Blog posts are brilliant for bite-sized tips on sustainable living, but to get a deeper understanding go for books. Nicole Lutze has compiled a list of favourites to inspire change.

RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future

By David Holmgren

Written by David Holmgren, the co-founder of Permaculture, this is a whopping 592-page manual explaining how suburban homes and gardens can be retrofitted for a sustainable and resilient future.

Providing real-life case studies from homes across Australia, this book is all about frugal and low-impact living using the home you have, instead of wasting resources building a new eco-house. Buy it or borrow it.


Down to earth: a guide to simple living

By Rhonda Hetzel

After years of running a business and pushing herself to the limits, Queensland Grandmother, Rhonda Hetzel, found herself burnt out in her early 50s. Knowing serious changes were required, she closed her business, and with no income, began to explore a new way of living.

Focusing on the resources she had at hand, Rhonda transformed her Sunshine Coast block into a thriving vegetable garden, complete with chickens. She learned how to make soap, pickle and preserve the fruits of her labour, bake bread and return to a simple and frugal existence. She shares all her learnings and recipes in this empowering how-to guide.

Rhonda is the author of an award-winning blog Down to Earth as well as three simple living books. Buy it or borrow it.


Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture

By Dr Bruce Pascoe

Written to debunk the hunter-gather perception of Aboriginal Australians, Bunurong man Dr Bruce Pascoe, puts forward a compelling evidence-based history of how Aboriginal people domesticated plants, sowed seeds, harvested, irrigated and stored foods.

Understanding how our continent was sustainably inhabited for centuries is crucial to visualising a future Australia that respects the land, its people and resources.

For the younger readers, Dr Pascoe has also written, Young Dark Emu, aimed at children age 10+.  Buy them or borrow them


The Seed Savers’ Handbook

By Michael and Jude Fanton

A must-have book for any gardener, this handbook provides all the information you need to cultivate and save seeds from your own garden. Written by the founders of Australia’s Seed Savers’ Network, the book explores the importance of keeping seeds to protect biodiversity and also explores the culinary and medicinal uses of more than 100 plant varieties. It’s the perfect book to encourage environmental protection and cost-saving techniques. Buy it or borrow it.


The Art of Frugal Hedonism

By Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb

A brilliant reality check by the authors of The Weed Forager’s Handbook. Witty and refreshing, this book proves that frugal and sustainable living is not all about deprivation. Packed full of tips to help examine the thought processes behind our personal and societal habits, this is a novel to encourage happiness by freeing yourself from the consumer cycle. Buy it or borrow it.


Curing Afluenza: How to buy less stuff and save the world

By Richard Denniss

Economist, Richard Denniss, defines affluenza as, “That strange desire we feel to spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t know.” Sound familiar? Then get reading!

Focused on understanding the cultural problems associated with affluenza, Denniss proposes a cure through achievable and enjoyable changes that encourage new ways of thinking and living.  Buy it or borrow it.


2040: A Handbook for the Regeneration

By Damon Gameau

Determined to provide a positive outlook for our future instead of a dystopia, Damon Gameau created the documentary film, 2040. Both the film and the book explore how the world could look by 2040 if we started doing things differently right now to avoid climate catastrophe.

Packed full of extras that wouldn’t fit into the film, this handbook explains how we can use everyday activities such as cooking, shopping, gardening, and sharing within our communities to create a better future. Bonus: it includes 50 recipes. Buy it or borrow it.


Quitting Plastic: Easy and practical ways to cut down the plastic in your life

By Clara Williams Roldan and Louise Williams

Written by a mother and daughter duo, Clara, is a policy and legislative advisor in NSW Parliament, while Louise is a Walkley-award winning journalist and writer. Each author brings their own professional skill set and experience to this book, to provide a useful and easy-to-read handbook.

The book includes all the basics of how to avoid wearing, eating, drinking and using plastic, and shares some of the shocking truths about the impact plastic has had on our environment and health to date. Buy it or borrow it.