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Recommeded Books

Worldchanging : A User's Guide for the 21st Century

Worldchanging is poised to be the Whole Earth Catalog for this millennium. Written by leading new thinkers who believe that the means for building a better future lie all around us, Worldchanging is packed with the information, resources, reviews, and ideas that give readers the tools they need to make a difference. Brought together by Alex Steffen, co-founder of the popular and award-winning web site Worldchanging.com, this team of top-notch writers includes Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, Geekcorps founder Ethan Zuckerman, sustainable food expert Anna Lappe, and many others. Renowned designer Stefan Sagmeister brings his extraordinary talents to Worldchanging, resulting in a book that will challenge readers to personally redefine the conversation about the future.

Each chapter offers readers new answers to key questions, such as:
Why does buying locally produced food make sense?
What steps can I take to influence my workplace toward sustainability?
How do I volunteer, advocate, and give more effectively?

From eco-building to responsible shopping, political action to humanitarian relief, Worldchanging
puts the power to solve problems into the reader¡¦s hands.


The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
by Tim Flannery

Dr. Flannery, a conservation and ecology expert, teaches all who listen about the difference between climate change and global warming, and their implications for the survival of species on Earth. Flannery reviews his research and the scientific evidence, and then his conclusions. Drew de Carvalho narrates in an even tone, catching all the details and explanations of a technical topic. Delivering suggestions for conserving energy, de Carvalho captures Flannery's alarm at the rapid pace of climate change and disappearance of species. This eye-opening discussion will provide food for thought and motivation for changing one's lifestyle for the betterment of all. M.B.K.

An Inconvenient Truth
by AL Glore

Our climate crisis may at times appear to be happening slowly, but in fact it is happening very quickly-and has become a true planetary emergency. The Chinese expression for crisis consists of two characters. The first is a symbol for danger; the second is a symbol for opportunity. In order to face down the danger that is stalking us and move through it, we first have to recognize that we are facing a crisis. So why is it that our leaders seem not to hear such clarion warnings? Are they resisting the truth because they know that the moment they acknowledge it, they will face a moral imperative to act? Is it simply more convenient to ignore the warnings? Perhaps, but inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen. Indeed, when they are responded to, their significance doesnt diminish; it grows. -- Al Gore


Before the Deluge : The Vanishing World of the Yangtze's Three Gorges
by Deirdre Chetham

What will be the world's largest hydroelectric dam is under construction in the remote Three Gorges area of China's Upper Yangtze River. Of the nearly 1500 towns that will be submerged when the project is complete, the author focuses on a handful that she knows well from her experiences as a river guide and lecturer. She describes their residents involved in their daily affairs-working, worshiping, getting by-even as the flood waters ineluctably rise around them. In some cases, communities that have existed for thousands of years, whose entire histories and cultures are centered on the river, that have survived flood, famine, and war, will be forced to uproot themselves forever. Against this backdrop, the author also recounts the broader controversies and political deal-making that went into the decision to build the dam. This book had to be written now because in just a few years these people and their world will be gone. Highly recommended for Chinese studies, travel, and ecological collections.


China Shifts Gears : Automakers, Oil, Pollution, and Development
by Kelly Sims Gallagher

Chinese production of automobiles rose from 42,000 cars per year in 1990 to 2.3 million in 2004; the number of passenger vehicles on the road doubled every two and a half years through the 1990s and continues to grow. In China Shifts Gears, Kelly Sims Gallagher identifies an unprecedented opportunity for China to "shift gears" and avoid the usual problems associated with the automobile industry--including urban air pollution caused by tailpipe emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and high dependence on oil imports--while spurring economic development. This transformation will only take place if the Chinese government plays a leadership role in building domestic technological capacity and pushing foreign automakers to transfer cleaner and more energy-efficient technologies to China. If every new car sold in China had the cleanest and most energy-efficient of the automotive technologies already available, urban air pollution could be minimized, emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases would be lower than projected, and the Chinese auto industry would continue to flourish and contribute to China's steady economic development. But so far, Gallagher finds, the opportunity to shift gears has been missed.

Gallagher looks in detail at three U.S.-Chinese joint ventures: Beijing Jeep, Shanghai GM, and Chang'An Ford. These case studies are based on original research, including interviews with 90 government officials, industry representatives, and experts in both countries. Drawing from the case studies, Gallagher explores the larger issues of the environmental and economic effects of technology transfer in the automobile industry and the policy implications of "leapfrogging" to more advanced technology.