Book Review: Timely sustainable guidance from Japan’s Edo period

From SFGate
Thanks to Grant Studacker

Some 200 years ago, a community in Japan faced many of the same problems that confront us today – shortages of energy, water, materials and food along with overpopulation. And the thoughtful solutions devised by the 30 million people who lived in what is now the city of Tokyo during the late Edo period (1603-1868) provide practical inspiration for what might be achieved today…

Sustainability lessons

Micro-economies result in better service: Patronize local suppliers, cut out long-distance transport and build relationships within the local economy.

Build homes that are inspirational: Surround yourself with things that remind you of who you are.

Show restraint: Don’t have a house that’s bigger than necessary. Azby Brown recommends reading “The Not so Big House” by Sarah Susanka (Taunton Press; 2001).

Think sustainable: Use natural cooling, renewable and recycled materials, gray-water systems, handcrafted home accessories.

Appreciate the virtues of reconfigured space: Assume your spaces will serve more than one purpose and design accordingly.

Promote new ethical standards: Instead of feeling proud of overconsumption, we should feel embarrassed.

Use the enduring appeal of the garden pavilion: A house within a garden offers repose, ease and a sense of being part of a supportive environment.

Understand the meaning of “good light”: Try to take advantage of natural light.

Consider “cool green curtains”: In the summer, lightweight, removable trellises covered in climbing vines help shade a home’s interior.

Create an urban farm: An edible garden reduces your carbon footprint, counteracts the urban heat-island effect and reconnects us to our locales…

Under the Edo-era guide to sustainable living, each family decides
how much of its garden will function as a farm.

Full story here