It used to be that “being green” was a state of existence reserved for hard-core environmentalists and a certain pop-collared, banjo-playing Muppet.
Now, as the movement gains steam and more people realize it doesn’t have to be hard to make green choices, living life in partnership with the planet is becoming more popular. The United States is experiencing a renaissance of sorts as more hybrid cars take to the roads and energy-efficient buildings and homes dot the landscape.
Cars and homes are big commitments, however, and for those of us who are just warming up to the idea of green living it’s helpful to know the details: what’s changing, why it’s important and what we can do.
Below we take a look at five books that can get you on the path to living greener fast without having to make drastic changes to your current lifestyle.
1. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
Author Paul Hawken takes a comprehensive approach in examining the most effective players in the social movement that is environmentalism. His assessment of the movement is that it is organized organically by a disparate but unified desire to protect the planet that results in myriad groups and efforts with similar environmental goals.
The book will serve well as a resource for people who want to support environmentalism through organizational membership or contributions. It also provides a good introduction into the history of the development of these entities, although some prior familiarity with the movement may prove useful for some readers.
2. The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time
The title says it all in this effective guidebook from Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen. The authors use star power to make many points, asking celebrities what they do every day to make a positive impact on the environment.
The book’s true worth, however, is derived from the simple way it presents how little steps can make big changes, if only everyone would participate. From electing not to accept an ATM receipt to turning off the tap while tooth brushing, Rogers and Kostigen make an intelligent argument for the belief that it really is the little things that make a difference in (and to) the world.
3. It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living
Crissy Trask examines the stark difference between environmental sentiment and action in the U.S., and offers ways on how to nudge people out of apathy. She asks the question why 80% of Americans agree with environmentalism while the majority of people do little to act on that belief.
Trask provides more than 250 tips on how busy people can start making changes today without interrupting their usual routines, from being more conscious about green purchases to participating in online activism. Trask’s goal is to introduce a variety of ideas in a book that has a little something for anyone who wants to participate no matter how busy they may be.
4. Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home
Renee Loux is an award-winning author and raw-foods chef who believes that all things organic are a better for choice for her readers, their wallets and the environment. “Easy Green Living” is a holistic exploration of how to incorporate natural food, cleaning and personal care products into everyday life.
Loux grabs readers by revealing the harmful toxins and chemicals in products we use all the time without thinking about the larger impact of those choices. The emphasis is that what is good for the environment is actually better for people, too, and that using natural products is easy and affordable.
5. The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from The Union of Concerned Scientists
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a trusted nonprofit organization with a goal of using scientific research to guide consumers toward more environmentally friendly purchasing decisions. People’s impact on the environment is largely determined by what they buy and so is a good place to start when it comes to making a positive change.
Michael Brower’s unflinching look at consumerism is full of surprises and points out many misconceptions about what is truly beneficial to the environment and what is nothing more than environmental marketing. Readers will be challenged in their thinking, but will also come away with a better understanding of the nature of the environmental movement.
Sustainable living and environmental stewardship start with knowing what the problem is and what you can do about it in your own life. Environmentalism is not always what it seems, and these books do a great job of separating fact from fiction and identifying ways to contribute that fit in with your lifestyle rather than demanding radical change.
This article is by Charles Sipe from Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meter technology that measures and conserves water.
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