Resources I Recommend

People often ask me what books and resources they can use to improve their knowledge and learn more about sustainability and community.

I put together this page as a handy reference. I’ll keep updating it as I come across new resources.

Building Community

Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community – Kindle Edition

Finding community is as critical as obtaining food and shelter, since the need to belong is what makes us human. The isolation and loneliness of modern life have led many people to search for deeper connection, which has resulted in a renewed interest in intentional communities. These intentional communities or ecovillages are an appealing choice for like-minded people who seek to create a family-oriented and ecologically sustainable lifestyle—a lifestyle they are unlikely to find anywhere else.

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However, the notion of an intentional community can still be a tremendous leap for some—deterred perhaps by a misguided vision of eking out a hardscrabble existence with little reward. In fact, successful ecovillages thrive because of the combined skills and resources of their members.

Finding Community presents a thorough overview of ecovillages and intentional communities and offers solid advice on how to research thoroughly, visit thoughtfully, evaluate intelligently, and join gracefully. Useful considerations include:

  • Important questions to ask (of members and of yourself)
  • Signs of a healthy (and not-so-healthy) community
  • Cost of joining (and staying)
  • Common blunders to avoid

Finding Community provides intriguing possibilities to readers who are seeking a more cooperative, sustainable, and meaningful life.

Diana Leafe Christian is the author of Creating a Life Together and editor of Communities magazine. She lives at Earthhaven Ecovillage in North Carolina.


Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities

Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities

Creating a Life Together is the only resource available that provides step-by-step practical information distilled from numerous firsthand sources on how to establish an intentional community. It deals in depth with structural, interpersonal and leadership issues, decision-making methods, vision statements, and the development of a legal structure, as well as profiling well-established model communities. This exhaustive guide includes excellent sample documents among its wealth of resources.

Diana Leafe Christian is the editor of Communities magazine and has contributed to Body & Soul, Yoga Journal, and Shaman’s Drum, among others. She is a popular public speaker and workshop leader on forming intentional communities, and has been interviewed about the subject on NPR. She is a member of an intentional community in North Carolina.

Communication Skills

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides)

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides) 3rd Edition


What is Violent Communication?
If “violent” means acting in ways that result in hurt or harm, then much of how we communicate—judging others, bullying, having racial bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating, speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people—could indeed be called “violent communication.”
What is Nonviolent Communication? Nonviolent Communication is the integration of four things:

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• Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of compassion, collaboration, courage, and authenticity

• Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance

• Communication: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move toward solutions that work for all

• Means of influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others”

Nonviolent Communication serves our desire to do three things:
• Increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection

• Connect empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships

• Sharing of resources so everyone is able to benefit


Authentic Relating: A Guide to Rich, Meaningful, Nourishing Relationships

Authentic Relating: A Guide to Rich, Meaningful, Nourishing Relationships

Authentic relating is a groundbreaking practice that offers people a way to create profoundly enriching, enlivening, and nourishing relationships in all social domains of life — from the bedroom to the boardroom, with intimate partners, friends, colleagues, perfect strangers, and everyone in between.

Authentic Relating covers every aspect of the practice, introducing readers to skills and tools that have been tested and proven by thousands of people around the world to develop and ultimately master relational intelligence.

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After reading this book, you’ll be able to:

• Create nourishing relationships that are built on trust, honesty, integrity, and wholeness

• Spark deep, meaningful, soulful conversations with anyone, anytime, anywhere

• Transform conflict into deeper connection, understanding, and empathy

• Identify and honor your core needs, desires, and boundaries, and those of others

“This is such a useful, comprehensive, insightful, and well-written book. Ryel has a way of framing complex interpersonal dynamics so any reader, whether they have a background in authentic relating or not, can easily connect with the material. I believe Ryel has made good on his promise that absolutely anyone can learn the tools and skills of authentic relating and experience a life-changing shift in the quality of all their relationships.” –Susan Campbell, author of Getting Real and From Triggered to Tranquil

“From the fire of his own hard-won experience, Ryel guides us into the healing temple where relationship is revealed to be path. Grounded, practical, and wise, Authentic Relating is a true gift for anyone interested in the felt experience of aliveness, beauty, and meaning. Take this book into your heart and the gold will be yours.” –Matt Licata, PhD, author of A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times

“I am convinced that there are two things we need to do as a species, before we can save ourselves: (1) Learn how to healthily express and resolve our repressed feelings; (2) Learn how to communicate in a safe, authentic manner. This brilliant, revolutionary book moves the needle in both directions. It gives me hope. Highly recommended!” –Jeff Brown, author of Grounded Spirituality and Hearticulations.

“Ryel has an immense commitment, mastery and passion in supporting people to develop relational skills that make their life better in concrete ways. This book holds the most important keys to help you build more nourishing, powerful and enlivening connections across your life. It’s down to earth and easy to understand yet points directly to the magic and depths that are possible for us in our relationships.” –John Thompson, co-founder of Circling Europe

“Authentic relating changed my life, shifting me from an unaware, often narcissistic and reactive, wounded human to an awake, aware, empathetic, and caring soul. In the past, the only way to learn these tools was to attend a program and directly from a master teacher or trainer. Now, with Ryel’s book, the tools of authentic relating are accessible to anyone who wants to integrate healthy relating into their life and work. Read the book, use the tools, and become the person you’ve always believed yourself to be.” —Ali Katz, CEO of New Law Business Model and founder of Eyes Wide Open Life

“For a long time, communication skills have been relegated to the rooms of work seminars or therapy. Ryel makes the most compelling case I’ve ever seen for why these skills are absolutely essential for our daily lives. Through stories, examples, and games, he gives us an easy and direct way to apply them in every moment of connection. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn the essential life skills we are never taught but expected to know: how to human better, and connect with anyone else in our lives.” —Sara Ness, Founder of Authentic Revolution


State of society

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: A radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety

‘A book that could actually make us happy’ SIMON AMSTELL
‘This amazing book will change your life’ ELTON JOHN
‘One of the most important texts of recent years’ BRITISH JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE
‘Brilliant, stimulating, radical’ MATT HAIG
‘The more people read this book, the better off the world will be’ NAOMI KLEIN
‘Eye-opening’ GUARDIAN
‘Brilliant for anyone wanting a better understanding of mental health’ ZOE BALL
‘A game-changer’ DAVINA MCCALL
‘Extraordinary’ DR MAX PEMBERTON

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Depression and anxiety are now at epidemic levels. Why? Across the world, scientists have uncovered evidence for nine different causes. Some are in our biology, but most are in the way we are living today.

Lost Connections offers a radical new way of thinking about this crisis. It shows that once we understand the real causes, we can begin to turn to pioneering new solutions – ones that offer real hope.


Renewable Energy

Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy-and Our Planet-from Dirty Energy

Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy-and Our Planet-from Dirty Energy

Here is the truth that the powerful Dirty Energy public relations machine doesn’t want you to know: the ascent of solar energy is upon us. Solar-generated electricity has risen exponentially in the last few years and employment in the solar industry has doubled since 2009. Meanwhile, electricity from coal has declined to pre-World War II levels as the fossil fuel industry continues to shed jobs.

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Danny Kennedy systematically refutes the lies spread by solar’s opponents—that it is expensive, inefficient, and unreliable; that it is kept alive only by subsidies; that it can’t be scaled; and many other untruths. He shows that we need a rooftop revolution to break the entrenched power of the coal, oil, nuclear, and gas industries Solar energy can create more jobs, return our nation to prosperity, and ensure the sustainability and safety of our planet. Now is the time to move away from the dangerous energy sources of the past and unleash the amazing potential of the sun.


Microgrids and the Future of Energy: Ten Implications for Corporate Sustainability

Microgrids and the Future of Energy: Ten Implications for Corporate Sustainability

Today’s energy markets are undergoing a transformation. The top-down monopoly system dominated by large-scale fossil and nuclear power plants that send power to passive consumers is shifting to a dynamic, bi-directional network increasingly dependent upon distributed resources. An increasing diversity of technology, fuels and ownership plays a starring role.

A key technology necessary to this new distributed energy future is a microgrid. When Thomas Edison helped birth today’s electric utility industry, his original vision was a series of microgrids, serving customers from on-site power generation. Over time, however, a “bigger is better” mentality drove the market to monopoly structures. Today, huge declines in the cost of modular technologies such as rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) are challenging the status quo, requiring innovation in hardware and software — and new business models to allow corporations seeking an edge toward sustainability.

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What is a microgrid? The Department of Energy calls it “a group of interconnected customer loads and distributed energy resources (DER) within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity that can connect and disconnect from the grid (known as “islanding”).

The key defining feature is the capability to island itself off from the larger power grid during times of a blackout. But it also helps integrate distributed renewables into utility-scale resources. Ironically enough, the term “microgrid” originally was applied to systems that optimized resources into a network not connected to any utility grid. The United Nations has identified this latter business model and opportunity as the key pathway to providing universal access to energy for the developing world.

The 10 key trends presented in this book offer strong implications for any corporate entity seeking to understand how this new wave of deregulation and innovation will affect its triple bottom line.



Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the links. Thank you for your support. Please only purchase the products if you believe they will add value to you.