Adventures in Greening: a review of “Do One Green Thing”

9780312559762

By Catherine Moran

Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices by Mindy Pennybacker is a quick read. Unlike Micaela Preston’s Practically Green (which I reviewed a few weeks ago), this book is less of a DIY instructional and more of a guidebook for how to make smarter purchases. If you are not trying to go plastic-free like Beth Terry (my review here), then this is a great book to have on hand. Pennybacker makes her purpose very clear in the book’s overview: “This book is for the person who doesn’t do or buy everything green, but who wants to make a difference where it matters.”

The book is broken down into four parts: “Food and Drink,” “A Green and Healthy Home,” “Personal Care and Apparel,” and “Transportation.” There are recipes in the home section, but that’s as far as Do One Green Thing goes in steering you toward becoming a bit less dependent on brands and becoming more reliant on your own ingenuity and “can-do” attitude.

Pennybacker includes “choose it” and “lose it” lists in each section to help you make your purchases greener at a glance. For certain items, she’ll provide multiple lists.  For example, in the “Food and Drink” section, she has a list of fish that are best for the ocean (in terms of avoiding overfishing), and a list of fish that are best for your health. Pennybacker acknowledges that personal considerations are sometimes more important than green decisions, which makes this a guilt-free read. Each section also ends with a “science” segment, which explains why these choices that are better for the planet are also better for you, healthwise.

She also includes some amazing statistics that made my jaw drop, such as:

• “If every U.S. home replaced one standard incandescent bulb with a CFL, we’d collectively conserve enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year.”

• “If every U.S. household replaced one bottle of petroleum-based detergent with a plant-based one, 149,000 barrels of oil could be saved.”

• “If every American chose one organic instead of a non-organic cotton T-shirt, we’d keep 250,000 tons of chemicals out of our air, water, and soil.”

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Perhaps most helpful of all (I have yet to come across one so comprehensive), Pennybacker includes a list of retailers and companies in the “Clothing” section that are the most green, as well as a list of retailers that sell recycled fashions.

I definitely recommend this book for trying to go greener. You could start by purchasing this book used!

Have a great week, greenies!

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter @folowbredcrumbs, or check out her excellent book blog.

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