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Outdated information aside (there are tips for how to set up voicemail in lieu of having an answering machine), I wasn’t too blown away by this book.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.