Monday, December 14, 2009

Did you know that.....

....if everyone in the US declined a receipt each time they made an ATM transaction, the paper saved would be enough to circle the equator 15 times?

No, niether did I. I picked up this statistic from 'The Green Book - The Everyday Guide To Saving the Planet One Simple Step At A Time' written by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen and published in 2007 by Three Rivers Press. My local library has a good range of 'green' books, so I thought I might start doing some little reviews. This one in particular was apparently a New York Times Bestseller, so I guess that tells you that a lot of people liked it! - but here's what I think anyway.

What I liked about this book:
* It is one of the most user friendly sustainable living guides I've come across. I'd say it was written with the kind of person in mind who cares about the environment but doesn't have a great deal of spare time and just wants to be told in very simple terms what to do! It is broken down into 12 chapters which cover most areas of life: Entertainment; Travel; Communication/Technology; School; Work; Shopping; Health and Beauty; Sport; Money and Finance; Building; and finally Going Carbon Neutral. Each chapter gives 3 'Simple Steps' that a reader can undertake to live more sustainably. For example, in the 'Work' chapter 'The Simple Steps' are "1. Double-side your copies 2. Carpool 3. Use a ceramic mug for you coffee".
* It explains in concrete terms to the reader exactly what effects their behaviour has upon the environment. For example, in buying a conventional antiperspirant you are also consuming the immense amount of energy required to mine the aluminium contained in this product. Apparently the energy saved by buying an aluminium free deoderant is enough to power a laptop for 30 minutes.
* Its short and sweet and not expensive - I've found it on Amazon for around $10 US.
* Its printed on 100% postconsumer recycled paper and production energy was carbon offset.

What I liked less about this book:
* I guess I can't blame the authors for seeking to target their local audience, but from an Australian reader's perspective (mine) it is very US focussed.
* They've tried to 'sex it up' by including little snippets from Hollywood celebrities. Did you know that Jennifer Aniston only takes 3 minute showers? Do you care?...A particular low point is the rather fatuous Forward co-written by Cameron Diaz.
* Surely some of the suggestions they make are just so incredibly obvious so as to be obsolete? I really hope so, otherwise its very scary! For example, readers are encouraged, when buying bread, to "find loaves that are packaged in only a single wrapper" - ?!
All in all though, I think this book is well worth a read. In fact, it'd make a great Christmas gift.........

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