Monday, November 9, 2009

Go Green, $ave Green

On Sunday I read Go Green, Save Green by Nancy Sleeth. A friend of mine gave me this book because he had no interest in it and he received it in the mail as part of the catalyst pack. I figured it might be interesting so I read it.

Nancy and her husband were on vacation when they decided that the planet was dying, and he should quit his job and devote all his energies to this goal. This book is designed to be a practical guide on ways to save the planet, and save money in the process.

The book is filled with a lot of pages of tips and such, but the problem is that for the most part these tips are nothing you haven't heard a thousand times before. Buy compact fluorescent bulbs, turn off lights when you aren't using them, unplug unused appliances, give away the second refrigerator etc.

The "lawn and garden" section gives great tips for residents of the northeast to midwest, but only pays slight lip services to the rest of the country. It is almost assumed that your house has a basement, for example, and lots of tips involve things like rain gutters. Where I live we get, maybe, three days of rain a year. We don't even have gutters.

The book felt very repetitive in each of its sections, and some of the advice didn't even seem well founded. For example, buy a hybrid is one of the mantras of this book, and she explains that your fuel savings over five years will be around $4000. What she misses is the fact that a car similar to the prius but non-hybrid costs somewhere around $10,000 less than a prius (she dodges this by claiming the average price of a new car is higher than a prius, but those are much bigger, and nicer cars), and gets similar or better gas mileage… She also mentions putting bricks and milk jugs in the backs of toilets to make them use less water. The problem with this idea is that those toilets aren't designed to flush properly with 2 gallons of water, so you end up flushing multiple times to remove the, uh, evidence...

I like some of her advice, like buy local produce and such, and I think people do need to think more about what season vegetables and fruits should be eaten in to encourage less transpiration of food, but by and large I found this book unfulfilling and unmotivating. Unless you haven't a clue how to save money or reduce your energy usage, this book is a pass.


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