Authored and coauthored books of mine, including fiction and nonfiction – with more to come!
Novel Early Hour Press 2018
Without warning, Dr. Bryce Miller, a young doctor in Boston, inherits a large, historic ranch in northern New Mexico from a wealthy uncle she barely knew. She flies out to sell The Sun to the highest bidder, but things get complicated when a body is found murdered on the ranch. Is it a warning meant for her? Meanwhile, she must choose among a colorful cast of suitors who want to turn the working cattle ranch into either: an upscale housing development with golf courses, an oil-and-gas field, a nature preserve, a casino resort, the underground home for a doomsday cult, or the plaything of a shadowy business mogul. Each is willing to pay a large sum of money – and maybe do anything – to get the ranch. Bryce has seven days to decide.
“I am not at all a mystery reader, but I absolutely loved The Sun and I can’t think of a better person than Courtney White to tell this tale of the New West. The Sun is a true page turner and very informative about ranching and the West whether you live in the region or hope to visit. A very engrossing read, indeed!” – Deborah Madison, author of In My Kitchen and Vegetable Literacy
Nonfiction Book Chelsea Green 2014
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food. Grass, Soil, Hope takes readers on an entertaining journey on how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole.
“Hope in a book about the environmental challenges we face in the 21st century is an audacious thing to promise, so I’m pleased to report that Courtney White delivers on it. He has written a stirringly hopeful book.” – Michael Pollan, from the Foreword
Collection of Essays Counterpoint Press 2015
We live in what sustainability pioneer Wes Jackson calls “the most important moment in human history.” The various challenges confronting us are like a bright warning light in the dashboard of a speeding vehicle called Civilization, accompanied by an insistent buzzing sound. I called this moment the Age of Consequences – a time when the worrying consequences of our hard partying over the past sixty years have begun to raise anguished questions. The book is a series of essays that blend headlines with personal narrative and observation, travel, research, and hopeful answers.
“White strikes a refreshing tone that will resonate with readers turned off by the superior or condescending attitudes of some environmentalist writers…Throughout, he balances abstract questions and ideas with tangible life experiences…Readers will be engaged by his frank and thoughtful discussion of our modern environment.” – Kirkus Review
Two Percent Solutions for the Planet: 50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech, Nature-Based Practices for Combating Hunger, Drought and Climate Change
Nonfiction book Chelsea Green 2015
This book profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality and quantity. Why “two percent”? It is an illustrative number meant to stimulate our imaginations. It refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost needed to get this work done. Using photographs, graphics and short essays, the book is a great introduction.
“This book is Courtney White’s most important work. It is the best practical guide to how we can begin to address the significant, unavoidable challenges awaiting us in our not-too-distant future. It inspires us to address these challenges creatively, especially with respect to our food and agriculture future, and to do it in cooperation with nature in ways that also heal the planet.” – Frederick Kirschenmann, author and farmer
Collection of Profiles and Essays Island Press 2008
‘While conventional wisdom told us compromise was impossible, a small group of ranchers and environmentalists crossed enemy lines for the sake of preserving the land they all deeply loved. And remarkable changes started to occur…Courtney White brings us the story of these peacemakers, including White himself, who began turning resentment, conflict, and suspicion into respect, cooperation, and trust. It is a powerful lesson in resolving environmental challenges, not just on the range but across the land.’ – Island P.
“In a time when environmental reporting has become justifiably gloomy, this book is a refreshing breath of pragmatic optimism. White’s vision of stewardship, openness to new ideas, giving as well as taking, and flexibility will inspire anyone who loves humanity or the great outdoors.” – Publishers Weekly
Coauthored Book Penguin 2021
Paul Hawken hired me as Senior Writer on the sequel to his landmark book Drawdown, which detailed more than a hundred practical solutions to climate change. Regeneration expands his vision to encompass a a regenerative world at every level.
“Paul describes the most important solutions to the environmental and social problems we have brought upon ourselves, and shows how they are inseparably linked. Regeneration is honest and informative, a rebuttal to doomsayers who believe it is too late. He echoes my sincere belief that we have a window of time, that there are practical solutions, and that we and all our institutions can initiate and implement them in order to restore life climatic stability and on Earth.” – Jane Goodall from her Introduction
Coauthored Book Chelsea Green 2018
Gabe Brown is a pioneering regenerative farmer/rancher in North Dakota. We worked together to get his story into print. The book is a chronicle of the Brown family’s twenty-year journey into regenerative agriculture utilizing cash crops and cover crops with no-till farming integrated with livestock production. It is also an eloquent articulation of the ecological and philosophical principles of regenerative agriculture.
“The Brown Ranch demonstrates that we can be united by our common need for healthy soil. Your body needs nourishment, which means we need healthy food produced from healthy soil—not dirt—which we can accomplish only via biology, not chemistry. If we want to heal divisions, be resilient, and create opportunities for our children then we need to start with soil and work our way up, one plant and one animal at a time. It can be done, as the Browns show, if we set our minds to the task.” – from my Introduction
Coauthored Book Chelsea Green 2019
Rebecca Burgess is an author, artist, activist, founder and director of Fibershed, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to regenerative textiles, clothing, and fiber farming. I was honored to coauthor her book.
“This book offers an alternate vision of change, one that focuses on transforming our clothing from the bottom up. It argues that everyone involved in textiles, including grassroots organizers, fashion pundits, investors, and transnational brands, needs to understand that place-based textile sovereignty offers a myriad of globally impactful solutions… Enhancing social, economic, and political opportunities for communities to define and create their fiber and dye systems is key to a new global textile re-design process.” – Rebecca from her Introduction
Coauthored Book Chelsea Green 2023
I had the honor of working with Dorn Cox, a visionary leader in carbon farming, open-source networking, and public science. The goal of the book is to explore an emerging commons of ecologically-informed farmers and ranchers who use pragmatic idealism and new technology to bridge urban-rural divides and create a regenerative agriculture that is networked, civically engaged and transformative.
“The advent of the Information Age reveals a radical alternative for human potential – a vision not of the earth as an industrial spaceship with fixed stores of food and fuel in the hold but as a living ecosystem based on the regenerative recycling potential of life. This alternative sees humans as a beneficial species working by informed action presents a unique opportunity to reclaim the purpose of science and agriculture as a shared human endeavor.” – Dorn Cox, from the book
History Book Dog Ear Press 2013
For four seasons during 1992-1995, I worked as a documentary archaeologist at Pecos National Historical Park, located near Santa Fe. I kept a journal with the goal of writing a book about the tribulations of the national park idea in the modern world, a hot topic at the time. In the end, I wrote an admiring history of the park instead – and by extension a portrait of northern New Mexico, my new home.
“No other national park unit in the nation can tell the story of human history in North America as Pecos can; and no other park can do so with the aid of such an attractive landscape… Everywhere I went in the park, I ran into beauty and intrigue. Better yet, nearly every enchantment concealed a secret: the foundations of an abandoned home in a pasture, the remains of an old mill in a grove of river trees…We often joked that the whole park was one big archaeological site, and we were not far wrong. Beauty and history are interwoven at Pecos and their inseparability made every day an adventure…” – from my Introduction
Three Columns: The Uneasy Chair; The Far Horizon; The Next West Dog Ear Press 2016
This book combines three columns that I wrote over sixteen years (1995-2011) – the first for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club; the second for the Quivira Coalition; and the last one for my web site. The first two columns chronicle the rise of collaborative conservation and regenerative agriculture in the Southwest from a front-line perspective; the third column explores the broken promise of the so-called New West.
The term radical center was coined by Bill McDonald, a rancher in southern Arizona and cofounder of the Malpai Borderlands Group, a pioneering collaboration between ranchers, conservationists, scientists, and public land managers. It describes a ‘third way’ beyond polarization, a grassroots convening of diverse people to discuss their common interests rather than argue their differences. The radical center means to work cooperatively on a pragmatic program of action that improves the well-being of all living things.
Invitation to Join the Radical Center (a declaration I cowrote in 2003)
Novel to be published
Daniel notices a young woman behaving oddly in an upscale grocery store where she marvels at the bounty of food for sale. Thinking she must be a spy for a foreign government because of the high-tech watch she wears, he strikes up a conversation with her that changes his life utterly. Jo is a spy, but not the usual kind. She is a time traveler on a one-way mission to record information desperately needed in the future, employing technology – and special powers – that don’t exist yet, as Daniel discovers.
Though Jo won’t divulge details, things have gone badly wrong in the future, including politically. She needs his help to complete five Tasks and as they work together, Daniel begins to see our world very differently. Meanwhile, a shadowy group known as The Chasers pursues them as Jo attempts to complete her assignments before her time runs out. Danger and urgency bring Daniel and Jo closer until they fall in love despite the impossibility of their situation. After a brief parting, they become inseparable.