Tagged with book review

Adventures in Greening: The Green Book

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By Catherine Moran 

It’s been awhile since the last book review, so today’s post is a few words on Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen’s The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time.

This book came out in 2007, which dates a lot of the information found within it. Not only have the Whats we consume changed a bit since then, but the Hows have changed, as well. For example, the section “money and finance” lists a lot of green options that were, at the time, good ideas, but are now the norm: receiving electronic bills, doing your banking and filing your taxes online. Some of their suggestions are slowly being made easier, such as forgoing an ATM receipt. I’m one who likes to keep a record of my banking transactions, so I always took a receipt. These days, I have the option to have my receipt emailed to me, so now I have no problem opting out of a printed receipt and emailing the transaction to myself.

Outdated information aside (there are tips for how to set up voicemail in lieu of having an answering machine), I wasn’t too blown away by this book. The formula bored me fairly quickly: if you do X, we could do X with what we saved. For example: “If 80 percent of students did so [used a binder made from recycled materials], the materials saved could build a binder with an area of 1,240 acres­––larger than the entire campus of the University of California at Berkeley.” I guess that’s a neat visual, but these statistics quickly became something that I glossed over in my reading. I get it. We could do a lot with the things we don’t really need to use. But to continually hit the reader over the head with these “shockers” made me feel slightly insulted after awhile.

Another aspect of this book I didn’t enjoy were the celebrity highlights, which each featured a celebrity sharing why they have bought eco-friendly cars or started using reusable bottles. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not going to change any habits just because I read that Tyra Banks thinks you should go green. None of these celebrity voices offered prescriptive advice (that was left to the body of the book), so I wasn’t sure of their purpose, other than to give themselves a pat on the back. And, I suppose, convince some people who might be on the fence about switching up their habits that if a celebrity can curb his exorbitant lifestyle, you can, too (I’m poking fun here.)

In short, I’d deem this a pass. If you’re looking for a good green read, I’ll always recommend Beth Terry’s Plastic Free. It’s still that good!

Have a great week, greenies! Spring is here – go out and enjoy the green.

 

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 here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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

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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:

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Adventures in Greening: A review of “Practically Green: Your Guide to Ecofriendly Decision-Making”

Practically Green

By Catherine Moran

I purchased Practically Green used from Better World Books. I have to give them a brief plug, because they are pretty neat. From their website:

We’re breaking new ground in online bookselling. We believe that education and access to books are basic human rights. That’s why books sold on BetterWorldBooks.com help fund high-impact literacy projects in the United States and around the world. That’s why we commit to matching every purchase on our website with a book donation to someone in need – Book for Book

All books are available with free shipping worldwide. And in case you’re concerned about your eco-footprint, every order shipped from Mishawaka is carbon balanced with Green-e Climate certified offsets from 3Degrees, a leading green power and carbon balancing services firm.

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Awesome, right? Ok, plug done. On to the book review.

I read Practically Green in one sitting. One of the reasons for this is that there’s a lot of DIY projects included here, many for children (which I do not have, so I skimmed those), and I was reading the book on the subway. As much as I’d like to be able to make “Volcano Sink Scrub” to clean my kitchen sink right after reading the recipe, that is something I’ll have to revisit when I am prepared to make it, not when I’m avoiding getting an armpit in the face as the train takes me to my destination.

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