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Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Green Leap

The Green Leap: A Primer for Conserving Biodiversity in Subdivision Development
Mark E. Hostetler
University of California Press
ISBN: 9780520271111
Reviewed by: Courtney Carrier


Mark E. Hostetler’s The Green Leap: A Primer for Conserving Biodiversity in Subdivision Development is a simplistic but educational piece of literature that provides the reader with a greater insight to the depths of sustainable development and design.  Hostetler begins by addressing the terminology needed to understand the premise of the book.  He illustrates these terms through formal definitions, as well as tables and diagrams to enhance the text. Emphasis is put on the dependence of residence, developers and policy makers because sustainability cannot be reached without the input of all three groups.  The book continues by explaining the importance of conserving natural biodiversity within built up urban environments.  Examples were given that this has a positive impact on human health and well being, as well as the well being of natural species to be able to continue to survive even if their habitats have been altered to some degree.  It is important to understand that sustainable design does not just encompass the physical structure of ones dwelling, or work place, but how it interacts with the rest of the environment and how the environment interacts with it.  Working with the biotic and abiotic systems within the environment, instead of against them, will increase the longevity of the developments.  


The Green Building Revolution

Jerry Yudelson: The Green Building Revolution
Foreword by S. Richard Fedrizzi
Publisher: Island Press (Oct. 30 2007)
ISBN-13: 978-1597261791
Review by Alice Chernoff

Short Summary

The integration of green design into products and building is something that is on the rise. With more individuals embracing the benefits and understanding the necessity of sustainable measures, Jerry Yudelson offers a summary of why we need to start building green. In “The Green Building Revolution”, organizations and systems are also touched upon; these allow us to measure how ‘green’ a building is perceived to be, as well as the methods that are being taken in order to reach the collective goal of sustainability. Covering what buildings looked like in the past, what they look like in the present, and what they could look like in the future.


Urban Green

Chambers, Neil B.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Date of publication: 2011
ISBN 978-0-230-10763-2
Reviewed by Alessandra Isola

Neil B. Chambers, who is an award-winning green designer and founder of Chambers Design, Inc and Green Ground Zero, wrote this book in 2011. Chambers’ vision is to interconnect areas such as cities, buildings, healthcare, natural habitats, infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystems by designing these areas in harmony with the natural world. In his book Urban Green, Chambers discusses current green design strategies and how they fail to solve our urban environment problems and he re-thinks the concept of green design. He also addresses the idea of  “how anyone can do their part to restore the natural world”, by incorporating this new vision in their daily lives and by making simple or more significant changes in their lifestyles. For example, Chambers mentions that by doing something as simple as letting your yard run wild you may contribute to restoring a valuable habitat for dozens of species. The book encourages the reader to be environmentally conscious, to think of new ways to integrate the natural world in urban environments and to have a lifestyle that is more interconnected to the natural world. 


Sustainable Architecture White Papers

Sustainable Architecture White Papers
Earth Pledge Series on Sustainable Development
Introduction by Executive Director Leslie Hoffman; Edited by David E. Brown, Mindy Fox, Mary Rickel Pelletier
2000 Earth Pledge
ISBN 978-0-9675099-1-4
Reviewed by Priscilla Lee 

Sustainable Architecture White Papers is the third volume in a series of white papers published by Earth Pledge, and covers a wide variety of different papers written by leaders of sustainable design in the world. These papers are grouped into six different sections on; practice, building community, public works, homes and schools, products and materials, and resources. Under these sections, many papers are compiled and can all relate back to overall thoughts behind sustainable design, ranging from theories to technological and architectural practices recommended. Each paper has a new take on smaller focuses in sustainable design, all concluding in a way that furthers the readers thoughts on sustainability. Some papers overlap in the technologies that they talk about and gives different but complementing opinions on uses and ideology. The idea that these are white papers (written text) that provide a forum for important social and political issues, a tradition from the 18th century England. Relatively, Sustainable Architectures White Papers are a collection of white papers on the most important issue in today’s world, sustainability.


No Impact Man

NO IMPACT MAN: The Adventures Of A Guilty Liberal Who Attempts To Save The Planet And The Discoveries He Makes About Himself And Our Way Of Life In The Process
By Colin Beavan
2009 Colin Beavan 
ISBN 978-0-7710-1075-0
Reviewed by Andrea Quick

No Impact Man is the personal account of a man, Colin Beavan, who made it his goal for one year, along with his wife, young daughter, and dog, to live a zero impact life in Manhattan.  Feeling dismayed and angered with the state of the environment and the threats of global warming, Colin was well aware that humankind needed to make some changes for the sake of the earth and its future, but as a history writer who did not practice an environmentally friendly life himself, who would listen to him?  If he wanted people to listen to him about leading a less impactful life, then he would have to practice what he preached and become the expert.  


The Guide to Greening Cities

The Guide to Greening Cities
Authors: Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, Steven S. Nicholas, and Julia Parzen
Publisher/ Publish Date: Island Press/ 2013
ISBN:  978-1-61091-379-9
Review by Kelsey Demeyer

This book is written by professionals who have worked in municipal governments as leaders of sustainable departments or programs and they are able to provide an inside look at greening cities. The book is set up in such a way that it almost becomes a step-by-step guidebook on greening cities. It is a great resource for city leaders or anyone really, who is interested in greening their city, neighbourhood, company or organization. Each chapter deals with a specific topic or step of the greening process. 



Locavore, From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens - How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat 
Author: Sarah Elton
2010 Harper Perennial Publication
Review by Melissa Ferrier

“When we live with our food, we become part of the cycle”. (228)

Locavore, written by Sarah Elton is a non-fictional publication that guides readers through their responsibilities within the food and ecological system. Elton’s journey starts with the investigation and questioning of her daughter's pink-frosted pig cookie. This cookie was no ordinary home-made delight but rather-made in China. Could this not have been made locally? How much energy was involved in not only manufacturing this cookie over seas but transporting it to Canada and then to a nearby supplier. Despite her knowledge of products being produced overseas due to demand and cost efficiencies. China being the largest contender, it dawned on her the food products are now lumped into this category. The question of Locally grown products and how much better they are for the environment, the consumers health and Canada’s Infrastructure lead Elton to explore different famers and Locavore’s to hear their story and how to contribute to this evolving movement.
“Today farming is a business. Farmers are referred to as “producers”; the foods they produce are “commodities.”” (45)


The End of Growth

Book Title: The End of Growth
Author: Jeff Rubin
Published by: Vintage Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited
Date published: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-36090-8 
Review By: Megan McKillop

 "One of Canada's Most respected economic thinkers"- David Suzuki 

 Jeff Rubin is an economic and resource analyst, an energy expert, and previously the Chief Economist and Chief Strategist at CIBC World Markets for over twenty years. He takes a multi-dimensional look at the world's current economy, mixing economic theory, his own life experiences, and references to historic events and facts to weave together a story that grabs our attention to critical issues occurring in our world today. In this book he addresses today's financial crisis, geopolitics, and speaks about economic policies and growth. Rubin's main agenda of this book is to strategically approach and explain the link between oil and growth. 


The Green Book

The Green Book
Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen
Publisher/Date Published: Three Rivers Press, 2007
ISBN Number: 978-0-307-38135-4
Reviewed by: Lina Mohareb

The Green Book offers hope and practical suggestions for living green in every aspect of life in our world that’s becoming so convenient that we take it for granted without realizing it. The book is divided into twelve parts, where Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen determine aspects of our daily human habitation, such as home, work, school, technology etc., and follow each aspect with suggestions for better lifestyle choices. The goal of Rogers and Kostigen’s book is to provide ways that encourages the reader to be green and feel that their small action can make a difference. Rogers and Kostigen write by using descriptive language relatively to numerical analysis; for example, if everyone used less or did less of a specific action, in a year’s time this amount would be saved. 


What a Plant Knows

What a Plant Knows
By: Daniel Chamovitz
Review by Sharon Li

What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz is a book that analyzes the senses of a plant and how those senses contribute to the growth of the plant itself. It also explains how the information is perceived and how the information is processed in the plant. Just like the human senses, plants have sight, which allow them to detect light and dark. Light is made from combining three different colours; red, blue and green. Red light has the biggest impact on plants because it causes it to grow/flower while the other colours do not have much of an effect. Infrared light however erases the information that the plant has collected in the past couple of minutes. It has been scientifically proven that plants grow towards the light, no matter how small or big it is. Smell is described as an ability “to perceive odour or scent through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves.” Plants have the ability to detect animal and human odours as well as the smells from neighbouring plants. Depending on the type of smell, it causes the plant to either defend itself or make chemicals for growth reasons.