Several months ago I discovered a book called Just Green It on a friend’s coffee table. Thumbing through it, I could quickly tell that this was a great resource covering all aspects of our busy lives. The final hook that begged me to borrow the book was likely the inclusion of one of my favorite quotes from Gandhi – “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Authors Ron and Lisa Beres, founders of GreenNet.com, provide a vast set of “dos and don’ts” to help us navigate an increasingly complex set of consumer choices. The bulk of the book is in a concise format that shows opposing options. For each of 100+ product categories, they offer one page, called Green It! that highlights “The Good,” “The Green,” and “The Convenient Truth.” These pages are filled with facts and recommendations on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle by choosing a greener alternative. The book promotes a variety of real name-brand products as a service to help consumers identify pre-vetted products. As busy as we all are, this seems like a great resource to minimize the research necessary to find truly green products.
On the opposite page, called Skip It!, the authors carefully point out “The Ugly” and “The Inconvenient Truth” – sprinkled with “Sage Advice”, “Healthy Rx”, and “Mother Knows Best.” Here they daringly call out the traditional products that we may have grown up with, not knowing any better about the truth behind their toxicity. While the authors undoubtedly carry their own biases and beliefs, they provide fact-based assertions that challenged even my own thinking. While we may choose to hold on to some of our own sacred cows, the book offers a great opportunity to evaluate many of the choices we make when shopping for our home and family.
The book starts with a basic lesson in The Three “Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!) and immediately addresses things like disposable plates, cups, bags, cutlery and the like. They then talk about the importance of energy efficiency, offering a variety of recommendations on how to reduce our energy demand, and indoor air quality, which has such a dramatic impact on our health. They debunk a number of shopping myths, and offer tips to recognize greenwashing, pointing out what to look for in product labels. The book offers sage advice on how going green can save money, both in the short and long term.
Among the many categories include cleaners and cosmetics, toiletries and medicines, pet care and pest control, bedding and clothing, flooring, furniture and paints, food and cookware, baby care and disposable paper products, and electronics and toys. There are additional tips for travel, work, and recreation, including a special chapter called Guiltless Holidays with tips for greening your home for all of the holidays throughout the year. I learned a number of things that left me uncomfortable, from non-organic wines to the dangers of microwave ovens and other electromagnetic waves.
As you consider how you’ll live you your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions, I encourage you to include ways to add a little more green to your lifestyle. No matter where we are on our path, there are always more things we can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This book offers hundreds of practical, effective and proven tips for all, from the novice to the most radical among us. It feels good to know that the choices we make will leave a healthier and happier planet for our children and their children. What healthy new choices will you make this New Year?
This was published in the Going Green section of the January 2013 issue of Spirit Seeker magazine.