Offers 175 actions readers can take to create a more sustainable global environment.
You care about the environment—the world you live in, and the world you are going to leave behind for future generations. Perhaps you already avoid wasting energy and buying more things than you need – reducing your Ecological Footprint. Yet there is a limit, given your family and circumstances. What can you do that will truly help heal our planet?
Our Environmental Handprints is the first book to fully explore your “Handprint” – how you can create sustainability in your life and in the world. Your Handprint is limited only by yourimagination. The good you do can be greater than your Footprint. It is time to put more energy into your Handprint!
The smart beauty of the Handprint is that it can be self-perpetuating. Take planting a tree as an example. You put a seedling into the ground, water it, and then leave it alone. That tree will then grow itself and pull carbon dioxide from the air and create oxygen for us to breathe for as long as it lives. And, seeds from that tree create more trees.
Here, Jon Biemer draws our attention to proven strategies across the spectrum. We make a difference with the choices we make about the clothing we buy, the investments we make, and even the food we choose to eat. Handprint Thinking applies to shelter (eco-remodeling and LEED buildings), motion (electric cars and living without a car), and earth-friendly energy. He provides 175 proven Handprint suggestions that will help readers align their interests, lifestyle, and motivations toward a more sustainable earth.
Jon Biemer has more than forty years of experience creating sustainability including Repair Cafes, Free Cycling, Village Building Convergences, and ballot initiatives for Outdoor School and Clean Energy. Biemer is a mechanical engineer and holds a certificate in Process-oriented Psychology. He has managed utility energy conservation programs and now provides Organizational Development consulting to non-profits. He offsets his Carbon Footprint and buys resale clothing. In 2013 he walked the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route from Alberta to Nebraska with the Compassionate Earth Walk. Over the years, Jon and his wife have planted food forests, eco-remodeled their home, and lived without a power clothes dryer, refrigerator and car.
INTRODUCTION: On the Staff of Our Children
PART I: CREATING SUSTAINABILITY
The Handprint Story. Planting Trees. The Ecological Footprint. Footprint and Handprint Thinking. Voluntary Carbon Offsets. Twelve Handprint Opportunities.
Cleaning Products. Intelligent Clothing. Eliminating Disposables. Six Handprint Opportunities.
PART II: ALLYING WITH HUMANITY
Community Sharing. Repair Cafés. Ecovillages. Village Building Convergence. Community-friendly Businesses. Community Rights. Fourteen Handprint Opportunities.
The Giveaway. Gleaning. Crowdfunding. Online Gifting Platforms. Donating to Environmental Causes. Philanthropy. Nine Handprint Opportunities.
Socially Responsible Investing. Divesting Fossil Fuels. Shareholder Activism. Where Black Rock Goes… Six Handprint Opportunities.
The Earth Charter. Flint’s Water. Landfills. Environmental Justice in Indian Country. Standing Rock. One Congregation’s Initiative. Eight Handprint Opportunities.
Sustaining Entrepreneurs. Education for Sustainable Development. Educating Girls in the Developing World. Contraception in the Developing World. Seven Handprint Opportunities.
PART III: TEACHING AND LEARNING HANDPRINTS
Environmental Literacy. Zoos and Aquariums. Nature Schools. Environmental College Education. Nine Handprint Opportunities.
Exposing Young People to Nature. Ecotourism. Experiential Education. Seven Handprint Opportunities.
PART IV: FOOD HANDPRINTS
Organic Agriculture. Agricultural Carbon Sequestration. Perennials. Intensive Ranching and Farming. Agroforestry. Seven Handprint Opportunities.
Gardening. Farmers Markets. Community Supported Agriculture. Food Labeling. Eating as if the Environment Mattered. Not All Meat is Created Equal. Partnering with Grocery Stores. Fifteen Handprint Opportunities.
PART V: SHELTER, MOTION, AND ENERGY HANDPRINTS
Small Houses. Eco Remodeling. Multifamily Housing. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Ten Handprint Opportunities.
Walking. The Bicycle. The Electric Car. A Low-car Lifestyle. Urban Mass Transit. Inter-city Rail. The Next Generations. Eight Handprint Opportunities.
Energy Efficiency. Wind. Solar Electricity. Distributed Energy. Ten Handprint Opportunities.
PART VI: STEWARDSHIP HANDPRINTS
The Serengeti of America. Endangered Species. Permaculture. Bioremediation. The Superfund. Thirteen Handprint Opportunities.
Pete Seeger’s Legacy. Removing Dams. Water Restoration. Iconic River Revivals. Seven Handprint Opportunities.
The Coast. Marine Protected Areas. Fisheries. Reefs. Signature Marine Species. Marine Pollution Prevention. Ocean Gyres. Six Handprint Opportunities.
PART VII: WITHIN OUR GRASP
Resale. Recycling. The Benefit Corporation. Cradle to Cradle. We the People. Happiness. Ten Handprint Opportunities.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Paris Agreement. Putting a Price on Carbon. Cities (and Everyone Else) versus Climate Change. Eight Handprint Opportunities.
Transitions. Claiming Your Handprints. When Something Breaks. Three Handprint Opportunities.
Twelve Future Collective Handprints. The Prophesy of Jake Swamp.
APPENDIX 1. Drawdown Solutions vis a vis Handprint Opportunities
APPENDIX 2. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This is a heartfelt entreaty from a retired energy conservation consultant to do something, anything, to alleviate the environmental damage wrought by previous generations. Thoroughly grounded in reality, author Biemer's exhortations come across as reassuring, emphasizing the differences even tiny gestures make. He uses the metaphors of handprints, intentional, corrective actions, and footprints, measures of energy consumption and waste production, as ways to help readers develop a climate neutral life plan. As chapters progress, so do his easily achievable, specific, everyday handprint suggestions, going beyond planting trees and wearing vintage clothing to creating neighborhood eco-villages, observing socially responsive investing and sustainable development, and getting kids outdoors, into nature. This ends up almost as a how-to manual, with every chapter ending with a challenge: "How will you honor the soil?"; "How will you become a steward of our oceans?". The multiple solutions make the lessons go down easily, and the concluding sections highlight international economic and political initiatives and individuals who are effecting change. Biemer's final message is that success is within our grasp. Readers should be inspired, informed, and ready to go.
YA Review: Teens will appreciate the relatable anecdotes, practical suggestions, and copious notes
and backmatter that will help with reports.
The Handprint—what a beautiful and elegant metaphor and example for respectfully and lovingly saving our planet from the ravages of climate change and environmental degradation!
This book is for all of us who think that we are doing all that we can to help heal the planet. It is a relief to learn that there are always more ways we can work together to take better care of the precious environment that sustains us all.
Jon Biemer celebrates people’s ability and creativity. It is not just our amazing brains, but even more so our hands that turn ideas into reality. We can leave a positive legacy with our hands, and reverse our massive overuse of Earth’s ecosystems. While inevitably we have an ecological footprint, our handprints can help us, our neighbors, our cities, and our countries not only to find ways to manage our own resource use, but also to build also to build pathways for a world where all can thrive within the means of our planet Earth. Jon’s practical guidance is most welcome inspiration.
The most important thing an individual can do in the fight against global warming is join in the movements reshaping our politics and economies--but many people have creativity to spare, and this volume is a perfect guide to all the personal things that can make a difference too.