Archives For Sustainability


[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0199372403″ cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″ alt=”Jeremy Caradonna”]Informing Our Present by Examining our Past
A Review of

Sustainability: A History

Jeremy Caradonna

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2014
Buy now:  [ [easyazon_link asin=”0199372403″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link asin=”B00MHUPRFE” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by Taylor Brorby
Sustainability is, for better or worse, the buzzword of our time. Sustainable agriculture. Sustainable city planning. Food sustainability. Business sustainability. A quick Google search yields over 118,000,000 results for the word sustainability. As Jeremy L. Caradonna points out in the introduction to his book, Sustainability: A History, Bill McKibben was most definitely wrong in his New York Times opinion piece in 1996 when  he said sustainability was a “buzzless buzzword” that was “born partly in an effort to obfuscate.”
At just over 250 pages, Sustainability: A History, is a book that takes the reader on a historical journey which examines the origin of the word sustainability, the conditions of the Industrial Revolution–which helped bring about the idea of sustainable development–the advent of the modern Environmental Movement, a new view of economics–eco-nomics–and a call-to-arms as the final wrap-up, “The Future: 10 Challenges for Sustainability.”

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0813141087″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”223″ alt=”Gary Holthaus” ]The Deep, Intensive Surgery Required

Learning Native Wisdom: What Traditional Cultures Teach Us about Subsistence, Sustainability, and Spirituality
Gary Holthaus

Culture of the Land Series.
Paperback: University Press of KY, 2013
(New Paperback Edition)
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0813141087″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]  [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00B35TGB0″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Reviewed by Scot Martin

The pharmaceutical industry has made us good at treating symptoms, and once the pain has been ameliorated we tend to move on, ignoring the sickly roots that first caused the symptoms.  “The most important task in our time is not to protect the land or create social justice but to create a sustainable culture,” asserts Gary Holthaus against that kind of symptom-treating-only thinking in Learning Native Wisdom: What Traditional Cultures Teach Us about Subsistence, Sustainability, and Spirituality” (6).

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David Owen - The ConundrumOur book trailer video of the week…
(Somehow this book slipped past us earlier this year.)

The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse

David Owen.

Paperback: Riverhead Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

David Owen is the author of Green Metropolis, which was selected as an Englewood Honor Book in 2009
[ Read our review of Green Metropolis ]

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For the next few weeks, I will be reading Christine Pohl’s excellent new book Living into Community, and as I have time, will be sharing morsels from the book on our Twitter and Facebook pages.  Make sure you’re connected with us in at least one of these two ways, and keep an eye out for quotes/thoughts from the book!  I will try (as space allows) to use the hashtag #CPLIC

Below is an excerpt from the book

Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us.

Christine Pohl.

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

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Nancy Sleeth - Almost AmishThe Helpful and The Hopeful

A Feature Review of

Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

Nancy Sleeth

Paperback: Tyndale House, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Paul Chaplin

Wealth of literature on a given topic, as anyone involved in “Emergence” churches will report, is not necessarily a true measure of actual realised change. However, it can indicate that a growing number of people are taking certain ideas seriously (at least they’re buying the books!), and so it is encouraging to see, in Almost Amish, a new addition to the broad category of Christian contemporary writing on issues like simplicity, local economies, stability, and consumerism.

The story of author Nancy Sleeth (who also wrote Go Green, Save Green), husband Matthew (author of Serve God, Save the Planet and The Gospel According to the Earth), daughter Emma (author, at age 16, of It’s Easy Being Green) and son Clark, is one which begins with a self-described family-wide “spiritual and environmental conversion experience.” I list all these book titles since they tell a story all by themselves. The Sleeths are a family of Christian environmental activists, and it was the increasing comparisons people made between Nancy Sleeth’s lifestyle and that of the Amish (drying clothes on a line, simplifying wardrobes) that led to this book. Sleeth points to the Amish as a people group more than any other in 21st century America which are counter-cultural, committed to air drying clothes, enjoying intact families and healthy communities, who enjoy gardens, home cooked meals, uncluttered homes, almost nonexistent debt and strong local economies, and who restrain their use of technology. Therefore, perhaps we should take a look at Amish life and see what we can’t learn.

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Bird on Fire - Andrew RossSustainability in the Valley of the Sun

A Review of

Bird on Fire:

Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City.

Andrew Ross.

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Tim Høiland.

When Andrew Ross first came to the Phoenix, he was interested in learning what local artists were doing to revitalize downtown, a desert city with an urban core that, to many urbanists, leaves much to be desired. No city exists in a vacuum, however, and Ross soon came to the conclusion that to understand Phoenix he had to understand the story of the other cities and sprawling suburbs throughout the valley. It was through this research that he concluded that the Phoenix metro area — which includes nine cities with populations of 100,000 or more — was, as he puts it in the subtitle, “the world’s least sustainable city.”

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Eco-Republic By Melissa LaneUsing Plato to Gain a Vision
for Living an Sustainable Life?

A Review of

Eco-Republic :
What the Ancients Can
Teach Us About Ethics, Virtue
and Sustainable Living
Melissa Lane.
Hardback: Princeton U Press, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Eric Judge.

It’s a bad sign when I have to read the dust jacket description of a book and the endorsements on the back in an attempt to help myself understand a book that I have just finished.  I say this only slightly in jest.  I have followed my fair share of long, difficult, and dense arguments in academic books, whether because of grad school assignments and research or from a vague sense of “If I just read this book then I will be a hip intellectual”.  Reading Eco-Republic by Melissa Lane, was an exercise in . . . well let’s just call it exercise. And if exercise is often both difficult and rewarding, this book is decidedly on the difficult side of the equation, though not without its rewards.  Classical philosophy is in a great gap in my education and so much of Lane’s discussion of both classical thought in general and Plato in particular was new to me and this has colored my reading and enjoyment of this book.

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“Economics as a Truly Social Science”

A review of

The Economics of Enough:
How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters
By Diane Coyle

Review by Matthew Kaul.

ECONOMICS OF ENOUGH - CoyleThe Economics of Enough:
How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters
Diane Coyle
Hardback: Princeton UP, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Hardback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

At few points in American history has the intersection of politics and economics featured so centrally in the news, in our discussions, in the ways we live our lives day to day. Internationally, we watch as the Greek debt crisis spirals down and down, drawing Portugal, Spain, Italy along with it, and threatening the very existence of the European Union. Domestically, we listen to pundits repeat platitudes and slogans ad naseum as the divided federal government carries itself ever closer to default while the unemployment rate, when it’s not stagnating, continues to rise. Locally, we’ve been reminded of the possibility of protest and civil disobedience as political acts (a possibility much more easily forgotten in American than in most of the rest of the world), as protests engulfed a capital (Indianapolis) that some state legislators had fled. In all these events, in the continual lingering of a crisis that doesn’t seem to quit, we see just how deeply the economy is politicized, and likewise we come to recognize the economic costs of poor political decision-making.

If you’re like me, you frequently throw up your hands in despair over the mess in which we find ourselves—a global mess provoked in the first place by the egregious greed and recklessness of a few. Add to that concerns over global warming and our abuse of the environment, a population in the West that’s aging and hasn’t properly planned for the financial costs of that aging (even as the developing world’s population explodes at an equally unsustainable rate), wars that seem never to end, etc.  The sheer scope of and complex connections between these problems begs for some assuring voice of reason to simply explain to us what is going on. How can we hope to understand something as complex as contemporary political economy? If we can, how should we do so?

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An excerpt from the book:

The Economics of Enough:
How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters
Diane Coyle
Hardback: Princeton UP, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon – Hardback ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

Read our review of this book


A  Rooted People - Conference


A Rooted People:
Church, Place and Agriculture
in an Urban World

Save the Date!
Conference Registration opens this Friday, June 18!

Ours is a world in which transportation is becoming extremely costly (as was highlighted by the massive costs of the BP Oil Spill) and yet at the same time is a world that is becoming increasingly urban. Common sense would seem to indicate that these trends will impact in a major way our food systems and the way we eat. Given these factors, what is the church’s redemptive role in caring for the health and wholeness (shalom) of not just humanity, but all creation? Englewood Christian Church has invited several speakers with rich experiences in sustainable agriculture to lead a conversation reflecting on this question and related ones about church, place, food, community and agriculture, and we invite you to join us.

* Fred Bahnson: Writer and Co-founder of Anathoth Community Garden
* Martin Price:
Former Director of Educational Concerns For Hunger Organization (ECHO)

* Ragan Sutterfield:
Arkansas Farmer/Writer, Author of FARMING AS A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE

Workshops Lead By :
Main speakers and others TBA

When: Friday October 29 and Saturday October 30, 2010

Where: Englewood Christian Church / Indianapolis