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Book Review: Toolbox for Sustainable City Living by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew

This book is inspirational on so many different levels I hardly know where to start.

The premise of the book is that urban areas – where over 50% of the world’s population lives – can be hotbeds of sustainability and creativity. As this book illustrates, city-dwellers can provide for many of their needs in accessible, low-tech ways while simultaneously addressing some of the planets most urgent problems, like air pollution and soil degradation.

All too often people think of cities as huge, dirty, congested, unhealthy places to live. All this is often true. This leads to dreams of living on a small rural property and becoming self-sufficient. But in reality, that choice is not available to everyone. Therefore, we must work with what we have. Kellogg and Pettigrew show us how we can make a huge impact by making relatively simple changes. Moreover, these changes are available to EVERYONE – not just those fortunate enough to be able to purchase hybrid cars or solar panels.

The book is divided into chapters on food, water, waste, energy and bioremediation. Each of these chapters lay out projects that can be accessed by almost any urban dweller, anywhere. They are often scalable so they can be applied to an apartment balcony or an entire neighborhood. And they make use of two resources cities have in abundance – a massive waste stream of useable products and a cultural milieu where ideas proliferate and spread quickly.

If you’re a city dweller and you want to be inspired to create change, right now, where you are, read this book. You won’t regret it.

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