Tuesday 26 August 2008

Almost Green by James Glave

L1247.jpgPublished by GreyStone Books - a division of Douglas & McIntyre

Global warming, carbon footprint, climate change, and sustainable living: these phrases and others like them have become popular the world over, and with good reason. Who can fail to notice the extreme weather, the deteriorating air quality, and other warning signs that show this planet to be in trouble? There is an endless supply of information on the subject, from DVDs such as 'An Inconvenient Truth', clips such as Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge and of course the countless websites and books.

James Glave's book - Almost Green, is unlike most other books on this subject. The author approaches the subject of Green Living with humour and frank honesty as he attempts to build a sustainably designed writing studio in the front yard of his home. While it starts off as a noble and wonderful idea, the reality is constantly clouded with unpleasant surprises and challenges. Challenges that the author and his family constantly rise above, seemingly with a new sense of determination that is both inspirational and admirable. Not only set on changing their own carbon footprint on the world by way of building this eco-friendly studio and downsizing their SUV for a more environmentally friendly vehicle, the author also tries to encourage his neighbourhood to take baby steps towards green living too.

I loved this book. Absolutely adored it. I have read books on the climate change and environmental issues before but I have to admit, many have been greatly informative yet dry, dull reads which insist on drowning the reader in facts and figures. Almost Green is completely different. From the very beginning the author draws the reader in and points the reader in the direction of the video clip that is linked above for your convenience. He briefly discusses his own thoughts on this clip and the impact it had on his thinking and way of life, and then shares his ideals and hopes regarding his own environmental impact.

This book is honest, personal, and deeply informative with the information shared in a way that is easy to digest and understand. One of my favourite sections was a chapter in which the author converses with Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of Futerra which is - to quote the author - "a leading authority on the tricky business of talking about global warming in a way that inspires action, not apathy". Helpful tips were given regarding how to discuss environmental issues with other people in a way that would inspire a community to join together and create positive solutions, rather than alienate. Also a number of resources were shared which are invaluable to anyone who is trying to implement change on a community level.

One of my favourite reasons for liking this book though, is the way it engages the reader. While the author shared his discoveries on this green journey, I found myself learning to look at things on a whole new level. For example, I have been guilty of only really thinking about my environmental impact when it comes to travel. I don't often think of the impact at home, other than the obvious switching off lights and recycling. The author brought up a valid point though in which he mentions that he would drive to the recycling centre to drop off his stuff, which seemed to negate his efforts somewhat. I realised that I myself am guilty of that one and will in future be making sure I plan my recycling trips around other activities. That is just one of the many ways this book has made me use my head a little more.

It has also inspired me to start thinking about other changes I can make to become greener. More baby steps, as the author likes to call them. The author has made this subject so much more approachable and in my own case at least, less daunting. It was a greatly inspirational read and one I would highly recommend to anyone.

On a fun note, the publisher (Douglas & McIntyre) has arranged a contest in which the winner can win a night's stay at the Eco-Shed.

Author's website: http://glave.com/


Jeane said...

I've been trying to find small ways to "be green" lately. This book looks like a great resource- and reader-friendly, which is a plus. Thanks for telling us about it!

Charlene Martel said...

Anytime Jeane!

It's definitely one of my favourite reads this year. Now I am reading Nam Le's The Boat (and loving it so far).

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