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I'm a self-confessed bookworm, so I've been hunting down some good reads that don't just satisfy my hunger for reading, but also help me to improve my life when it comes to being ethical and environmental.
Let me know in the comments below what your picks are for planet-positive reading!
What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
Terms such as "collaborative consumption" and "shared economy" are the kind of buzzwords and phrases we hear in the media, but I must admit I didn't really understand what they meant, nor appreciate the strong link that these ideas have to the environment.
What's Mine is Yours explains how and why we've ended up with so much STUFF: rubbish, clutter, food and electronics. It illustrates the way that marketing and advertising appeal to our emotions to convince us that we need more stuff, and the impact that this is having on our planet. Depressing? A little. However, the bulk of the book is dedicated to constructive solutions: how we can learn to live better with less and how we can develop communities within which sharing is the norm.
This book is a must-read for anyone who's used AirBnb to find accommodation, grown veggies at a community garden, hired a car, borrowed a book from a library or shopped at a co-op. It's all about how sharing is caring, not just for our wallets and peace of mind, but also for a planet in need of our cooperation.
As a vegetarian, it's easy to get bored of the same old meals: pasta, stir-fry, salad etc. etc. I've always loved India, Thai, Japanese and other cuisines from across Asia, so I was delighted when I stumbled across this book at my local library.
The recipes are organised by country, with everything from a plant-based version of Massaman Curry to an awesome recipe for homemade Chai spice. The procedures are clear and detailed, creating healthy, delicious and planet-strong dishes. Plus Hema is a beautiful writer, introducing each section with an enticing description of how she learned to cook the recipes in the following pages.
Another thing I love about this cookbook is that it doesn't rely on veggie substitutions for traditionally meat-based dishes. Instead, the dishes selected are predominantly meals that have traditionally been plant-based.
Try this: Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe
Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era by Giacomo D'Alisa, Federico Demaria and Giorgos Kallis
"Sustainable degrowth is a downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions."
This isn't exactly light reading, but it's a great tool for anyone that wants to learn more about the how and why behind low-carbon living. This book will provide you with new tools for thinking about your life by challenging the ways that we deal with ideas of consumerism and waste in our society.
The book is gorgeously illustrated with cute cartoons, which kept me amused:
I felt much more able to discuss ideas about the environment with family and friends after reading this book, especially as it puts into simple terms the huge ideas that we have to think about, such as how the economy can manage if we stop consuming fossil fuels.
The book is part of the larger Degrowth project (see the website here), the core idea of which is to "consume less and share more".
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Teach Yourself: Live Ethically by Peter MacBride
I like the idea that you don't need a degree in science or economics to bring about a big difference in your home and local community, which is exactly what this awesome little paperback does. This is a great guide for anyone who wants to learn more about ethical and environmental issues, and then do something about it!
Through concise explanations and helpful tips, this book will help guide you through the process of making people and planet-positive changes in your life, while at the same time educating you on the issues. You can read at your own pace, with some sections outlining how long it will take to read the information (there's even a 1-2 minute section if you've only got a moment to read).
The best thing about this book is that it's realistic. It doesn't try to bully you into making changes, nor does it expect that you have lots of time or money to help the planet. At the heart of this book is the message that everyone can do something today to make their world a better place.
READ THIS NEXT: What an afternoon with a monk can teach you about happiness
...OR THIS: 7 simple tips for minimalist living
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