, I grew up thinking “They won’t suspend habeus corpus, this is America.” And, “They won’t tamper with the voting system, this is America.” And, “They won’t tap our phone lines, this is America.” And, “They won’t use the military against us, this is America.” But they’ve all happened. And yet, my kneejerk reaction—even after all these crimes against my freedom and voice as a citizen—is still, “They won’t declare martial law, this is America.”

Why!? And why is this true for so many fellow Americans? And what’s more, why is mentioning these crimes met with scorn and contempt—as though I’m just stirring up trouble.

I’m not crazy. I’m just reading the news! Upon first glance the administration has plenty of excuses it could use to declare martial law: the plummeting economy, a potentially botched election, racists rioting at Palin rallies, domestic terrorists (real or make-believe), even simply not getting its petulant way (as with the bailout, as the video will point out).

It seems that the folks over at CorbettReport are reading the news as well. They’ve put together this timely video explaining that the threat of martial law is real, and likely.

So, my fellow Americans, I ask you: What do we do to save our democracy…and our own skin?

John “Not-So-Maverick” McCain Sides with Big Oil

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Thomas Friedman has an op-ed article in The New York Times today laying out the evidence that John McCain has fully leapt onto the Big Oil Bandwagon. As if “Drill Here, Drill Now” wasn’t enough evidence that John McCain is a budding oil man with no intention of pursuing any of the readily-available clean sources of energy, Friedman makes the following points:

  1. McCain “deliberately avoided voting on all eight attempts to pass a bill extending the vital tax credits and production subsidies to expand our wind and solar industries…”
  2. McCain’s “support for lowering the gasoline tax in a reckless giveaway that would only promote more gasoline consumption and intensify our addiction to oil…”
  3. McCain’s “desire to make more oil-drilling, not innovation around renewable energy, the centerpiece of his energy policy…”
  4. And finally, selecting “Sarah Palin — the Alaska governor who has advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and does not believe mankind is playing any role in climate change — for vice president…”

I would also add that McCain and Palin are now the only people fighting for an open-ended military occupation of Iraq and its oil fields. (Side rant: Palin made the argument yesterday that “victory in Iraq is at hand.” How the $*#&$@ would she know?!)

Oil is killing our environment and crippling our economy. But then again, Maverick and Moose believe that “our economy is fundamentally strong” and that “the jury is still out on global warming.” So why not lie down for the most profitable and politically influential corporations in the history of human civilization? Corruption is soooo comfortable.

Gore’s Goal: What You and I Can Do

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

In case you missed it, Al Gore gave a speech today [video here] in which he challenged America to transition entirely off carbon-based fuels for 100% of the nation’s electricity generation within the next 10 years. Certainly, it is a bold challenge from a bold leader. It is a challenge worthy of this country and one which I think its citizens are ready — if not eager — to take on.

But good gravy! One-hundred percent renewable electricity in 10 years? Wha? Who? Can I help? Where do I begin? I have bills to pay! Student loans to worry about! I can’t take on the government! The elected officials across all branches of our federal government have shown that they are either so totally tied to the oil industry that they’ll never budge, or they’re too politically-minded to take any bold action lest they upset 2% of their voting bloc. Depending on the feds hasn’t been a reliable tactic for some time.

Nor will it be. I’m sorry to say it, but even if the next President has an aggressive, forward-thinking energy policy, it will meet roadblocks at every turn. Entrenched interests and stubborn politicians will continue to fight to squeeze maximum profit out of every last drop of oil until it’s gone. So…uh…yeah. That’s hard.

In order to achieve this monumental task, we Americans will have to think small — not globally, not nationally, not even statewide. This begins with your town. Your house. Your car. You. And me.

Gore’s challenge will not inspire un-inspirable politicians to act. Nor will it inspire businessmen to forgo millions of dollars of profit to uproot an energy industry. It can however, inspire each of us down here on the grassroots level to take responsibility for the energy we use in our own lives and local communities. Begin this fight by taking on the challenge of launching renewable energy initiatives in your town. Why not solar panels on the school gym? A wind tower on the hill? Geothermal heat pumps around the block? There’s so much money to be saved, energy to be cleaned up, and community spirit to be built.

The citizens of Boulder, Colorado and Sandpoint, Idaho, for example, have already declared their towns to be “transition towns.” Transition Town Movement founder Rob Hopkins, of Totnes, England, has written a guidebook for citizens aching to act. (Another great book that’s full of ways to get started is Greg Pahl’s The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook: Community Solutions to a Global Crisis.)

The days of merely changing light bulbs, inflating your car tires, and turning down the A/C are over. Gore has challenged us to take the next steps:

  • local action for local energy production,
  • electing leaders committed to this cause in every election (local and national),
  • and shedding our fear of taking the lead.

If ever there were a day to post a flier at the post office to organize a meeting of your community, this is it.

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post’s Green section.


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com