Thursday, October 17, 2013

Green book review: The Once and Future World By J.B. MacKinnon

We're back with our weekly green book review and today we're happy to do so with a thought-provoking book of J.B. McKinnon, the author of the best-selling book "The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating", who explores this time at the planet and our relationship with nature, offering a new perspective on the environmental crisis we're having and connecting the dots between the past and the future in what he believes is the best way to enable us to actually have a future on this planet. 

Our (audio) book for today is:

The Once and Future World By J.B. MacKinnon  (publisher:  Random House Canada) 

What this book is about?

In The Once and Future World, journalist J.B. MacKinnon, author of the best-selling The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating, steps back in time to look for the wilderness we've forgotten, and comes back with an eye-opening account of nature as it was, as it is—and as it could be.

Here is a globe exuberant with life, where lions roam North America, explorers cross continents on elephant trails, and twenty times more whales swim in the sea. The environmental crisis we face today, MacKinnon discovers, has been underway for hundreds of years. Ours is now a '10 percent world'—a planet with just one-tenth of its former abundance. But this history is not only a lament. It is also an opportunity to reimagine nature. It wasn't only human greed that led us to where we are today; we have also suffered a 'great forgetting.'

To reverse our damaging course, we need to remember, reconnect, and rewild: to remember nature as it was, reconnect to it as something meaningful in our lives, and begin to remake a wilder world. We choose the nature that we live with—a choice that also decides the kind of people we are.

About the author:

J.B. MacKinnon is the author or coauthor of four books of nonfiction. His latest, The Once and Future World, will be released in September 2013. Previous works are The 100-Mile Diet (with Alisa Smith), a bestseller widely recognized as a catalyst of the local foods movement; I Live Here (with Mia Kirshner and artists Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge), a ‘paper documentary’ about displaced people that made top 10 lists from theBloomsbury Literary Review to Comic Book Resources; and Dead Man in Paradise, the story of a priest assassinated in the Dominican Republic, which won Canada’s highest prize for literary nonfiction.
MacKinnon also works in the field of interactive documentaries. He was the writer for Bear 71, which explores the intersection of the wired and wild worlds through the true story of a mother grizzly bear. Bear 71premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was named 2012 Site of the Year at the international Favourite Website Awards. He was also text editor for Welcome to Pine Point, which won two Webby Awards, and is working with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on an interactive ebook about the Canadian wilderness.
As a journalist, MacKinnon has won more than a dozen national and international awards in categories as varied as essays, science writing, and travelogue. He is a past editor of Adbusters, the ‘culture jamming’ magazine that launched the Occupy movement, and a past senior contributing editor of Explore, Canada’s national outdoors magazine. His stories have ranged from the civil war in Southern Sudan to anarchists in urban North America to the overlooked world of old age among wild animals.
MacKinnon is a rock climber, mountain biker, snowboarder, and—yes—a birdwatcher. He lives with his partner Alisa Smith in Vancouver, Canada.
Our review:
I had a lot of fun with the book, The Once and Future World, by J.B. MacKinnon. The first major section was my favorite though. It goes through the past and the extinction of animals, birds, fish, and the vegetation. It discussed the possible whys and the human fault in it. I found it very interesting and frankly, I devoured it. Then I spent additional time looking up images and history of these extinctions. Very well done in my estimation, as it got me thinking.

The other two sections bring you to speed with the current world. It goes into detail on “re-wilding” of the earth, not just with animals but with vegetation and habitats as well. This is a new concept for many, but it has actually been around for a while, and one that I was aware of. I like the idea of re-wilding. I would love to see it implemented to some degree.

 The author shares many vignettes of time and events with the reader. Some are a little dry and time consuming, while others are very entertaining and interesting. The author has a good pace throughout, and I enjoyed the book on the whole. Good information, good history, and lessons we should pay attention too.

The book is available on


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our planting partner RIPPLE Africa is celebrating 10 years of incredible work in Malawi, Africa

Last month our planting partner RIPPLE Africa celebrated its 10th Anniversary! So first I'd like to congratulate the amazing people of RIPPLE Africa, and especially the founders Liz and Geoff Furber for the great work they do in Malawi, Africa. We're proud to work with such organization and take part in their efforts to make a difference in Malawi.

Second, we'd like to invite you to watch the 10 Year Anniversary video they made, which sums up everything they are as an organization.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shana Tova from Eco-Libris!

Today is
Rosh Hashanah Eve, the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year's day according to the Hebrew calendar.

Rosh Hashana is one of my favorite holidays, with many beautiful traditions, such as eating apple slices dipped in honey, which represent our hope for a sweet new year. 

I would also like to take this opportunity and wish you all Sahanah Tovah on behalf of Eco-Libris. May this Rosh Hashanah be the beginning of a sweet, green and wonderful year!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Green book review: The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman (audiobook)

We're back with our weekly green book review after a short summer vacation and we're happy to do so with a great book in by one of our favorite journalists and authors that has been reintroduced last month in one of our favorite formats - audiobook. Could it get any better?

Our (audio) book for today is:

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio) 

What this book is about?
As the Foreign Affairs columnist for The New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman has traveled to the four corners of the globe, interviewing people from all walks of contemporary life -- peasants in the Amazon rain forest, new entrepreneurs in Indonesia, Islamic students in Teheran, and the financial wizards on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

Now Friedman has drawn on his years on the road to produce an engrossing and original look at the new international system that, more than anything else, is shaping world affairs today: globalization. His argument can be summarized quite simply. Globalization is not just a phenomenon and not just a passing trend. It is the international system that replaced the Cold War system. Globalization is the integration of capital, technology and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and to some degree, a global village.

You cannot understand the morning news or know where to invest you money or think about where the world is going unless you understand this new system, which is influencing the domestic policies and international relations of virtually every country in the world today. And once you do understand the world as Friedman explains it, you'll never look at it quite the same way again. 

Using original terms and concepts -- from "The Electronic Herd" to "DOScapital 6.0" -- Friedman shows us how to see this new system. With vivid stories, he dramatizes the conflict of "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" -- the tension between the globalization system and ancient forms of culture, geography, tradition and community -- and spells out what we all need to do to keep this system in balance.

Finding the proper balance between the Lexus and the olive tree is the great drama of the globalization era, and the ultimate theme of Friedman's challenging, provocative book -- essential listening for all who care about how the world really works. 

About the author (source: New York Times):
Thomas L. Friedman won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The New York Times. He became the paper’s foreign-affairs Op-Ed columnist in 1995. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the Washington bureau and before that he was the chief White House correspondent. In 2005, Mr. Friedman was elected as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Mr. Friedman joined The Times in 1981 and was appointed Beirut bureau chief in 1982. In 1984 Mr. Friedman was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as Israel bureau chief until 1988. Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Israel).

Mr. Friedman is the author of “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won both the National Book Award and the Overseas Press Club Award in 1989.  “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” was the winner of the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for best non-fiction book on foreign policy. His 2002 book “Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11” consists of columns he published about the attacks.  “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century,” issued in April 2005 and updated in 2006 and 2007, received the inaugural Goldman Sachs/Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award. 

“Hot, Flat, and Crowded” was published in 2008, and a paperback edition was issued a year later.  His sixth and most recent book, “That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back,” co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, was released in September 2011.

Born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953, Mr. Friedman received a B.A. degree in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University in 1975. In 1978 he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Modern Middle East studies from Oxford. Mr. Friedman is married and has two daughters.

Our review:
The Lexus and The Olive Tree I would say is an interesting book. We have all heard the term, globalization, but how many of us really understand what it means and what all it encompasses?  Even after reading this book, I am not sure I fully understand all that comes with such a simple term.  

Mr. Friedman's style of writing was mostly conversational and easy to understand. However, he tends to name drop, talk about his own friends, and his adventures a bit too much for me. It got a bit boring now and then. I found myself thinking again and again, “Just get to the point!” I admit not knowing some of the people he had lunch with or met in India or Tehran. When I don’t know something, I have to look it up. I spent more time with Google looking up people, places, and things, while reading this book, than I would like to admit. It took away from the book and the information within. Also, I should warn you that Mr. Friedman is a metaphor junkie. Pulitzer Prize winner or not, I found his use of metaphor overwhelming. Also, I should mention that portions of this book are getting outdated, and could use a revision. 

Don’t get me wrong I got a lot of good information and knowledge from this book, and I will take a lot away from my time within its pages. It’s a full and thorough book that includes anything and everything you could think of on globalization, from WWII all the way to the creation of email and the internet. Even though I was basically aware of the internet’s creation, I found this section very interesting.  

The audiobook version of The Lexus and the Olive Tree is available on as well as other retailers.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Last day to buy great green ebooks from Island Press for just $4.99!

I wanted to share an update from our friends at Island Press. Today (Friday, Aug 2) is the last day  about a special opportunity Island Press is offering this week to our supporters  – all of our backlist e-books will be available for just $4.99. This special incorporates more than 500 titles from our three decades of publishing including:

·        Gretchen Daily’s Nature’s Services, usually $45.00, now $4.99;
·        David Orr’s Hope is an Imperative, usually $30, now $4.99;
·        Callum Roberts’ The Unnatural History of the Sea, usually $24, now $4.99; and others.

These titles include the best ideas and information on the environment, including books on water, food systems, urban issues, ecosystems, and climate change. Island Press e-books are available at its website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other online retailers. 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Green book review: What Has Nature Ever Done For Us by Tony Juniper

There ain't no such thing as free lunch. This notion that Harvard economist Greg Mankiw described as "to get one thing that we like, we usually have to give up another thing that we like. Making decisions requires trading off one goal against another" is mostly true, but we tend to forget about it when it comes to natural capital.  

Yet, this is wrong, very wrong, as nature provides the 'natural services' that keep the economy going, explains Tony Juniper in his new book. Why? This important book written by one of the top 10 environmental figures of the last 30 years explains it, and it is our pleasure to have it on this week's green book review:

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?: How Money Really Does Grow on Trees by Tony Juniper with a Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales (publisher: Synergetic Press) 

What this book is about?
During recent years, and since 2005 in particular, the environmental debate worldwide has been dominated by climate change, carbon emissions and efforts to achieve low carbon economies. But a number of academic, technical, political, business and NGO initiatives indicate that there is a new wave of environmental attention focused on a wholly different set of subjects: namely that of 'natural capital,' 'ecosystem services' and 'biodiversity,' or in other words, what Nature does for us.

From Indian Vultures to Chinese bees and from recycling miracles in the soil to the abundant genetic codebook underpinning our food and pharmaceutical needs, Nature provides the 'ecosystem services' that underlie our economies. It is been estimated that these and other services are worth about twice the global GDP, and yet we take most of these services for granted, imagining them free and limitless- until they suddenly switch off.

This is a book full of immediate, impactful stories, containing warnings, such as the rabies epidemic that followed a disappearance of Indian vultures (hormones in cattle killed the birds and resulted surplus in carcasses, creating an explosion of wild dogs), as well as promising and enlightening tales of how birds protect fruit harvests, coral reefs shield coasts from storms and how the rainforests absorb billions of tons of carbon released from automobiles and power stations. Tony Juniper's book will change the whole way you think about life, the planet and the economy.

About the author:
Tony Juniper is a campaigner, writer, sustainability adviser and a well-known British environmentalist. For more than 25 years he has worked for change toward a more sustainable society at local, national and international levels. From providing ecology and conservation experiences for primary school children, to making the case for new recycling laws, to orchestrating international campaigns for action on rainforests and climate change, his work has sought change at many levels. Juniper presently works as a Special Adviser to the Prince of Wales Charities' International Sustainability Unit. For more info, visit 

Our review:
This book, What Has Nature Ever Done For Us, by Tony Juniper was an interesting read. It has many stories that are very current today in our drive to retain our world and the creatures within it. We, humans, tend to see immediate consequences to our actions, but I think most of us tend to forget about the long term consequences. The stories within the pages of this book bring them front and center, and make them hard to ignore. As an added perk the book is written in an easy to read and understand format.

The author also keeps you interested and turning the pages as the stories and events are told in a manner that I found to be compelling and entertaining. Some of the events I was quite aware of all ready before reading the book, but the author found more information and more background to add to what I already knew. I liked that a lot. It wasn’t just a quick fact dump either. Instead it was a comprehensive telling of the events and the story behind them. I really enjoyed this read.

There were a few sections I found to be a bit wordy and long, but that is my only real complaint. Anyone interested in our environment and in the world we live, I think will find use of this book. The more versed in this area may not get as much out of it as the newer people, but I still recommend it all the same.

The book is available on in both hardcover and paperback formats.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New book, Moonpennies by Alanna Rosette is going green with Eco-Libris!

We're happy to announce on a new collaboration with author Alanna Rosette on her first book Moonpennies. 100 trees will be planted with Eco-Libris to green up this great summer read, which is right now available in an electronic format on Amazon.

So what's Moonpennies about? Here are more details on the book:

About the book:

Lina Daniels was eleven years old when her mother divulged that true love doesn't exist and heartbreak is inevitable. Now a late-twenties struggling writer, Lina is terrified of opening her heart to anyone. She fumbles through life, battling bouts of depression and avoiding real relationships at all costs...until one too many glasses of wine at a New Year's Eve party undermines her resolve. 

She ends up in the arms of an irresistible prospect and decides to give love a chance. 

The better judgment of her best friends tells her he's not the right guy. But finding the courage to fall in love is only the beginning of Lina's journey. Uncharted risks and bold mistakes open her eyes to a life-changing realization. She may learn her mother was right about the certainty of heartbreak. Yet she may also find that true love does exist, and it makes the heartbreak worthwhile.

About the author: 
Alanna Rosette is a writer across various mediums of fiction and non-fiction. Copywriter by day, but of course, fiction is her favorite.She enjoys writing prose but also have an affinity for visual storytelling, and thus love screenwriting, too. "It sounds cliche, but hey, it's true...I've been writing since I was a kid and don't plan on ever stopping. I do it because I love it," she writes. 

You can follow her on twitter and find her on Facebook as well.

You can purchase Moonpennies on (electronic format is available).