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Talk and Book Signing with local author, Courtney White, the former Executive Director of Quivira Coalition (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s easy to feel small in the face of big planetary problems. As individuals, we can’t prevent deforestation, stop sea-level rise, or save the polar bears; nor can we single-handedly develop cheap sources of clean energy or prevent water and food shortages.
But in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, Courtney White reassures us small is okay. He details a list of 50 “low-cost, low-tech, nature-based solutions” that substitute for expensive technologies and ineffective global treaties and can lead, he believes, to big changes.
White’s guide is split into five sections–ranching, farming, technology, restoration and wilderness–each of which introduces 10 thoughtful, often overlooked fixes for a host of environmental problems. White leads us along with questions ranging from simple (“What should we eat if we want to be healthy?”) to hopeful (“Can the carbon content of soil be doubled in less than ten years?”) to how-is-this-possible (“What if we saw human waste as a potential resource instead of a persistent headache?”).
There’s a good chance you won’t be able to practice all of White’s 50 solutions. City-dwellers probably won’t be training cows to eat invasive weeds, for example. But even the farming and ranching sections provide useful advice for urbanites, whether it’s highlighting the importance of eating grassfed meat or planting a farm on the roof.
Each solution is part of what White calls a “synergistic whole—a vision of renewability, vitality, and careful stewardship.” Many are interconnected, and one may inspire you to try another. In other words, if you can’t devote all your time and energy to saving the planet but still want to play a role, however small, in ensuring its survival and recovery, this book will help.
About Courtney White
A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, Courtney White dropped out of the ‘conflict industry’ in 1997 to co-found the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists and others around practices that improve land health (see www.quiviracoalition.org). Today, his writing and conservation work focuses on building economic and ecological resilience on working landscapes, with a special emphasis on carbon ranching and the new agrarian movement.
His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, the Natural Resources Journal and Solutions. His essay The Working Wilderness: a Call for a Land Health Movement” was published by Wendell Berry in 2005 in his collection of essays titled The Way of Ignorance.
In 2008, Island Press published Courtney’s book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West. He co-edited, with Dr. Rick Knight, Conservation for a New Generation, also published by Island Press in 2008.
In 2010, Courtney was given the Michael Currier Award for Environmental Service by the New Mexico Community Foundation. In 2012, he was a writer-in-residence at the U Cross Foundation, in northwestern Wyoming, and he was the first Aldo Leopold Writer-in-Residence at Mi Casita, in Tres Piedras, New Mexico, courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service.
In 2012, he published a collection of black-and-white photographs of the American West in an online book titled The Indelible West. It includes a Foreword by Wallace Stegner (written in 1992). See: www.indeliblewest.com
In 2014, his book Grass, Soil, Hope: a Journey through Carbon Country was published by Chelsea Green Press and included a Foreword by Michael Pollan.
In early 2015, Counterpoint Press published a collection of his essays titled Age of Consequences: a Chronicle of Concern and Hope with an Introduction by Wendell Berry.
In fall 2015, Chelsea Green Press will publish his book Two Percent Solutions for the Planet: 50 Low-cost, Low-tech, Nature-based Practices for Combating Hunger, Drought and Climate Change.
More of Courtney’s work can be found on his web site: www.awestthatworks.com.
He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his family and a backyard full of chickens.
About the Book:
We live in an era of big problems, and we tend to spend our time thinking of big solutions. Thinking big, however, can have a paralyzing effect on taking action.
In Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, author Courtney White takes readers on a journey around the country—and the world—where low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions are regenerating the planet now, rather than in some distant future.
Two Percent Solutions for the Planet profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality and quantity. Why “two percent? It is an illustrative number—not a scientific one—meant to stimulate our imaginations. It refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work done.
Big solutions, in other words, can be accomplished for small costs. They are solutions that are regenerative over the long haul, meaning they replete rather than deplete people, animals, plants, soil and other natural resources.
Best of all, we don’t have to invent anything new. A host of these innovative ideas and methods that put carbon back into the soil have been field-tested and proven to be practical and profitable. They’re mostly low-tech, too, relying on natural resources such as sunlight, green plants, animals, compost, beavers, creeks, and more, and are up and running across the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Australia.
These methods include holistic grazing, edible backyard forests, biochar, weed-eating livestock, food co-ops, rooftop farms in big cities, bioenergy, animal power, bees, bears, wildlife corridors, rainwater harvesting, native seeds, and a wide variety of other regenerative practices.
As readers learned in White’s previous book Grass, Soil, Hope, a highly efficient carbon cycle captures, stores, releases, and recaptures biochemical energy, mitigating climate change, increasing water storage capacities in soil, and making green plants grow.
The short, engaging success stories in White’s latest book will inspire readers to connect the dots between diverse, exciting, and pragmatic practices, and to dig deeper into each concept, energized by the news that solutions do exist, and many can be put into action in their own community.
Praise for Two Percent Solutions for the Planet
“An excellent read and source of ideas for farmers anywhere. With agriculture today producing twenty times as much dead, eroding soil as food required per human each year, it is time to return to farmer creativity. Courtney White’s book shows us how creative and observant farmers and ranchers are finding solutions to many of the most challenging problems we face.”
—Allan Savory, president, Savory Institute; chairman, Africa Centre for Holistic Management
“Courtney White has written one of the most important books for our time about how to reverse climate change and nourish the world with abundant, healthy food. Most importantly, he describes proven, ‘shovel-ready’ solutions that progressive ranchers and farmers are doing every day. There is no need to spend billions of dollars on new, unproven technologies such as carbon capture and geoengineering. For a fraction of the cost, the world easily could scale up the regenerative practices profiled in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet. Too good to be true? Read this book and make up your own mind.”
— André Leu, president, IFOAM-Organics International; author of The Myths of Safe Pesticides
“Taking soil seriously offers real leverage in the climate change battle. For those who eat (or raise) meat, Two Percent Solutions for the Planet offers fascinating new insights about animal agriculture. For those who eat lower on the food chain, Courtney White details dozens of other ways to help restore the degraded landscapes that, sadly, dominate much of our planet.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
“Courtney White’s Two Percent Solutions for the Planet features good sense paired with 50 solutions to our planet’s ills, especially those related to carbon. While each solution could be a book in itself, these short profiles may well be the way many people first discover that such solutions are in the offing. It’s a brilliant way to inform readers so that they’ll prick up their ears when they encounter possible actions based on solutions such as these. This accessible, hope-filled, and beautifully crafted book should be in every school—if not simply everywhere.”
—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy
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