Reading Material

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Books that influence our work and that are available in our lending library...


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50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth from The Earth Works Group


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101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green by Rich Mintzer


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A - Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Christopher Brickell.



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Air-To-Air Heat Exchangers for Houses by William A. Shurcliff

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Alternative Energy Projects for the 1990's by John Kuecken

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An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore



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Arc of Justice by Kevin Boyle


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The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes


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Bayou Farewell: the Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast by Mike Tidwell


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Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende



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Better World Shopping Guide by Ellis Jones


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Building the Green Economy by Kevin Danaher, Shannon Biggs and Jason Mark.


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The Business Case for Renewable Energy by Andrea Putman and Michael Philips.


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The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits by John McKnight


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The Company We Keep by John Abrams


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Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart


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Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus


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Cultivating Food Justice by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman


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The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. From Wikipedia: A greatly influential book on the subject of urban planning in the 20th century. First published in 1961, the book is a critique of modernist planning policies claimed by Jacobs to be destroying many existing inner-city communities.


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Design for Community by Derek M. Powazek


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Design Language by Tim McCreight

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Detroit's Cass Corridor by Armando Delicato and Elias Khalil. We are mentioned with historic and recent photos!


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Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr.


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Earth in the Balance by Al Gore.



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Earth Prayers from Around the World edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon


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Earth User's Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow


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Filling the Gaps: Environmental Protection Options for Local Governments by Katherine A. Ardizone & Mark A. Wyckoff



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From Eco-Cities to Living Machines by Nancy Jack Todd and John Todd




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Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition by Toby Hemenway


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Global Warming Survival Handbook by David de Rothschild


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Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage by Heather Rogers


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  • The Great Work by Thomas Berry. Berry asks us to move from being a disruptive force on the earth to a benign presence. He calls this our great work - the most necessary and most ennobling work we will ever undertake.


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The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, by Van Jones



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The Green Festival Reader, by Kevin Danaher and Alisa Gravitz




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Green From the Ground Up: Sustainable, Healthy, and Energy-Efficient Home Construction by David Johnston & Scott Gibson



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Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth by the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine


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The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.

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The Green Studio Handbook by Alison G. Kwok & Walter T. Grondzik



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Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston


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Green Your Work: Boost Your Bottom Line While Reducing Your Carbon Footprint by Kim Carlson




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Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

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Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall


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Historic Photos of Detroit by Mary J. Wallace


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Home in Detroit: Where They Lived... in the Motor City by T. Burton



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  • Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd. Dadd takes a hard look at just how safe we really are in our own homes. Toxic cleaning products, pesticides, processed foods, synthetic fibers and fabrics, are just a few of the things that can affect the health of our families. She offers solutions, often simple and inexpensive, to help eliminate the toxins in our home environment and to turn our homes into the safe havens they should be.


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The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design by Sandra Mendler, William Odell, Mary Ann Lazarus



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Hope Dies Last: Making a Difference in an Indifferent World by Studs Terkel



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  • How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand. From Wikipedia: An illustrated book on the evolution of buildings and how buildings adapt to changing requirements over long periods.


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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan



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The Inn on Ferry Street, by Nancy Null Derringer. A photographic history of the Queen Anne style homes that make up the Inn on Ferry Street.



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Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv



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Living Healthy in a Toxic World by David Steinman



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Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by William C. Taylor & Polly LaBarre


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New Inventions in Low-Cost Solar Heating: 100 Daring Schemes Tried and Untried by William A. Shurcliff

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Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards by Sara Stein


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The North Pole Was Here by Andrew C. Revkin


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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan


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The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit by Thomas J. Sugrue


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Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell


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  • A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. From Amazon: The second of three books published by the Center for Environmental Structure to provide a "working alternative to our present ideas about architecture, building, and planning," A Pattern Language offers a practical language for building and planning based on natural considerations. The reader is given an overview of some 250 patterns that are the units of this language, each consisting of a design problem, discussion, illustration, and solution. By understanding recurrent design problems in our environment, readers can identify extant patterns in their own design projects and use these patterns to create a language of their own. Extraordinarily thorough, coherent, and accessible, this book has become a bible for homebuilders, contractors, and developers who care about creating healthy, high-level design.



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The Pesticide Detox: Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture by Jules Pretty



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A Place in the Sun: The Evolution of the Real Goods Solar Living Center by John Schaeffer



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Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble by Lester Brown. President of the Earth Policy Institute, Lester Brown begins by describing the devastation to our planet wrought by years of industrialization and a "throw-away" economy. In the second part of the book, he details many sustainable solutions and even how they might be funded.


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Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth by Jim Merkel


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Recovering America : A More Gentle Way to Build by Malcolm Wells


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Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City by John Gallagher


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A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

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Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan



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  • Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher. Argues that bigger is not always better. Contends that the workplace should be dignified and meaningful first, efficient second, and that nature (and the world's natural resources) is priceless.


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Solar Heated Buildings of North America: 120 Outstanding Examples by William A. Shurcliff

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Someplace Like America: Tales from the New Great Depression by Dale Maharidge

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Straw Bale Building: How to plan, design and build with straw by Chris Magwood and Peter Mack

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Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery by Charles J. Kibert


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The Third Industrial Revolution by Jeremy Rifkin


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Tight Urbanism by Daniel Toole



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  • The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander. The first volume of Alexander's seminal trilogy on architecture. The philosophical underpinnings of 'A Pattern Language.'


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Trees of Michigan Field Guide by Stan Tekiela

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Trees of Michigan and the Upper Great Lakes by Norman F. Smith


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Uncommon Learning Henry David Thoreau on Education


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Wildflowers of Michigan Field Guide by Stan Tekiela


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The World Without Us by Alan Weisman