Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Green Living Library Book Review

A few weeks ago I checked out a ton of green living books at the local library, I am now officially burnt out.  I read three in one week and tried to push through the remaining two that I was interested in to review for all of you, but I just can't. I'm over reading about green living for the moment, I need a novel desperately.  Maybe in April.

For those of you who are interested, here are my thoughts.

Living Well in a Down Economy for Dummies by Tracy Barr-- While this isn't necessarily about living green it is definitely a valuable book for people who are interested in conserving both fiscally & environmentally.  I admit I didn't read the whole book; there were some chapters that just don't apply to my life.  The positive to that is it is EXTREMELY easy to pick and choose what you are interested in & leave the rest.  There are very clear & concise labels to each chapter and tip.  Here are a few things I gained from the book:
  • If you need a cup of hot water, don't wait for the tap water to get hot, instead heat the desired amount in the microwave.
  • Before checking out ALWAYS search for coupons or codes for free shipping while shopping online. 
  • You can turn old fashioned oats into instant oatmeal by running the oats quickly in the blender or food processor. 
  • When baking items in the oven at a high temperature throw in some baking potatoes too.  You'll save having to heat the oven again later. 

The Green Year by Jodi Helmer-- This book is laid out in a-tip-a-day-for-a-year fashion.  Why this is great:  It makes the ideas seasonal, very short, very approachable, and makes it extremely easy to pick & choose which ideas work for you.  Why this is not so great:  It is extremely difficult to go back and find a suggestion unless you wrote down the calendar day.  The book does not have page numbers (weird right?) and doesn't have any sort of index or reference in the back.

I did find a TON of great suggestions & wrote them down.  Here are some of the things I found particularly valuable.
  • Hydrogen peroxide, a natural cleaner, can be used instead of bleach, a hazardous chemical,  in laundry.  Simply add 1 cup to your load.  (I would assume this is a measurement for standard washers, not HE washers)
  • Nike has a program that allows you to donate your used athletic shoes and they will be recycled for turf on tracks and playgrounds. 
  • Save bath water for plants or your garden.
  • Check here for green dry cleaners in your area...sadly, there aren't any around here.  :(
  • Switch to powdered laundry or dish washer detergent.  "Liquid detergent is 80% water, a valuable renewable resource.  If 20,000 Americans switched to powdered detergent it would save 55,000 gallons of water a year. "  October 9--The Green Year

Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach--David Bach is a personal finance writer, and this is his first foray into the green living scene.  While I certainly appreciated his book and its 11 sections of suggestions for green living, it wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.  A lot of his suggestions require some serious extra money--getting a more fuel efficient car i.e. hybrid, electric, green investing, installing new windows, home insulation, etc.  I would love to do all of those things, I really would, but I tend to go for books that encourage going green with what you have, WITHOUT having to spend a ton of money.

This book is also CHOCK FULL of facts & information about environmental impact and global warming, but it felt quite verbose.  It could be because I only have a few minutes at a time to sit down & read, but I just found myself skimming or all out skipping many, many facts, and many, many paragraphs.

Bottom line:  If you've got the time & the interest, check out Go Green, Live Rich.  I don't think I would recommend buying it, but it might be something you could check out at the library.

Read Living Well in a Down Economy for tips on fiscal conservation, but it definitely has some tips that can help mother nature as well.

Which brings us to my favorite,The Green Year.  I definitely would reread it.  It's quick, approachable, and chock full of green ideas.  An excellent guide for anyone who is interested in being green & saving a little green in the process.

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