A Reading List

I am away at a writer’s conference this weekend. I usually try to post every Friday – normally something energy or climate related.

Since I am surrounded by books and authors this weekend, I thought it might be appropriate if I shared a list of some of my favourite books that talk about our environmental footprint, and how we might improve it.

Here are three that I really like.

First:  “Effective Environmental Choices”by The Union of Concerned Scientists

This book tells us to forget the hundreds of ways we are told to help the environment and focus on just three:

1) The size of your house
2) The length of your commute to work
3) The size/fuel economy of your car

You may not be able to make changes in all those areas, but these will give you the biggest bang for your buck, emissions wise, and you should start there.

Second:  “Junkyard Planet” by Adam Minter

It is a surprising that a book about garbage is upbeat and hopeful – but this one is! Minter describes what happens to our trash around the globe. He is a journalist whose family ran a scrap metal company. He shows us what the free market might have to offer (in fact is already is offering) to help us deal with our junk.

Third:  “The City in Mind”by James Howard Kuntsler.

I was first pointed to this author by some architects I met when I was part of my Community Association in Bankview, an inner-city neighbourhood in Calgary.

James discussed how urban design has impacted our culture, particularly in North America, where suburban sprawl has locked in our dependence on cars. He compares some of the most “livable” cities in Europe, like Paris, to our own, and makes a case that some of our social alienation can be attributed to how we design our cities.

What are your favourite books about our planet?

Alisa Caswell is an engineer and a writer who lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Read her other articles at “Confessions of a Dandelion Anarchist” or follow her on LinkedIn    Facebook,  or Twitter,


[1] Photo by Emre Can from Pexels

[2] The Union of Concerned Scientists: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-consumers-guide-to-effective/9780609802816-item.html?ikwsec=Books&ikwidx=2

[3] Adam Minter: https://www.amazon.com/Junkyard-Planet-Travels-Billion-Dollar-Trash/dp/1608197913

[4] James Howard Kuntsler: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/316020.The_City_in_Mind