Title: The Green Book

Authors: Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

ISBN-13: 9780307381354

ISBN: 0307381358

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The Green Book

Book review by Joy Hopkins

Printed on 100% recycled paper, The Green Book reads more like an anecdotal children’s encyclopedia (minus the pictures) than it does a full-fledged book.  The 12 chapters, each covering a common space or activity such as home, work, school, and travel, systematically present simple ways in which readers can decrease their ecological footprint in each space.  Each chapter contains 3 sections, including a section introducing the big picture, followed by 3 simple steps to becoming greener, and, finally, several little ways to minimize negative environmental impacts in each space.  The reference section following these cookie-cutter chapters actually takes up about 25% of the book and is probably the most useful as it provides links to several practical websites by topic area and all in one centralized location.  To spice things up a bit (or sell more books or get more airtime on primetime shows maybe?), the authors pepper the chapters with well-intentioned, but ultimately comical vignettes from Hollywood stars like Jennifer Aniston and company.

The most interesting takeaway from the book is a bit cliché, but well-taken.  Each and every one of our actions as an individual adds up in a major way when we multiply by the estimated world population of 6.7 billion.  The book suggests as small an action as using one less paper napkin a day in say your cafeteria at work, for example, “would save the world enough napkins to provide one to every person who eats a hot dog on July 4.”  The book is chockfull of these anecdotal references, which like bad jokes are at times first endearing but are quick to annoy, however politely.

The basic idea of bringing environmental awareness and a sense of responsibility back to the individual is an honorable one.  The manner in which the authors choose to do this, however, is not ideal.  Even the more sympathetic readers are likely to get tired of the inventive, yet repetitive language riddling the book.  The book serves well as a reference guide to consult on a one-off basis preferably alongside a second source as needed or as a healthier substitute for a magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office or salon.


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