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Your Green Home: A Guide to Planning a Healthy, Environmentally New Home

David De Rothschild

New York: Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007

 

Go Green Guidance is based in Phoenix, Arizona

The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook
77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change — or Live Through It

David De Rothschild

As environmentalism is coming into vogue, there has been an increasing amount of criticism of books and products that are seen as being “cute” green rather than “real” green. When you first look at The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook, it would be easy to assume that it was just touting the same old adorable ideals, this time with precious illustrations of hipsters, punks, and polar bears. While most of this book was written with a comic flair, none of it is done in a flippant or irresponsible fashion. Truth be told, this is a very good book with some extremely sound advice, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself as you set out to try to save the world.

De Rothschild’s book consists of 77 tips for how to slow, halt, and survive global warming. Each tip offers a behavioral change or activity for the reader, an explanation of why it is important, and references for finding more information. None of these tips are extremely detailed – you will not adapt your car to operate on biodiesel or install your own wind turbine after reading this book. What it does do, and very effectively, is plant the idea in your mind and direct you to the resources that can help you achieve your green goals.

One of the reasons that Americans are such over-consumers is because we enjoy being entertained. Many people will not bother to learn the facts about global warming (and ways to control it) for the simple reason that most books written on the subject feel a lot like work. While teaching middle school, I once had a student who told me he would not recycle a stack of used notebook paper even if a garbage can and recycling bin were an equal distance in front of him. Why? Because he didn’t understand what the point of recycling was and he didn’t want to do any work to find out. While this may not describe you, there’s a good shot that it describes some of the people you’ve known in your life. In this handbook, the information is concise and colorful – Tip 47, “How to Install a Windmill,” has a drawing of a teenager in a Keane t-shirt playing miniature golf – but it is also accurate. The same tip mentions that average wind speed needs to be about 10 miles per hour for an effective turbine, that strategically placed wind farms in North Dakota alone could power nearly a third of the country, and assuages concerns about windmill-related bird deaths (97). While I have encountered all of this information in a scattered collection of more scholarly articles, this presentation is more interesting and attention grabbing. De Rothschild did his homework before he wrote this book, and he provides you with resources to check up on him if you feel the need to.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, if you have been living a carbon-neutral lifestyle for the last decade, it probably won’t teach you anything new. However, this is the perfect book to spread the green revolution without being too self-righteous. As readers research different tips, they can become well versed in environmental culture, and begin to change their behavioral patterns. And even if they don’t, at least the proceeds will go to the Alliance for Climate Protection.

— RACHEL TAVARES