Saturday, August 1, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Posted by Bill of the Birds at 6:01 PM
As the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest magazine, I get a lot of nature and birding books sent to me for review. Most of them I send off to BWD's hand-picked reviewers, often folks with an interest or expertise in the subject matter of each title. When Sleeping Naked is Green landed on my desk, I was intrigued enough to keep this one for myself.
Sleeping Naked is Green was written by a fellow journalist (she writes for The National Post in Toronto) and blogger, Vanessa Farquharson, who, as a self-professed eco-cynic, wanted to see what all this green stuff was all about. She challenged herself to make one green change in her life per day for an entire year. And then she wrote about each change—how she accomplished it, felt about it, and how it affected her (and the universe). Initially she wrote about these daily changes on her blog, which eventually attracted a significant worldwide readership and a book deal.
Having just finished Sleeping Naked I wanted to share it (and my reaction to it) with BOTB's readers. Why? Because this is a really interesting book. Ms. Farquharson writes with a delightfully light touch. I admit that I felt some trepidation as I started reading—trepidation that it was going to be a bit of a Gen-X snarkfest, chock full of navel-gazing and whiny griping about how badly this eco-adventure was making her life suck. As I got deeper into the book (which I read in small bites until the last 75 pages, or so, which I read in one day) I found the author's voice and writing style to be quite pleasing. She is that rare creature: an environmentalist with a great sense of humor. And some well-honed writing chops.
I was also curious to see how many of the author's green initiatives were ones to which I could relate. Answer: A lot of them. Some I already do: recycling, buying local food, gardening and composting, using permanent shopping bags, if it's yellow....—all the stuff many of you probably do, too. But I also got an insight into how much easier some green, eco-friendly steps are for city dwellers than for us country-living folks. For example, Vanessa gave up her car. This was a bold and admirable step, and my recycled bamboo-cloth baseball hat is off to her, but it's one I could never do, living 17 miles from the nearest hospital, grocery store, or taxi cab. She also unplugged both her freezer and her refrigerator. Wow!
Other ideas that Vanessa put into action are ones that I will be incorporating into my life: turning down the thermostat on the water heater, switching to all-natural cleaning products, stop shaving my legs (already have), not getting receipts if I don't need them for store and gas station purchases. Each chapter in Sleeping Naked begins with a list of the changes she made day-by-day in each month. This is a handy reference for readers to check themselves against.
Sleeping Naked is full of great ideas. It's also full of funny turns of phrase, great pokes at the ironies of environmentalism and consumerism, and hundreds of wonderful, thought-provoking stories about 366 days of trying to be greener than you were yesterday.
If you're feeling an urge to green-up your life a bit, Sleeping Naked is Green is a wonderful jumping-off point. I highly recommend this book.
To learn more about the author and what she's up to now, visit her website and blog at greenasathistle.com
Book details: Published by Mariner Books, paperback, $13.95, 267 pages. www.marinerbooks.com.
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