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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Asia-Inspired Environmentalism

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October 06, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: Asia-Inspired Environmentalism

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, we're recommending books about environmental lifestyles informed by Asian philosophy, religion, and tradition.

The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (by Mark Hathaway and Leonardo Boff, $35, Orbis Books, 2009) Inspired by the Tao Te Ching, the authors use ancient Chinese wisdom to help the reader escape an unsustainable lifestyle defined by global capitalism and reconnect with an "ecological self." This serious, well-researched tome should appeal to advanced seekers but may be a bit heavy for spiritual dabblers.

A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance (by Andy Couturier, $20, Stone Bridge Press, Jan. 2010) Couturier introduces this book with a bold statement: "I have always thought it was possible to live a great life." The 11 profiles that follow tell the stories of Japanese artists, farmers, and environmentalists whose unique lives embody the author's idea of sustainable abundance.

Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan (by Azby Brown, $25, Kodansha International, Feb. 2010) This slim text provides instructions, culled from the study of the past, for building a sustainable society. Delightful illustrations and fresh prose tell the story of the Japan's late Edo period (1603-1868), when the problems of water conservation, food production, and waste management were met with ingenious solutions.

Green Tea Living: A Japan-inspired Guide to Eco-friendly Habits, Health, and Happiness (by Tashimi A. Kayaki, $15, Stone Bridge Press, Jan. 2010) Centered around the Japanese tradition of drinking green tea for relaxation and health, Kayaki's upbeat book offers simple tips for a balanced, sustainable lifestyle. Recipes for eco-friendly cleaning and beauty products are included.

The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness (by Marc Ian Barasch, $17, Berrett-Koehler, 2009) Motivated by Buddhist teachings, Marc Barasch, founder of the Green World Campaign, sets out to discover the nature of compassion in this thoughtful book.

--Della Watson

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