Transition Milwaukee

Rebuilding Community Resilience & Self-Reliance

Book and Film List

Transition's Favorite Books & Films


  1. Author Richard Heinberg in chronological order
  2. The Party is Over - 2002 Based on Richard reading the seminal work that came out in 1998 from Colin Campbell
  3. Power Down - 2004 Speaks for itself
  4. Oil Depletion Protocol - 2006 A worldwide Kyoto type protocol for Peak Oil
  5. Peak Everything - 2007 Title speaks for itself
  6. Blackout - 2008 Peak coal
  7. Searching for a Miracle - 2009 Net energy of 18 power sources looked at from 10 perspectives - A work of genius as always in only 67 pages
  8. Plan C - Patrick Murphy
  9. The Transition Handbook - Rob Hopkins
  10. Energy Beyond Oil - Paul Mobbs This is the book that Hopkins draws from for the Transition Handbook
  11. A Sand County Almanac - Aldo Leopold
  12. The Long Emergency - Kunstler
  13. Permaculture : A Designer's Manual - Bill Mollison Basically the how to on saving the world from us.
  14. Permaculture : Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability - David Holmgren This is Permaculture's response to peak oil and resource depletion.
  15. The Integral Urban House: Self Reliant Living in the City - The Farallones Institute This 1978 classic has it all.
  16. Flat Rock Journal: A Day in the Ozark Mountains - Ken Carey The definitive book on developing a sense of place.
  17. Bio-diesel Power by Lyle Estill It is more about the story triumph over obstacles than about bio-diesel
  18. Small is Possible by Lyle Estill A play on words of the famous sustainability book Small is Beautiful
  19. Designing the Green Economy: The Postindustrial Alternative to Corporate Globalization - Brian Milani This book looks at a way forward out of the mess.
  20. Bringing It To The Table: On Farming And Food - Wendell Berry (or anything else by Berry)
  21. The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook - Albert Bates Funny but very serious at the same time
  22. Carbon Free & Nuclear-Free, A road-map for U.S. Energy Policy - Arjun Makhijani A more technical version of Plan C
  23. The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook - Greg Pahl The co-op model of energy generation is the focus
  24. Bio-diesel Power - Lyle Estill Much more than just a book about bio-fuel. It's about community responding to the energy crisis. (North Carolina)
  25. Post Carbon Cites: Planning For Energy and Climate Uncertainty - Daniel Lerch The only urban planning book written from a Peak Oil response perspective
  26. The Natural Step - Torbjorn Lahti (Systems approach) Uses same visioning and back-casting as Transition
  27. Better Not Bigger - Eben Fodor Very readable book on planning that debunks growth as the only answer and gets to community building. Case studies of innovations. Brief but incredibly convincing and powerful. No word wasted.
  28. Alcohol Can Be A Gas! - David Blume A bible on smallscale food and energy production that manages to be highly technical, readable and hopeful all at the same time. Makes the case that we live on an abundant planet with the only scarce resource being human know-how in tending nature creatively and working with it instead of against it.
  29. Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money - Woody Tasch A poet philosopher's view of the economy that makes the case that our financial system is no longer serving us, but we are serving it and it is a unworthy master. We must bring our money back down to earth. Has inspired a movement aimed at reviving smallscale farms and food production to do just that.
  30. The Natural Step for Communities - Torbjorn Lahti and Sarah James A readable account outlining the Natural Step Framework for sustainability. This is the guiding holistic, science-based framework that has brought Sweden such great lengths toward sustainability and can be applied here at any level - individual, home, business, community or nation & worldwide. It is comprehensive, yet basic. A marvel, actually.
  31. Eat Here - Brian Halwell Informative gift of a book that challenges the notion that eating anything from anywhere anytime of the year is a good thing. Outlines the extent of the food monopoly we exist under, but is solution-based from a thoughtful and talented journalist.
  32. Fostering Sustainable Behavior - Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith A researcher's take on what the resistance to change is from a habit-by-habit level. The authors make the case that changing the world by altering human patterns of behavior rather than rebuilding our energy grid or other infrastructure changes is a course worth pursuing if we can get a lot more effective at fostering sustainable behavior. Then they proceed to tell of amazing research that shows how.
  33. Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu A reminder that striving, demanding, bullying our way through our existences has never been a particularly successful strategy for humanity. Like Plato's and Socrates' work, an enduring commentary on the perils of following leaders that are addicted to combining power and money.
  34. Ishmael - Daniel Quinn An outsider approach to the challenges we face. I think they work at a more spiritual level than imparting information.
  35. Mutant Messenger - Marlo Morgan
  36. Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry - Elizabeth Grossman Examines the current state of our creating compounds that are toxic, and more.
  37. Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture - by Toby Hemenway
  38. On-site Water Reuse Systems: Using Water to Its Full Potential (G3882) by Kevin Masarik from Cooperative Extension Publishing Water reuse ”the next great advance in water conservation because of its tremendous potential to maximize water use efficiency and reduce our water consumption”is becoming increasingly popular as a tool for Wisconsin citizens and communities to achieve their water conservation goals. On-site Water Reuse Systems: Using Water to Its Full Potential describes on-site water reuse systems that homeowners, builders, and developers can utilize as well as the conservation benefits they can expect. This guide also provides a checklist of the state requirements for installing such systems and lists resources for further information.
  39. $20 per Gallon by Christopher Steiner It's very much worth the effort. I thought the author must have been an economist but Christopher Steiner is an engineer-turned-author. Each chapter describes what will likely happen at a particular price per gallon starting with $6 (since we've seen the impact of $4). I thought he was very insightful and it really fleshed out the implications of high energy prices and how the dominos will fall. But it presents an optimistic angle to how things could work out (i.e. Plan C). He's friendly to nuclear energy but the rest of it is good stuff. :-) Added by another reader: I agree that it is worthy of reading, though I do think he may underestimate the amount of social and political disruption that these prices will cause.
  40. The second issue of Urban Farm magazine hit the shelves today and I thought some of you may be interested. It's already a great publication about sustainable city living. This issue has articles on Growing Power and the Dervaes, as well as greywater, backyard chickens, square foot gardening, etc.
  41. The Toolbox for Sustainable City Living by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew Is a DIY guide for creating locally-based, ecologically sustainable communities in today's cities. Its straightforward text, vibrant illustrations and accessible diagrams explain how urbanites can have local access and control over life's essential resources: food production, water security, waste management, autonomous energy, and bioremediation of toxic soils. Written for people with limited financial means, the book emphasizes building these systems with cheap, salvaged and recycled materials when possible. This book will be an essential tool for transitioning into a sustainable future threatened by the converging trends of global warming and energy depletion.
  42. Where There is No Doctor by Provides practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases. Also focuses on nutrition, infection and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems. Mainly geared toward people living in remote villages, the info is relevant to everyone and especially important among those without health insurance. Book available for FREE download from the Hespian Society: or can be purchased from their website for $22. Topics covered in the book include: * Aquaculture: ponds, plants, fish and algae * Microlivestock and city chickens * Rainwater Harvesting * Low-tech bioremediation: cleaning contaminated soils using plants, fungi and bacteria * Constructed Wetlands/ Greywater * Autonomous energy: bicycle windmills, passive solar * Biofuels: veggie oil vehicles, methane digesters * Struggles for land and gentrification * Humanure and worm composting * Floating Islands to clean stormwater * Asphalt removal and air purification
  43. Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability - David Holmgren


  1. Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
  2. End of Suburbia
  3. Food Inc
  4. Farm for the Future
  5. Wall-E
  6. Blue Gold - An enraging film about water privatization and the looming water crisis. This film might cause you to lose sleep.
  7. The World According to Monsanto - Explains how Monsanto came to be as it is and where it is headed....frightening
  8. The Future of Food - Tells the story of one farmer who has been sued and lost everything because of Monsanto's monopoly on seed stock. This film might cause you to lose sleep too.
  9. Chemical Reaction - Paul Tukey, a reformed chemical lawn guy, who has created a most intriguing film, Chemical Reaction, about the ills of poisoning lawns to torture them to meet a suburban standard of greenness that nature never intended. also speaks about the preventability principle, already adopted in Canada and Europe: if itis likely to do harm...don't do it...which led to a ban on anything but organic products for lawns in Canada.
  10. No Impact Man
  11. Farmegeddon
  12. Collapse
  13. A Crude Awakening:
  14. Flow - For the Love of Water
  15. I.O.U.S.A
  16. Blind Spot
  17. Oil Smoke and Mirrors
  18. Permaculture ethics and design principles
  19. Coming Home
  20. Capitalism hits the fan
  21. Crash Course


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