Engaging Methuen Readers

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Books for the Green Energy Revolution

Maybe you’ve noticed and maybe you haven’t, but alternative energy is all the rage. Who wants to live on an overheated planet? Not this librarian! Green energy doesn’t have to be super expensive. In fact, the library has resources that can help you get it cheap and even build it yourself. Start with these excellent picks from the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium!

Cover image for Careers in green energyCareers in Green Energy by Laura Mars

Sure, solar panels can be expensive, but they also pay well! Whether or not you can personally use green energy on your home right now, you can still contribute to the revolution (and make a little green of your own on the way.)

Cover image for Do-it-yourself projects to get you off the grid :Do-It-Yourself Projects to Get You Off the Grid: Rain Barrels, Chicken Coops, Solar Panels, and More from; edited by Noah Weinstein

I told you there would be a book that showed you how to build a solar panel! If you’re not familiar with, then it’s worth your while to click over before you borrow this book. It’s a great resource for all things DIY, and it hosts a thriving community of DIY solar-panel makers.

Cover image for The energy wise home :The Energy Wise Home: Practical Ideas for Sustainable Living by Jeff Dondero

From insulation to efficient appliances to renewable energy for your home, this book covers it all from soup to nuts. If you want to start at the top and learn everything there is to know about making your home as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible, this is your book.

Cover image for The homeowner's energy handbook :The Homeowner’s Energy Handbook: Your Guide to Getting Off the Grid by Paul Scheckel

Getting “off the grid” may be the holy grail of the sustainability movement, but you’ll find that you can cherry-pick what works best for you from this useful and interesting book.

Cover image for Musings of an energy nerd :Musings of an Energy Nerd: Toward an Energy-Efficient Home by Martin Holladay

The Energy Nerd had a great blog where you can still read all about how to make your home more efficient. After all, reducing your use is a great first step to becoming more environmentally conscious!


Cover image for Real Goods solar living sourcebook :

Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook: Your Complete Guide to Living Beyond the Grid with Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustainable Living by John Schaeffer

With an introduction by’s Bill McKibben, this book is a standout for alternative energy aficionados. If you’ve read through the basic energy-saving books and want more, then this is where to turn.

Cover image for Renewable energy :Renewable Energy: a Primer for the Twenty-First Century by Bruce Usher

What’s all this renewable energy business about, anyway? If you want to have an intelligent conversation about sustainable power, then this is the book you need to read first. You’ll be glad you did when you can fluently explain the history of humanity’s energy use and how humanity can transition from burning things for fuel to a more advanced system.

Cover image for Self-sufficiency for the 21st centurySelf-Sufficiency for the 21st Century by Dick & James Strawbridge

Don’t be intimidated by the intense title: there is some great green energy advice in these pages! You might pick up some other lifestyle tips at the same time, but don’t let that stop you.

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Save the Earth…With Your Brain!

Climate change is an enormous issue, so large that it’s overwhelming. What can the average person possibly do to change the status quo? Believe it or not, there are lots of little ways that ordinary people like you and I can affect the environment in a positive way.

Step one is to get educated. There are lots of ways to remove soot from the air, just like there are lots of ways to stop sticking it up there through passive support of a psychopathic suicide system. Because the one thing human beings are better at than fire is innovation and problem-solving creativity! Here are some easy-peasy starter points:

1. Think before you buy


If you already feel mildly guilty about driving your gas-powered car to work, you’ll hate how much fuel Amazon uses to ship cheap circuitboards and sippy cups. Luckily, the solution is easy: resourceful reuse! These lessons start right at home. Parents with small children may already be aware of some good play solutions from the famous Earth-Friendly Toys by George Pfiffner. (Incidentally, this is also a great resource if you’re trying to get the kids away from their computer and device screens.) Pfiffner has written several other books in the same vein, as has Rhonda Redleaf in Learn and Play the Green Way. Adults who enjoy shopping more than dolls might find that thrifting is a more enviro-friendly option than ordering new-made items. Al Hoff teaches you all his secrets in Thrift Score, and Sandra Donovan teaches you all of hers in her classic how-to Thrift Shopping. If birthdays and holidays in all their disposable glory have got you down, try Mollie’s tips for making decorations for events of all kinds. For the home decor aficionados, try Upcycle by Rebecca Proctor. Of course, the library has dozens of books on upcycling everything from clothing and decor to art and gardening. And remember: just by using the library, you’re reducing your carbon footprint! One less book bought is one less tree cut, rendered, printed, bound, and shipped using fossil fuels.

2. Use refillable water bottles


Remember, recycling plastic is a process that, in itself, requires tons of carbon fuel. Anyway, why spend a $120 a year on bottled water (assuming you drink one a day and buy the 24-packs) when you can spend $10 on a lasting water bottle once? Lowering your plastic usage is as good for your wallet as for the environment. To start, try Plastic Free by Beth Terry. (She also discusses the social aspects of home environmentalism, and letting go of eco-guilt.) Plastic Purge by Michael SanClements discusses health implications of plastic use, but is also chock-full of great advice on lowering your plastic usage. Of course, if you happen to find yourself with a pile of old bottles around, you could also just make jewelry out of them.

3. Grow things!


Trees, grass, and even algae are natural air purifiers, and part of their job as part of the ecosystem is to clean carbon out of the atmosphere. That’s why planting extra green things, including home gardens, can be great for the planet as well as for your table. Plus, industrial-scale farming involves tractors, fertilizer trucks, and mass quantities of things that need to be transported to the grocery store in gas-powered vehicles. Growing stuff in your backyard eliminates the need for a lot of that heavy-duty gas-guzzling machinery. Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is a great place to start, and Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard by Colin McCrate and Brad Halm, is a good follow-up. If you happen to live in an apartment, you’ve still got options: try The Container Kitchen Garden by Anthony Atha and The Downsized Veggie Garden by Kate Copsey. Not only will the planet thank you, but you’ll get mad props from your friends when you start distributing fresh zucchini by the handful.

There’s one more thing you and your garden could do for the planet: eat less meat. Not no meat, nor even much less meat, but maybe just a couple meatless meals a week. You’d be amazed at the difference it could make. Rely more on plant protein, whether it’s home-grown or store-bought, and you could help reduce climate change mitigation costs by as much as 50%. For vegetarian recipes, try the work of Mollie Katzen, who founded the Moosewood Restaurant, and Crescent Dragonwagon, who just has the best name. The library has literally dozens of vegetarian cookbooks, so stop by and start changing the world today!


Also Read:

1130546Global Warming and Climate Change Demystified

by Jerry Silver


1609628While Glaciers S
lept: being human in a time of climate change

by M. Jackson



1104297Green Remodeling: your start toward an eco-friendly home 

by John D. Wagner


Also Watch:


Earth: the sequel

from the Discovery Channel


1445369Chasing Ice

directed by Jeff Orlowski


1645558Bill Nye’s Global Meltdown

from National Geographic