Heat – A Book On Global Warming

Today I found an interesting summary review of the recently released book – Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning – about which David Suzuki said:

This book is a brilliant and terrifying critique of the crisis of human-induced climate change, and the prospects of stabilizing temperatures before catastrophic runaway warming ensues.

George Monbiot brushes aside our rationalizations to maintain the status quo, shallow targets and mechanisms, and the empty promises of political rhetoric and corporate PR spin, to examine the real opportunities and what has to be done to achieve up to 90 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the industrialized nations.

Source: Amazon.com: Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning: Books: George Monbiot

The review /summary I found is split over two good length posts by David Pollard and gives a good taste for where the author is going with his argument, from the first post…

WorldChanging the Book

I’ve recently discussed with the editors of this book and website to be included/invited on the list of Canadian blog authors on Worldchanging.com, (in light of our upcoming move to Canada), and once again, I’d like to give a shout-out to their recently release book, (#18 on Amazon.com today!)…

Bill McKibben calls it “the Whole Earth Catalog retooled for the iPod generation.”

BusinessWeek says the book “reads like a smart, hip mini-encyclopedia of what’s new and what’s next in green technologies and earth-conscious ideas.”

Climate champion Laurie David calls it “The seminal resource guide for anyone concerned about today and the future.”

Earth Day founder Denis Hayes says, “Worldchanging might well be the most complete, compelling articulation of the possible look and feel and actual operation of a sustainable society ever written.”

New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert says “Read it: it may change your life.”

Grist says “Buy a few copies and give them as gifts. Buy one for your local coffee shop or cafe to leave out for public perusal. Buy one and send it to Sen. James Inhofe. But be sure to buy it.”

Source: WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: Help Make Worldchanging a Bestseller – 5 Things You Can Do Today

Check out the reviews on Amazon.com – Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century – 5 stars!

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Urban Books – Wishlist

From time to time I come across reviews or press releases of great books.  Here are two that have made it onto my wishlist.

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century

The guys from Worldchanging.com have released their book, and it looks great, you can get it from amazon, click on the image to the right to buy it.  At the moment, it is about 40% off the retail price, so if you are interested in that sort of thing, get it now!

The Fifty Dollar House

Today we made the second step in our commitment to building our first earth covered home. The first was a couple of years ago when we purchased the Australian Earth Covered Buildings book by Sydney Baggs, which after reading much US and European information on the web, gave an excellent Australian perspective of the types and forms of construction, and from their experience as Australia’s preeminent earth covered homes architects, give a great insight into the technology and its benefits in the Australian Climate. I would provide a link to Amazon, but when there is one available at $150 US, I think the provided link to the author’s website will set you in better stead.


Today we purchased another book, this time The $50 & Up Underground House by Mike Oehler which gets great reviews. We’ll blog a review of the book as we work through it, and probably provide some online sketches as our design ideas develop.

About UrbanWorkbench

UrbanWorkbench represents the intersection between Urban Planning, Design and Civil Engineering. True to its name, the site is intended to act as a workbench, an area where ideas are fleshed out, concepts are discussed and debated, and new technologies are reported on and reviewed.

Mike and Robyn are both Civil Engineers. Mike is the Engineer for the City of Rossland, and Robyn works as a consultant in the Urban Land and Municipal Design sectors as a design engineer and project manager. We have an interest in sustainable engineering design within urban areas, having worked on the design of large scale residential housing, road corridor and industrial sites where sustainability has been a driving design criteria. Other experience includes road and subdivision design, golf course subdivision, on-site sewer and stormwater treatment, waste transfer station design, sewer pressure main (rising main) design, and solutions for sustainable total water cycle management strategies.

Mike and Robyn contributed to the Australian Federal Government’s House of Representatives Standing Committee for the Environment, providing a paper on the role of green roof technology in the goal of developing sustainable cities in Australia. 

Mike has also contributed articles at the following websites:

Currently Mike and Robyn are living in Castlegar, BC, Canada, in the beautiful West Kootenays region.


UrbanWorkbench is a community driven venture where comments and ideas are discussed freely. Of particular interest to the authors is the use of technology and design to gain sustainable outcomes.

If you have anything you would like to contribute, please feel free to reach us by using the contact form or leaving a comment on the site.