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Bob Russell's Must-Read Resilience Books

July 12, 2013, 10:32 am

Bob Russell and Sally Van Vleck, owners and proprietors of Neahtawanta Inn on Old Mission peninsula, have been proponents of community resilience for decades, as well as cornerstones in Northern Michigan environmental and peace activism, also founding the Neahtawanta Center, a non-profit organization that works with people and institutions interested in building a sustainable, resilient, and just society.

Russell helped start the Great Lakes Bioneers, the first satellite Bioneers group in the country, and Van Vleck helped start the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council.

Bob and Sally are also long-time members of Oryana; Bob set up Oryana’s first website and assisted in designing a newer version of Natural Food News, Oryana’s newsletter. Bob is now in hospice care as he faces stage-four esophageal cancer. We are so grateful for everything Bob has done both for Oryana and for our community, that we encourage everyone to pick up Bob’s torch by reading one or more books on Bob’s “Resilience Reads”  list. These are books that help us understand what we need to do to continue building our community so that we are economically, environmentally, and socially as healthy and resilient as possible.

You can find these books at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City. Look for a special display right at the store entrance. Happy reading and may we all be inspired by Bob’s legacy and continue to educate ourselves in sustainable living.

Bob Russell’s "Resilience Reads" Book List

  1. FOR THE COMMON GOOD  by Herman E Daly and John B Cobb Jr.
    Our society has swung too far towards individualism dismantling our sense of community membership. Only recognition of the common good can save us. 
  2. THE FUTURE: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore
    A big book, dense with Al Gore's vision of the where history is headed. Gore is a very smart, complicated thinker. Have a dictionary nearby, you'll need it.
  3. SUSTAINABILITY … by The World Watch Institute
    The most recent annual publication from the World Watch Institute.  Sustainability is not a property of Nature, resilience is. Nothing is sustainable in Nature. It is full of change and shifting cycles.
  4. THE WEALTH of NATURE  by John Michael Greer
    This perhaps the most important and easily read book about economics one can choose. Modern day economics theory misses the eternal connection that bonds real wealth to the eco-system services provided to us by our planet.  Money is not wealth.    
    This is a very readable book explaining that there really is no economic market place that runs itself rationally. Economic theories that talk of market forces and the “invisible hand of the market” are artificial and missing the truth.
  6. WHAT'S THE ECONOMY GOOD FOR ANYWAY?  by John DeGraaf and David K Batker
    We need to measure Happiness as a metric for judging our societies success and dump the GDP measurement. We are not just consumers, we are complex human beings and citizens.
    The world has to stop consuming more than the planet can provide. This book describes the transition to a steady state economic reality: development without growth.
  8. PLENITUDE: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor
    Another favorite dealing with steady state economics. Resource availability will be constrained at best; growth will be difficult at best. We need to find another model.
  9. THE ENERGY READER by Laura Nader
    Energy is the common factor in all that we accomplish in life. Looked at this simply, there are real, earth-bound limits to the supply of easy energy in the future. Our future will be characterized by constrained energy supply with unavoidable limits to growth.  
  10. THE LOCALIZATION READER  by Ray DeYoung and Thomas Princen
    A psychologist and a ecologist pull together an unparalleled collection of articles telling how we got to this point in history and where we a going.  
  11. DREAMING THE FUTURE  by Kenny Ausubel
    This book tells how resilient communities survive stresses and change through adaptation and creative emergence.
  12. OWNING THE FUTURE  by Marjorie Kelly
    How do we make the future that will happen be the future that  needs to happen, if human societies are going to survive. What must we grasp first, to change our behavior and not consume too much.
  13. LOCAL DOLLARS LOCAL SENSE  by Michael Shuman
    A must read and local favorite.  The single biggest export that leaves every local community is the sum total of its citizens' investment dollars. They are exported into a world wide financial system which we all know is frail. Shuman tells us why we must learn how to invest in Main St. not Wall St.
  14. REBUILDING THE FOOD SHED  by Philip Ackerman-Leist
    This book tells why and how our food should be grown locally. After all, the wealth of our local soil, and all the food it can provide should be kept as local as much as possible.
  15. FULL PLANET EMPTY PLATES by Lester Brown
    Another powerful book from one of the most cogent thinkers of our time. The message might be scary: the geo politics of our food supply make it ever more frail.
  16. COOKED  by Michael Pollen
    From this book in the author's series on food, our own health and the health of our food system depends one his #1 rule: Cook Your Own Food!
  17. ENGAGING VOICES by Roger S. Gottlieb
    This book is about governance: the process of making  public decisions. It is really about how to listen and how to get along even as we engage differing opinion.
  18. THINKING FAST THINKING SLOW  by Daniel Kahneman
    Also a book about governance: how do we make governance decisions; how can we do it better; how do we engage effectively?
  19. THE WORLD IN 2050 by Laurence C. SmithThis is a fascinating read that simply extrapolates developments already taking place across the far northern hemisphere into the year 2050. What will we look like?
  20.  THE RESILIENCE IMPERATIVE  by Michael LewisThe essential reader for Community Resilience. Resilience is not about our ability to bounce back; it is our about ability to adapt to unpredictable change.
  21. PRINCIPLES OF ECO-SYSTEM STEWARDSHIP  Edited by Chapin III, F Stuart; Kofinas, Gary P. Folke, Carl
    If you like text book style learning or want to teach Resilience thinking this is the one.
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