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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Books That Give Easy Green Advice

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December 09, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books That Give Easy Green Advice

Book.tree Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week we’re recommending books that offer easy advice about going green.

Green Living for Dummies (by Yvonne Jeffrey, Liz Barclay, and Michael Grosvenor, $20, Wiley, 2008) There’s a Dummies guide to everything (except maybe to Dummies guides) and environmentally friendly living is no exception. This is a comprehensive, encyclopedic guide to giving your life an eco-makeover, balancing practical tips with clear explanations about eco-problems so that the reader understands why riding the bus or washing laundry in cold water makes a difference.

The Environment Equation: 100 Factors That Can Add to or Subtract From Your Total Carbon Footprint (by Alex Shimo-Barry and Christopher J. Maron, $10, Adams Media, 2008). When life gets confusing, it can help to crunch the numbers. This helpful pocket-sized book does just that, putting hard numerals on individual actions that can reduce or add to carbon emissions. While reading, we learn that wearing a sweater instead of using the heater can save 1,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year, while air leaks in your house can add 800 pounds yearly. The book’s design is simple and concise, with carbon-saving actions marked with a green minus sign and wasteful actions marked with a red plus.

Simply Green: Easy Money-Saving Tips for Eco-Friendly Families (by Melissa and David Seligman, $10, Kensington, 2009) This book, written by a stay-at-home mom and an active-duty U.S. serviceman, offers green living tips with a focus on inexpensive, practical things you can do right now. The tone is positive and inclusive –  no putdowns, no guilt for driving an SUV or eating burgers, just steps you can take to make life greener. The authors are married with two kids, and the book is written with families in mind, including a chapter about how to instill environmental awareness in children.

Bag Green Guilt: 5 Easy Steps to Turn Eco-Anxiety Into Constructive Energy (by Jen Pleasants, $13, Show the Love Media, 2009) If you’re the kind of person who frets about the state of the environment but feels helpless to change it, know this: We’ve been there, and we say this book is for you. The author gets into the emotional side of green living and offers a five-step program to help you stop freaking out and start making simple but effective changes. The tone is conversational –  sometimes to the point of rambling –  but reading the book feels like talking with a sympathetic friend.

Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices (by Mindy Pennybacker, $17, St. Martin’s Press, Mar. 2010) Pennybacker has worked at both Glamour magazine and the Natural Resources Defense Council; as it turns out, that mix is a pretty accurate description of the tone and content of Do One Green Thing. There aren’t any green sex tips, but there are helpful “Choose It” and “Lose It” charts and other graphics that make it easy to make the green choice. The attractive, magazine-like layout makes this a book you’ll be likely to thumb through often. Meryl Streep authors the foreword.

--Année Tousseau


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