Filed under: environmental issues | Tags: Blessed Unrest, Daniel Etsy, Daniel Quinn, Ecology of Commerce, Green to Gold, Ishmael, Mid-course correction, Paul Hawken, Ray Anderson
I’m a huge bookworm. It’s ok. I know I’m a nerd and I’m proud of it. In fact, I just joined a book club and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Outside of the book club, though, I’ve been on a sustainability kick when it comes to books. Surprise, surprise. I’ve built up my own little collection at this point and thought I’d share some of my favorites.
“Ecology of Commerce” by Paul Hawken_
The book that started it all… well almost. Silent Spring is typically credited with beginning the “green” movement back in the 60’s, but Paul Hawken has been one of the driving forces behind the outcome we see today. I’m amazed that it was written in the early 90’s and only now are a lot of the issues he raised beginning to be addressed. This guy is my hero. I love his writing and this book is absolutely packed with knowledge. I consider it a must read for anyone interested in what needs to change in our society and how to go about doing that (and I don’t mean switching from incandescent to CFL).
“Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn_
Another must read on your quest for understanding how we got where we are today. The book has an extremely bizarre premise- a gorilla teaches a man how to save the planet from ourselves. The entire story is a dialogue between the two. Don’t let that deter you, though. It makes sense within the context… maybe it takes an outside perspective to really help explain how our society developed & why. Quinn approaches the subject from a completely different angle and brought up points that I couldn’t believe I’d never thought of before. I literally had one of those light bulb moments while reading it. I personally felt the story dwindled towards the end and could have been better, but it’s absolutely still worth a read.
“Mid-Course Correction” by Ray Anderson_
An in-depth look at creating a sustainable business, written by the CEO of Interface Carpet and co-chair of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development . Again, it was written in the 90’s and has never been more relevant. (I don’t know why it took the rest of us so long to catch on.) He gives a clear depiction of what corporate environmental responsibility should look like and serves as a great model for people like us trying to start our own business from scratch.
“Green to Gold” by Daniel Etsy & Andrew Winston_
This book focuses on how companies can use environmental strategy to get ahead of the competition. It details how you can be green and make money. The two should not be mutually exclusive. I found it helpful again, both from the perspective of someone creating a new business from scratch that seeks to be green, innovative, & profitable, and it equipped me with the knowledge to help convince clients I’ll be designing spaces for of the advantages of going green. It’s all about the big picture.
“Blessed Unrest” by Paul Hawken_
I told you I loved Paul Hawken! This is his most recent book outlining the history of the movement and why no one saw it coming. Since most books about the environment today focus on all the things going wrong in our world, this was a breath of fresh air- listing all the things were doing right. Half the book is an appendix listing all the non profit organizations dedicated to the environment, indigenous rights, and social justice. By itself that’s over 100 pages. This book helps you remember the inherent goodness at the heart of humanity. We can and are making a difference. It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes.
If anyone has any other suggestions, I’m always looking for my next book. I’d love to hear what has inspired others.
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