Book Review: The Green Guide

The Green Guide

Of course, this book is available at your local branch of the Des Moines Public Library.

This book was fairly thorough, but shallow, and had a distinct lack of directing readers to resources for further reading.

This book gets bonus points for pointing out the omissions of the German dishwashing study – you know, the one that said that washing in a dishwasher uses so much fewer resources than washing in a sink? (Namely, they didn’t take into account the process of making the dishwasher, plus they didn’t encourage the hand washers to conserve resources, only to get the dishes clean.) Also, for pointing out that front load washing machines are not always the better way to go, environmentally speaking. Those two things won me over to the book.

Now, for a series of my random thoughts while I was reading.

The authors sometimes give good alternatives to traditional, not so great for the environment products. But too often, the suggestion was just “buy organic,” as if organic is automatically awesome. Sometimes, the authors didn’t suggest any alternatives, leaving the reader ready to change their ways, but uncertain of how to do that. Frustrating.

I of course read the diapering section with keen interest, and was disappointed. The authors overestimated the costs of doing laundry (and apparently didn’t actually do any research on the subject). They also didn’t bother to look up statistics on potty training, settling instead for saying that cloth diaper advocates “claim” that use of cloth diapers results in earlier potty training. And the book was written right after G diapers came out, but before they had much market use, and the authors were just in love with the Gdiaper concept. (and who isn’t? but the practical use seems to be where most parents I know have found difficulty.)

I also, of course, found it odd that the authors continually encouraged using reusable, washable items like rags, and of course clothes… but not diapers. Odd.

Moving on, the authors barely mentioned buying local or knowing your suppliers as a way to ensure not only that you’re buying good products that are good for you, but as a way of increasing your eco-friendliness. They mentioned farmer’s markets, but that’s the extent of local shopping they talked about.

All in all, while the authors mostly avoided hype, they also didn’t totally explore some topics (for example, there are apparently no downsides to hybrid cars). Obviously, completely discussing every topic in depth would make the book impossibly thick, but clearly some sections could have been a little more balanced.

That said, this has been my favorite Eco book that I’ve read so far.


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