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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Building Green Communities

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September 23, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Building Green Communities

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about building green communities.

The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life and Build Community (by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow, $25, Nolo, June 2009): Attorneys/bloggers Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow believe that sharing anything, from food to childcare, can create a better environment. Their easy-to-read book provides accessible legal advice about sharing property, questions to ask yourself when you are ready to share, conflict-resolution strategies, and instructions for drafting legal agreements for shared property.

Building Commons and Community (by Karl Linn, $30, New Village Press, Jan. 2008): The late Karl Linn, landscape architect and child psychologist, chronicles community projects he helped build, including greenways in Berkeley, Calif., and fun, child- and eco-friendly spaces in Philadelphia. The photo-essay format makes the content accessible, and the photos of beautiful gardens and common areas make this book an excellent resource for those looking to build community-shared green spaces.

Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community (by Nancy H. Taylor, $13, Gibb Smith, Mar. 2008): Nancy Taylor provides an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for how to make your home and community more environmentally friendly. She covers such topics as using less energy, building green homes, schools and hospitals, and the benefits of growing your own garden. Her book should serve to spark your inner green and help readers tap into creativity when building a greener community.

Change the World for Ten Bucks: Small Actions x Lots of People = Big Change (by We Are What We Do, $10, Chronicle, May 2009): London-based nonprofit We Are What We Do has compiled 50 actions that can lead to more sustainable communities. Tips include ways to conserve water and the benefits of recycling your old computer, plus fun actions like telling a joke and seizing the moment. This interactive book will not only make you laugh, but will also make you think about how the little things we do really can help the environment.

Living Green: Communities that Sustain (by Jennifer Fosket and Laura Mamo, $22, New Society Publishers, June 2009): This interesting book analyzes green communities thriving in North America and the people who built them. The authors provide case studies of a commune in Virginia, an ecovillage in L.A., and green active-adult communities among other examples. The book ends with a list of 10 lessons about social sustainability.

--Julie Littman

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